Adam Fisk wants to experience real, trusting connections with people in a way that he’s never experienced in his own family. InterAlia uses teleodynamics (for a fee) to find out which one of 22 pre-selected social groups he fits into. These groups are called the Affinities.
The idea of finding out your Affinity and joining a local tranche of fellow members, is to put people in groups where they feel understood, where they make instant, fully-trusting relationships, and where they can function together at the highest level.
I understand the desire that draws people to these groups. It’s a similar feeling to the one I get when I travel around the world and meet other Christians. There’s a sense of brotherhood that you feel toward people who are perfect strangers.
But what happens when you’ve immersed yourself in that group and then lose your will or ability to make connections with the rest of the world? What happens to the people who don’t qualify for any of the Affinities? Well, I’m not going to spoil that for you.
Once again, I struggle with this book being categorized as science fiction. It is set on present day earth, with present day social and political struggles. The only thing that might qualify as inventive or scientific is the idea of teleodynamics; but by the author’s own admission, the word “teleodynamics” is not one he came up with. He just extrapolated the concept way past its original intent. However, Wilson is a well-respected sci-fi author and does himself call this book “science fiction,” so I am forced to acquiesce.
Wilson’s writing style is good. Every so often, he dangles a little carrot in front of the reader, letting us know that what we’re reading will be significant later in the book. The language is what I would term “adult” in nature, but then I wouldn’t expect younger audiences to quite grasp some of the significance of the way people are forced to interact. It has echos of the factions in the Divergent novels, but less dystopian and much more realistic.
Rating = 3