Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Review: x0

Title of Book: x0
Author: Sherrie Cronin
Published: February 20, 2012
Available: Amazon

x0 is a compelling tale of worlds apart and how they come to interact. The author has drawn extensively on her own personal experience in the field of geophysics where she has interpreted seismic data in the oil industry for many years, as well as her research into Nigeria: covering its historical, political, economical and social  aspects.

While the leading plot appears to be the tale of a woman ruthlessly misused as a pawn in a dangerous political game, and the efforts of those who set out to save her - what I found most compelling is the web of human interaction, not only weaved through our increasing immediate access to each other through technological means, but also through the telepathy of the key characters.

When we think of telepathy, many of us still think back to the Duke University experiments, where a person in one room was meant to transmit, through mind alone, images to a person in another room. x0 takes a much more sophisticated approach to the whole notion of telepathy - or better stated: levels of communication which go beyond what is generally accepted as possible according to “natural” laws. Some people might think that we are entering here into the area of Science Fiction, but I don’t think so. Many of us have experienced things that we cannot explain by so-called “natural laws” - usually things involving people we are close to. x0 is taking this one step further - building upon what appears to exist and hypothesizing on where it may take us.

Perhaps what appears the most far-fetched in the book is the philosophy of the secret organization, which calls itself x0 (or ONE). Yet, even here, the author doesn’t pull us away into a fantasy world. The organization’s philosophy is just that - a “philosophy” - which is accepted even to different degrees by the members of the organization, themselves.  What is also interesting is that the members of this organization can find their own special place within the organization, no matter if they believe themselves to be religious or not - or whether or not they believe in God.

I found the book well written and a compelling read. Moving back and forth between the minds of the key characters proved to be quite effective and the characters are constructed in such a way as to complement each other in the telling of the story.

The one thing that I found difficult to relate to, however, is the inclusion of “links” in the book. I am not against the idea of introducing links, especially if this creates a type of hypertext which allows the reader to interactively decide in which direction the plot will lead him/her. But this is not the case here. The introduction of links is meant to optionally supply more information about certain things mentioned in the book. However, I can’t see a reader following these links in the midst of reading without losing an essential part of the rhythm. Also the sudden appearance of the word “Buy” beside links to a song, tends to suddenly exclude us from the writing, if only for a moment. In this case, I would have  preferred the author to have used footnotes - putting a number beside each place where a link is desired and include all of the numbered footnotes as a list of links in a special section at the end of the book.

I look forward to reading more works by this author.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the well thought out review David! I appreciate your insights. You should know that I anguished over whether to include the links or not, and I have received a wide variety of opinion about them. They were born out of a desire to include more background on Nigeria than I felt most readers would want in the text of a book, and a frustration in discovering that one cannot put footnotes at the bottom of a page in an ebook because there are no pages.
    My second novel, y1, will be out in just two weeks and because much of it takes place in the South Pacific I have once again included links. Perhaps I will publish two versions: one for those who think they might like the links and one for those who are fairly certain that they will only find them distracting. At any rate, I value your thoughts on the subject. Thanks again and best of luck to you and your blog. -- Sherrie Cronin