When talk of superpowers comes up, telepathy is often at the top of the list of things that people tend to want, but is it actually a good thing? Crosstalk by Connie Willis delves into the pros and cons behind telepathic abilities.
Briddey is an executive at a communications company that rivals Apple. Everything in her life is going well–she’s dating a fellow executive, Trent, and she thinks that he’s going to commit to her after six joyous weeks and they’ll have a happy life…away from her overly intrusive family members. When Trent proposes that they get an EED to be able to experience each others feelings, Briddey is excited to go along with it, but is determined to keep it a secret from the gossip mill at work and her family. After getting the procedure done, Briddey experiences more than just feelings, she can hear thoughts. But they’re not Trent’s thoughts, they’re her co-worker C.B.’s thoughts and he can hear hers, too. Briddey seeks to understand what’s going on and for her chance at lasting love, with the unexpected assistance of C.B.
I enjoyed the story and the writing was pretty strong, but much of the narrative was a rather contrived, which made much of the plot heavily predictable. I also was a little disoriented with how C.B. was initially presented (more of a Doc Brown thing going on) versus how he later was presented (more of a Dr. Spencer Reid thing going on)–an argument could be made that Briddey’s perception of him changed over time, but I wouldn’t buy that because the shift happened before she spent too much time with him; alternately, maybe I missed some cue in the text that helped to clarify his appearance/age from the outset.
Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.