Review by Shwetha H S
The Chorus Effect by Russell Boyd is a book, the one and only book so far, that has made me say “okay” with a meh feeling, “Oh, did that just happen?” and made me sit at the edge of my seat and a day ago made me plead “please don’t be over, let this not end” with this book in my hand as I turned the last few pages of this infinite times wonderful book. Throughout the book, Russell Boyd made me wonder how did he even come up with such lines for particular situations, well, most of the situations. My inner voice revolted with the idea of this book coming to an end. I almost prayed for a happy ending for the first time when Russell Boyd said three of the characters will be dead by the end of the story. Yes, he actually did that. The churning of the heart is inevitable. Russell Boyd, I love you man.
The Chorus Effect comes with heavy comparisons, especially with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. With the concept of parallel universe, this story, now nearest to my heart, also has a few characters in sets, that is one found in an artificial universe created by three awesome physicists from some other universe, and another set in our world. To top this all, you have an entity of artificial intelligence that runs this artificial universe in which these three physicists reside and that they have built from the scratch. This entity, named Chorus, which later turns into Katie, a beautiful woman from simulations run by the physicists on Chintz from our world. How Chintz, along with his cat named Platelet, enters this universe known only to the three scientists is for you to find out by reading this amazing story. What more do you have here? Chorus/Katie falls in love with Chintz. Yes, you read that right. Chorus is the epitome of artificial intelligence. Having a female voice, Chorus is omnipresent in the universe created by Dr. Mitch Morley, Sam and Nelda. It takes some time to understand that they all don’t belong to the same universe, but the similarities establish the concept of parallel universe.
Apart from that, I would like to tell you this. This book is not for stupid people, as in not for people who don’t understand jokes and sarcasm. I say this because in this book there is magic/science baby named Tonk that only says Fuswah, which eats a piece of glass at some point of time in the story. Referring to that, Russell Boyd gives a note at the bottom of the page saying “Do not, under any circumstances, feed broken glass to a baby without thoroughly sterilizing both the glass and the baby.” Whether you feed glass to the baby with or without sterilizing, the baby will die anyway. Stupid people will not understand this.
Throughout the novel, Chintz calls out the name Barbara whenever he goes into an uncertain area. There is no character in the story by that name. Instead you will find Caroline and Quincy. During simulations, Chorus creates characters by name Katie and Penelope when a character by name Barbara could be created. This keeps you wondering about what is happening.
This book tells you in its own way that when humans are forgetting how to love each other, it is the machines that are learning how to love. This joyous story might make you even cry because of Nelda, Sam, Dr. Mitch Morley, Chintz and Chorus/Katie. Platelet and Tonk will always be around in their cute way. You will miss each of them badly after reading the last lines of the story.