Author: Will McIntosh
Genre: Science Fiction
Review: I've been hearing a lot of buzz about Love Minus Eighty ever since it came out last year. I really ought to have read it sooner since the buzz was very well deserved in this case.
In the future, medical technology has taken its course and cryogenics is a big market. Not only have we learned how to store and freeze people when they die, we've learned to repair their bodies and revive them -- if they can afford it, that is.
A new type of dating arises, where wealthy men can temporarily revive extremely attractive women to "speed date" them and then decide whether they want to shell out the cash to fully restore them to life as their wives.
Rob, after a bad break-up, hits a jogger on the way back home. When he discovers that she has been placed into a dating center, he scrapes up some money to visit her and apologize; however, he finds more than just forgiveness in the dating center.
That's just one of the story lines in the book. There are a number of other central characters. Veronica is a shy single dating coach who spends her time at a bridge hoping to save a jumper from death and pining after her handsome colleague, Nathan. Lycan is an introverted, awkward, high-IQ scientist who comes to visit the longest-frozen woman in the center, whose name is Mira. All their lives intertwine in surprising ways, tying different love stories together.
The plot is very well executed. The plot rotates between the various primary characters, describing the events in third person. I generally found the different plot lines equally interesting, so this didn't end up being the type of novel where I wanted to skip chapters by looking at the name alone. The writing is very accessible and flows easily. The book is not particularly short, but I finished it really quickly since I was very much enjoying it.
On the surface, it's a simple story dealing with a number of different problematic relationships. However, the author has an underlying message spinning just beneath the surface of the words and sometimes he just illustrates things so insightfully that I can't help but admire it. There is a moment, towards the end of the book, where Rob's father Lorne is telling him about his relationship with Rob's deceased mother that I thought was just perfect.
The book is a little bit too romantic-sweet at times, but most of the time it's relatable situations with relatable characters. I liked the way the author extrapolated current technology into the future, though I was a little bit skeptical of the characters being able to maintain multiple conversations at once with the fluency they did. But other aspects of technology seemed quite believable. Altogether, it was a very enjoyable read and one I would readily recommend to pretty much anyone.