Crosstalk

Crosstalk

Book - 2016 | First U.S. edition.
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Science fiction icon Connie Willis brilliantly mixes a speculative plot, the wit of Nora Ephron, and the comedic flair of P. G. Wodehouse in Crosstalk --a genre-bending novel that pushes social media, smartphone technology, and twenty-four-hour availability to hilarious and chilling extremes as one young woman abruptly finds herself with way more connectivity than she ever desired.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR

In the not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. And Briddey Flannigan is delighted when her boyfriend, Trent, suggests undergoing the operation prior to a marriage proposal--to enjoy better emotional connection and a perfect relationship with complete communication and understanding. But things don't quite work out as planned, and Briddey finds herself connected to someone else entirely--in a way far beyond what she signed up for.

It is almost more than she can handle--especially when the stress of managing her all-too-eager-to-communicate-at-all-times family is already burdening her brain. But that's only the beginning. As things go from bad to worse, she begins to see the dark side of too much information, and to realize that love--and communication--are far more complicated than she ever imagined.

Praise for Crosstalk

"A rollicking send-up of obsessive cell phone usage in too-near-future America . . . [Connie] Willis's canny incorporation of scientific lore, and a riotous cast . . . make for an engaging girl-finally-finds-right-boy story that's unveiled with tact and humor. Willis juxtaposes glimpses of claimed historical telepaths with important reflections about the ubiquity of cell phones and the menace that unscrupulous developers of technology pose to privacy, morality, and emotional stability." --Publishers Weekly

"An exhilarating and laugh-inducing read . . . one of those rare books that will keep you up all night long because you can't bear to put it down." --Portland Book Review

"A fun technological fairy tale." -- BookPage

"One of the funniest SF novels in years." -- Locus

Praise for Connie Willis

"A novelist who can plot like Agatha Christie and whose books possess a bounce and stylishness that Preston Sturges might envy." -- The Washington Post

"If anyone can be named 'best science fiction writer of the age,' it's Connie Willis." -- Analog

"One of America's finest writers . . . Willis can tell a story so packed with thrills, comedy, drama and a bit of red herring that the result is apt to satisfy the most discriminating, and hungry, reader." -- The Denver Post

"Willis can tell a story like no other. . . . One of her specialties is sparkling, rapid-fire dialogue; another, suspenseful plotting; and yet another, dramatic scenes so fierce that they burn like after-images in the reader's memory." -- The Village Voice

" The Best of Connie Willis ? Isn't that like sorting through diamonds?" -- Lytherus
Alternative Title: Cross talk
Publisher: New York : Del Rey, [2016]
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9780345540676
0345540670
Branch Call Number: SF
Characteristics: 498 pages ; 25 cm

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IndyPL_SteveB Oct 25, 2019

A comic romance with a touch of science fiction/fantasy, about when today’s constant communication becomes overwhelming.

Briddey Flanigan is an executive at Commspan, an up-and-coming cell phone company. Her boyfriend, Trent, is also an executive there and he has suggested that, to enhance their love for each other, they should get a new device implant recently invented. It is an EED (Emotional Enhancement Device) and supposedly allows couples to more intensely feel each other’s emotions.

One of Briddey’s co-workers, C.B., tries to tell her about all the potential dangers of the EED, including *too much communication*; but she needs to prove her love for Trent. Several hours after the implant surgery, instead of merely developing “emotional enhancement,” Briddey begins reading people’s minds – starting with C.B. Far from being a great thing, she is inundated by dozens of voices streaming into her head at the same time.

Lots of fun, although perhaps about 50 pages longer than necessary for a humorous novel. Clever details, with a fast-moving plot and a funny romance. Much of the humor comes from Briddey’s crazy family, including her Aunt Oona, who is so intent on her Irish ancestry that she has taken on a Hollywood Irish accent.

k
kmcdouall
Aug 15, 2019

I was disappointed in this one, as Connie Willis is usually a reliable writer of finely detailed alternate histories. Here she's appealing to the YA crowd with a premise of mixed emotional connections that never quite provides enough impetus to the plot. It's rather bland and harmless, and didn't provide enough drama or intrigue to keep me hooked.

s
skyekilaen
Oct 06, 2018

My geek girl heart adored this high-tech M/F love story about connection and communication, wanted and unwanted, real and fake, technological and emotional. Briddey has a good job at a mobile phone company, a colorful Irish-American family who has no concept of boundaries, and a new boyfriend, all-American Trent, who she hopes will insulate her from said family if the relationship goes well. So when Trent asks Briddey to have a sought-after surgery to help them communicate their emotions directly, she agrees... and encounters strenuous objections from C.B., her company's reclusive tech genius. Which is ridiculous, really, because it's none of his business and why should he care? Until Briddey wakes up after the surgery to find something's gone horribly wrong and C.B.'s the only one who can help.

