Technology is replete with new advances every day. Imagine being able to create a software that can enhance the minds and capabilities of people with declining mental abilities. Charlie Sanders is watching his father; Barry slowly decline and fall into a world that only he can understand and be a part of. One where memories are limited, events are often distorted, and his life will someday be a total blur. Hoping to create a technology that will help enhance his mind and others too, Charlie and his colleagues devise an internet called the Loop that can almost think for itself and predict or anticipate what you want to do, gives pushes and forces people to share their personal information without realizing how dangerous that is.
Barry is Charlie’s father and he’s created a system where he receives a daily phone call from Sailee in India reminding him of his daily schedule, shopping needs which is part of a new app created called The Walker Talker which is more than just an app and more than just a custom hardware that mounts on a walker. This is a service that employs and links with great talent and this call helps users with the help of the personnel guide the senior who wants Gray Matters to walk them through their day. This would give seniors the ability to be more independent and or who have children too far away to assist in their care or too busy to help them. This Walker Talker lets people like Barry, retain their dignity. My mom had Alzheimer’s and at the start of her decline even though I was her caregiver I think this app in her walker would have bern a blessing.
As the scenes unfold Alice is creating a moment as her foe Golden appears and hopes to turn the audience against her but what the author created was something unique and you wonder just where this is going as Golden has expressed that the Walker Talker is not what’s needed, destroys Charlie’s and then Eisenhower the candidate appears but a reporter’s question to the candidate sends questions to the audience and then the final scene makes you wonder just how Gray Matters protects the privacy of seniors and how Alice twists Golden’s words in her favor.
Each character presents his/ her own views on the Loop and how the technology they created will impact the elderly, their finances and other walks of life. Alice is the CEO and has become jaded in her thinking and paranoid. Charlie just wants it to help his father with dementia. When calls come through and Sallie has to call the patient her reaction to some patients lets you know that at times she just goes through the motions and at other times she directs them to handle their day in a more organized way.
Charlie is concerned about his father whereas Alice is becoming paranoid about her company, where it is going and if she is going to make a profit.
Barry at times seems coherent and yet at times disoriented and cannot focus on where he is and what Sallie has told him. He often forgets where he is supposed to eat and finds himself in other directions. As Alice meets with Eleanor Eisenhower and a great bond forms and Charlie and Jack need to find a way to make the Walker Talker work as each character has to deal with his/her own struggles and then find their own solution to what they want in life. The author explains the concept of the Loop and Charlie’s dad is one of the people they are using as subjects for the technology that he and the company is developing.
The hidden truths behind The Loop and Project X and Project Y we learn that chips have been placed in many people, the elderly are the prime focus and Alice’s sales have skyrocketed but in reality those that code are busy working and typing, Charlie and Jack might have their own motives for wanting to be a part of what Alice has created, but in reality it’s all hers so she thinks. With Eisenhower as President and Golden as Vice President we begin to wonder where their loyalties lie and how much impact they have on Gray Matters.
Things take on a sinister turn when the Elder Compass did serious harm to the elders who carried out serious crimes. The abused elders never realized what was happening to them and have sacrificed their dignity to show what evils await a world that cannot know its own mind. The Compass Registry bill will allow the world to see once and for all who has falling into the hands of Gray Matters. People are manipulated and used as puppets in order to get them to do as they program them to do. The scapegoat was Barry and the catalyst Alice. It gets much worse before it gets better the glitches were more than just an accident. The President, being Eisenhower was wired into the Compass was she part of the scheme that Alice was pulling off? Lies, betrayals, scams, schemes and vulnerable elderly people were manipulated at will when implants were placed but Barry’s had a glitch caused by Alice and when his behavior caused him to be arrested, Charlie had to face the issue head on. Blaming others for what she did Alice claims she trusted Charlie, Jack and Sailee. But, she was the mastermind and you won’t believe her plan or what she wanted to do. Just what happens to Gray Matters and will it be gone? Knowing that Barry was an intentional glitch infuriated Charlie and that they were planning to pass law that the Compass implants were no longer allowed and now a felony, even retroactively. Just how did the Compass mislead his father’s device? What about the President did she have on implanted in her too? What are the pluses and minuses of this device? At first it did work and enhanced memories why take away something that might give people with memory issues more time to live a normal life?
Some endings are strangely new beginnings in different ways as Charlie has to set a new course, Jack has to find his own way with his new ventures and Barry might surprise you at the end. Memories are precious and valuable embrace them while you can. A storyline that brings to light just how amazing technology can be when its used for the right purposes as author John Gastil created characters that are flawed, yet caring of others in their own way and a device called the Walker Talker and weekly calls that anyone with Dementia today and a chip called the Compass that if it worked might want it to be fact rather than fiction in this thought provoking novel.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews