New Connie Willis Novel Crosstalk About Love Telepathy and Blurring the Lines of Privacy

SF Signal has the cover and synopsis for Crosstalk, Connie Willis’ new novel that brings to mind both futuristic romantic dramedies about soulmates and the recent debates around national security and personal privacy related to iPhones. Willis’ first novel since 2010’s Hugo Award-winning Blackout/All Clear, Crosstalk follows a young couple who take the ultimate plunge: undergoing a radical procedure which will allow them to sense each other’s feelings. But with that line of privacy blurred to the point of being erased, protagonist Briddey—who’s also working on a big deal with Apple that will revolutionize how we communicate—may not like what she hears.

“The novel was partly inspired by our wildly over-connected world, in which we’re constantly bombarded with communication, most of it unwelcome, and partly by the misconceptions people have about what being telepathic would be like,” Willis explained in a blog post in late 2015. “They always assume it would either be profitable (finding out people’s computer codes or social security numbers or blackmailable personal secrets) or fun. So not true.”

Here’s the full synopsis:

Briddey is about to get exactly what she thinks she wants…

Briddey is a high-powered exec in the mobile phone industry, overseeing new products from concept (“anything to beat the new Apple phone”) to delivery. And she works with her wonderful partner, Trent. They’ve been together for six magical weeks, in a whirlwind of flowers, dinners, laughter and now comes the icing on the cake: not a weekend away or a proposal but something even better. An EED. A procedure which will let them sense each other’s feelings. Trent doesn’t just want to tell her how much he loves her—he wants her to feel it. Everything is perfect.

The trouble is, Briddey can’t breathe a word of it to anyone (difficult, when the whole office is guessing) until she’s had two minutes to call her family. And they’re hounding her about the latest family drama, but when they find out about the EED—which they will—they’ll drop everything to interrogate her. And it might just be easier to have the procedure now and explain later. Only Apple are poised to deliver an amazing new product and she has to be one step ahead… if she can only persuade their tech genius, C.B., to drop his crazy ideas about a “privacy phone” with its “do not disturb” settings, and focus on what people really want: more efficient, instinctive and immediate ways to communicate.

The race is on: not just for new, cutting-edge technology, but also for a shred of privacy in a public world and—for Briddey—a chance for love at the heart of it all. This is a brilliant, heart-warming romantic comedy from one of the wittiest and wisest of our authors. Written with a light touch and a smile, we’re swept up in Briddey’s romance—and into the difficulties of a world just one technological step away from our own, as technology and social media blur (or indeed remove) the line between personal and public.

You can read more about the novel on Willis’ blogCrosstalk will be available October 4 from Del Rey.


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