I had a great time watching Willis take a piece of hand-wavey "tech" and build such an emotionally complex story around it. Briddey is so goal-oriented that she struggles to accurately perceive the people around her, and the story is as much her learning to see them clearly as it is a romance or a sci-fi tale of technology's unintended consequences. It's not an indictment of being connected, IMHO, but an exploration of how to choose and nurture human connections deliberately. I also loved seeing C.B. emerge from the stereotype of basement-dwelling geek and reveal himself as a generous, caring friend and protector. The quiet moments between him and Briddey are so lovely and warm, and I was so relieved that she got her priorities straight and realized the value of the what he was offering.

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boehmography
Aug 08, 2018

Oh, wow, was this book ever frustrating. The premise was fascinating and I was desperately trying to enjoy it - but, frankly, the main character was just horrifying. Her reaction to everything was "you're trying to steal my boyfriend!" or "Everything is the worst for me!" and it was always frustrating. A great concept for a novel that ended up being 300 pages too long and far too uninteresting. Spend your time elsewhere.

k
kountzcl
Mar 24, 2018

I agree with KatG and others that Connie Willis has desperate need of a sympathetic editor to improve "Crosstalk," and I speak as a fan of her other novels. Plenty of psychobabble here that needlessly lengthens an already predictable story, and isn't it condescending to those descended from Ireland? I too had to skim many pages to arrive at the disappointing last chapter. Loyalty and curiosity will keep me reading her into the future, however.

k
KatG1983
Jan 04, 2018

This bloated book is in dire need of editing. Clocking in at nearly 500 pages, Crosstalk is a story that could have been very well told in 300 pages - max. There is so much repetition and needless drivel, I had to skim through parts because I was so bored. The premise and characters had potential, but I had to force myself to push through. Skip it.

j
jxzhang
Aug 21, 2017

This is Pick Up Artist, White Knight, terrible drivel.

g
gentle_ion
May 16, 2017

Silly....verging on ridiculous. I can't believe this is the same author who wrote "Doomsday Book". Very disappointing.

Cynthia_N Apr 19, 2017

Such a fun read! This is the first book by Willis that I have read and I must say I will be reading more. I was so into the story that I was getting stressed out for the main character!

l
Lou2005
Apr 04, 2017

Not Connie's best work. But still well worth reading. I felt like maybe there were some important plot holes - but I think i would have to re-read it to put my finger on them.
Seems like Connie's books are all dark and gloomy or bright and funny. This was one of the bright and funny ones.

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andreareads
Jan 17, 2017

everyone at the meeting had finished discussing the likelihood that Apple was only bluffing and whether Apple was spying on them, how unethical that would be, and who they could get to spy on Apple . . .

a
andreareads
Jan 17, 2017

_You weren’t supposed to hear that._
“I know. Which is why telepathy’s a terrible idea.”

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andreareads
Jan 17, 2017

Facebook, remember? Plus Instagram and Vine and Snapchat and iChat and youChat and weAll Chat and FaceTime and Tumblr and Whisper. Even if your sister hasn’t already posted it, somebody else is bound to . . .

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blue_dog_8329
Apr 09, 2017

blue_dog_8329 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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dzacher
Dec 06, 2016

When her boyfriend Trent asks her to get an EED ("even better than getting engaged," gushes a coworker), telecommunications executive Briddey Flannigan undergoes the "minor procedure," hoping that neurological enhancement will strengthen their relationship. Instead, she ends up telepathically linked to a coworker, her company's (sub-)basement-dwelling misanthrope C.B. Schwartz. Madcap romantic comedy combined with a satirical look at modern technology makes this latest offering from multi-award-winning author Connie Willis a must-read.

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