- File Size: 881 KB
- Print Length: 120 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: June 25, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B010EO3A3K
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,057,547 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Crossed Kindle Edition
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If that all sounds a little bit hard to swallow, well, it kind of is - but if you're even slightly acquainted with the more fanatical corners of Internet culture, it also kind of isn't. In any case, the ambitious premise is anchored by some really solid and suspenseful storytelling, which keeps the tone from veering into too-campy territory. The story reveals itself through a collection of documents - audio transcripts, chat logs, and legal records which together comprise a sort of history of the world's descent into ordered madness. The format reminded me of another recent SF thriller, World War Z, though for some reason I enjoyed the execution here a lot more. Probably because in addition to sketching a broad picture of a crisis spanning years and continents, a few very distinct voices and characters emerge. Not all of those voices are equally believable, and some of the documents feel more authentic as "artifacts" than others, but regardless each of the intertwining vignettes manages to stand on its own as a compelling narrative. Some of my favorites: a touching correspondence between a boy in India and his mysterious benefactor, an intergenerational diary, a therapy session, and a book tour itinerary (!) that manages to be downright chilling.
Reading this book, it struck me how few SF books I've read that seriously explore the internet as a tool of social change. The last one I can recall is Ender's Game, which, while forward-looking for its time, wasn't quite able to capture the texture of online interaction and internet culture the way this book attempts to (and, I think, largely succeeds in doing).
Lastly, the politics of this book.... I'm not sure what I should say about them, other than it made me reflect a bit on my own political engagement and the way it has likely been influenced by the internet, which I'm sure is a good thing to reflect on. One thing I liked is that despite its considerable potential to be read as a cautionary tale, this novel doesn't come across as too moralizing. I think dystopian stories are at their most interesting when they don't rely on the oversimplified framework of "the bad guys messed the world up because they're bad." And I don't think I would have been down to read something where the takeaway is simply that millenials/environmentalists/radicals/vegans are scary and messed up. Thankfully there seems to be more going on here. It seems like a difficult thing to write compassionately about people who don't respect humanity (as a core tenet of their belief system, no less!), but I think the author does accomplish that here.
Basically, if you're at all interested in eco-terrorism, dystopias, online culture, radicalism, youth revolutions, multimedia narratives.... you'll probably be interested in this book. Also, I know it's said to be the lowest of compliments, but this one's definitely a page turner - albeit one that leaves you with something to chew on by the end.
A beautiful, controversial and powerful book, even more so for its shorter length. Fine writing, strong storytelling. So very much worth your time.
Well written and beautifully paced - you can feel the way the world is changing as even advertisements evolve throughout the story.
I'd say I'd kill for a sequel because I wanted this to keep going, but the story doesn't really lend itself to one. I'll just have to wait to see what E Blackwell does next. Watching with great interest!
Highly recommend, but brace yourselves. This book will haunt you.
Using multiple narrative devices, from blog entries and online chat logs to advert slogans and legal documents, Crossed manages to build an intricate world that satirises the disturbing state of our planet's future. Without succumbing to a dogmatic polemic, Blackwell asks the reader to question their own politics, their own horizons. She avoids moralising and presents a world in which truth is relative and greed universal.
All in all an excellent read, I highly recommend. Nice and short - great for a short plane ride!
I was blown away on so many levels - the story, the narrative style, and the thematic philosophies. Despite the, at times, heartbreaking mirror Crossed holds up, there is an undeniable streak of hope that permeates through the story, leaving me feeling unsettled, but optimistic.