No One Is Talking About This v. Several People Are Typing

Kasulke and Lockwood in The Morning News:

I’m uncomfortable saying a book that was a Good Morning America Book Club pick is underhyped. But Calvin Kasulke’s Several People Are Typing should get more recognition for how truly ambitious this book is. It’s set up as only being inside Slack and has to follow all the maddening logic of Slack, from side groups to bots, to the infuriating languages and social cultures that offices make for themselves.

This book has to do several things that readers expect novels to do (characters, ideas, plot, setting, worldbuilding) while balancing an understanding of Slack and potential readers’ understanding of that software designed to ostensibly be a place of business communications and workflow. The first half of this novel was maybe the most exciting book I read last year because it takes an absurd premise while navigating all those craft elements: As Gerald No-Last-Name-Given awoke from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed into a sentient Slackbot. The rest of his colleagues think he is doing a bit until one of them finally agrees to check in on him. “I’m going to treat this like cat sitting, okay?” a character decides after seeing Gerald’s “Slack-Coma.” The rest of the office is obsessed with their work, their romances, and all the petty dehumanizing tasks of a modern American office place. Things continue to escalate on Gerald’s end, but for many of the workers involved in the novel, their plots move around the petty intrigues of the office: who gets a prime desk location, who is perceived as “productive,” and covering up a workplace romance.

More here.