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Futuristic tale done well. The author does a good job drawing a picture of an advanced society and it's inhabitants. Believable characters, unique story line. It could have moved a little faster but it worked for me.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful
A clever premise, brilliantly executed. A romantic love story at first glance, but the further you delve into this world, the more interesting the themes that relate to our own time that question love, technology and mortality become. The novel pushes the idea of objectification to its very extreme - whether it’s a frozen mail bride whose only hope to return to life is to enter permanent indentured servitude of her reviver, or even rather well-off people that must lead their lives as if in a reality TV show, or lose followers and risk irrelevancy.
The picture Will McIntosh paints here is an exceedingly grim one. Characters are powerless to escape the various levels of exploitation they live through. Social injustice in a post-collapse future is not reduced by advanced tech. There’s a cure for most diseases, even death, but only if you can afford it, and most people can’t. The gap between rich and poor has widened dramatically. The most affluent can afford to live in New York’s High Town, the rest in the run-down suburbs. Personal augmented reality devices block out unpleasant sights and smells of poverty and decay, making more privileged people that can make a difference oblivious to the struggles of the poor - let them eat synthetic cake.
Tech of the future described in this book brings omnipresent social networking to a next level of over-sharing - reality TV-style 24/7 voyeurism binge - a somewhat disturbing but utterly believable progression of current social networking trends. Body systems allow users to be online everywhere, all the time. In its conglomeration of social media, Love Minus Eighty makes a telling point about all the people who "take time away from their own pathetic lives to watch [a self-made celebrity] live hers."
Cryonics has become a viable industry, but of course only the rich can afford to have their bodies frozen and revived. However, if you happen to be an attractive young woman, you may be eligible for a free period of cryonic preservation, as long as rich patrons express their interest. The only hope of revival for frozen mail order brides is acting exactly the way rich, pervy bridesicle customers expect.
At the same time, there is also a sweet, romantic touch. Even in the bitter darkness of this novel’s future, there is love, friendship and loyalty. Main characters are somewhat two-dimensional in Disney-like simplicity of motives and portrayal, and there’s there is a clear division between likable and unlikable characters, but still are very likeable and engaging.
As for narration, i prefer if they didn’t use Eileen Stevens - her attempt to speak in a lower voice when reading for male characters is a little jarring. Kevin T. Collins and Ali Ahn are great.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful