What if you could live multiple lives simultaneously, have constant, perfect companionship, and never die? That’s the promise of Join, a revolutionary technology that allows small groups of minds to unite, forming a single consciousness that experiences the world through multiple bodies. But as two best friends discover, the light of that miracle may be blinding the world to its horrors.
Chance and Leap are jolted out of their professional routines by a terrifying stranger—a remorseless killer who freely manipulates the networks that regulate life in the post-Join world. Their quest for answers—and survival—brings them from the networks and spire communities they’ve known to the scarred heart of an environmentally ravaged North American continent and an underground community of the “ferals” left behind by the rush of technology.
In the storytelling tradition of classic speculative fiction from writers like David Mitchell and Michael Chabon, Join offers a pulse-pounding story that poses the largest possible questions: How long can human life be sustained on our planet in the face of environmental catastrophe? What does it mean to be human, and what happens when humanity takes the next step in its evolution? If the individual mind becomes obsolete, what have we lost and gained, and what is still worth fighting for?
I adored the concept when I first read an excerpt from this novel, and while it was initially confusing, individuals of one mind but of several bodies, I soon grew fascinated by the complexities and intricacies of sharing bodies. However, this only served to hold my attention for so long. And given the technical explanations necessary for exploring such a concept I soon found myself growing bored of the tedious details employed to bring this concept to fruition.
Despite this, I remained intrigued for the better part of the novel. This was by no means a fast paced or thrilling novel, the plot centred heavily around the inner turmoil of two individuals and I found their self-discovery long winded and their motivations weak at best. Furthermore, it was hard to develop emotional connections to characters who were composed of multiple facets. The fused personalities, which made for the interesting groundwork of this novel, made it harder to empathize and imagine each individual as a whole instead of a sum of its parts.
Very little time was spent exploring this new world ravaged by technological advances meant to better the human experience, which was disappointing given the lengths the author went to create such an intricate system. Moreover, their was no urgency behind Chance or Leap’s actions and as a result their quest for survival held little interest to me. Sadly, this novel did not induce the thought provoking questions about humanity’s survival and evolution the book jacket promised.