cover image Radioland


Matt McHugh., $1 e-book (37p) ASIN B0063914DE

McHugh’s debut novella is an inventive exploration of the crossroads between near-future gadgetry and the male midlife crisis. Stephen, a hapless office drone, is introduced to a strange device, a brain radio, which allows the user to experience different preset emotions. He soon becomes obsessed (a recurring theme), neglecting to help his wife sort out their teen son’s troubles at school. While Stephen explores the intensity of an unchartered emotional landscape, his son spirals down into a teenage wasteland. McHugh writes with clarity, and the story itself is emotionally charged; there is depth to the tale, gradually made apparent through the experiences Stephen has with the brain radio and the misery of his nuclear family crumbling around him. Despite occasional bouts of excessive exposition, the story is buoyed by sharp characterization and an interesting look at the possibilities of brains connecting with machines. McHugh’s intriguing work breaths fresh air into the popular SF themes of thought privacy and the capabilities of new technologies. (BookLife)