WHAT IF OBJECTS ARE MORE THAN THEY SEEM?
Celebrity product designer Matthew Beren and his enigmatic wife, Sofia, have stumbled upon a stunning secret: millions of unknown, sentient life forms are hiding in plain sight.
It's a wondrous discovery… or is it? Though unable to speak, the hidden beings appear to have formed close bonds with the oblivious residents of Matt's hometown in subtle, seemingly magical ways that make the garden flowers chime, the politics unite, and his company's robotics a little too precise. Then there are the unsettling hints implying Sofia knows more than she's sharing, and furtive allegations that the shadowy life forms might be advancing a hidden faction's attempt to trigger a mind-bending catastrophe.
But could it be such a terrifying plan is actually necessary? If so, Sofia's secrets and Matt's shocking decisions could very well determine whether the mysterious beings become humankind's saviors… or the architects of its destruction.
Cray intriguingly blurs the lines of reality with his approach to panpsychism, the story stirring traditional suspense even as it rewards readers’ willingness to roll along with some conscious-expanding leaps. The big ideas are paired with a welcome interest in the practical implications: Matthew’s introduction into this strikingly imagined “Elemental world” initially sees him speaking to various objects, only to be witnessed by someone from his company, forcing a leave of absence. As Matthew develops an intuition about what they’d like to communicate, Cray conjures up eerily paranoid moments that will keep readers guessing about the objects' intentions and abilities—and how far they will go.
Humanity’s wretched stewardship of the world proves a potent throughline as The Reality Meltdown touches on tense political situations, the existential threat of climate change, and other upsetting demonstrations of our indifference to all but ourselves. Cray builds to a positive message within the final pages, posing resonant questions between jolts of action and suspense.
Takeaway: A thrilling, provocative SF story on how the world adapts to us.
Great for fans of:Lee Mandelo's Feed Them Silence, Seon Manley and Gogo Lewis’s Nature’s Revenge
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A