Super smart and a little weird (in the best possible way), Several People are Typing comes served with a huge dollop of darkly quirky, smirky humour. This novel, which comes in at under 250 pages, is all written in the workplace chat function of the app Slack. Gerald is uploaded into the Slack while working on a spreadsheet, his pleas for help initially go unanswered by his work colleagues. We use Slack at LoveReading, but you really don’t need to be aware of it in order to ‘get’ this book, anyone who uses a workplace communications channel, apps or social media will just slide into this book and within a couple of pages feel right at home. Gerald and his colleagues could be anyone, anywhere, the little darts of jealousy, humour, support, showboating, flirting, and all the other emotions that highlight office life can be found on display. In terms of characters, Slackbot is a particular favourite of mine, the horror of the situation is deftly handled with humour by Calvin Kasulke. While office politics and shenanigans are front and foremost, I really enjoyed the relationship element sneaking in to stir things up. And it really did stir things up as it also poked a thought-provoking elbow into sexual consent. Several People are Typing is a fabulously ballsy read that edges along a tightrope between provocative and humour.
Is it still WFH when you're now just binary code? Whilst working on a spreadsheet for a New York-based PR firm, Gerald has his consciousness uploaded into his company's Slack channel. He posts for help, but his colleagues assume it's an elaborate joke to exploit the new working-from-home policy, and now that Gerald's productivity is through the roof, his bosses are only too happy to let him work from . . . wherever he says he is. Faced with the looming abyss of a disembodied life online, Gerald enlists co-worker Pradeep to care for his body and Slackbot, the service's AI assistant, to help him navigate his new digital reality. But when Slackbot discovers a world (and an empty body) outside the app, will it hijack a ride into the 'real' world? Meanwhile, Gerald's co-workers are scrambling to stem a company PR catastrophe like no other, their CEO suspects someone is sabotaging his office furniture, and if Gerald gets to work from home all the time, why can't everyone? Hilarious, irreverent, and wholly original, Several People Are Typing is the perfect remedy for any idle fingers waiting to doomscroll: a satire of both the virtual office and contemporary life, and a perfect antidote to the way we live #now.