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Intersect: A Love Story.

Intersect: A Love Story

Harold Torger Vedeler

iUniverse, Inc.

2021 Pine Lake Road, Suite 100, Lincoln, NE 68512

ISBN: 0595304354, $12.95, 155 pp.

Ghost in the Machine

Shannon extends her arms, reaches for Alicia. Alicia hesitates, trembles. Her mouth is just open and her eyes draw a picture of despair. And then Shannon embraces her, draws her close and holds her. Alicia is weeping now, her face visible and then buried in Shannon's bodice, weeping because she knows suddenly that it is all right, that it is just a game and that there is more in the world. Something that does not die.

[from "Intersect: A Love Story"]

Intersect is the creation of Torger Vedeler in his debut novel "Intersect: A Love Story" and is a thoroughly fascinating invention. Part game, part sport, part quasi-religious experience, it is an event fed directly into the global collective conscious via virtual reality chairs occupied by the enthralled billions of the world, young and old alike, who hang onto it as if for dear life.

And indeed Intersect is life, pure and direct and immediate, as captured and conveyed in the psychic performances of prepubescent girls, thrusts and parries, pirouettes and constructs fed through a network of computers as a series of shapes and numbers, synapse firings, able to express nothing less than the primary human experiences such as Beauty and Joy in a pure form of geometric and emotional code. It is as pernicious as heroin to the populace, yielding immediacy to a world starved of authentic, transcendent reality. Mr. Vedeler has written a very right-brain book to tell a very left-brain story.

The tale centers on an elite group of reigning Intersect champions and their relationship to one another, to their fans, and to the game that has made them the envy of the world. We follow the young girls as they struggle to deliver what the world craves of them. And what it craves most is to live vicariously through their concrete expression of abstract Love.

The game itself has aspects of fencing and gymnastics, chess, modern dance, tennis, and is something on the order of the World Cup, the Super Bowl, and the Academy Awards combined in terms of popularity. The greatest practitioner of the art of Intersect is our heroine, thirteen-year-old Shannon O'hea. We observe as Shannon pursues the World Championship, her fourth, in a series of matches played from a Chicago museum, and so does our hero, fifteen-year-old Georgie Collins, who has more than a puppy-love-crush on beautiful Shannon.

Georgie, a mere face in the crowd, senses deeper truths about Shannon, senses that Intersect is something other than the symbiotic enterprise it seems, and eventually vows to intervene into a world in which he has no part. Intersect is a girl's game, and Mr. Vedeler's feminism informs him that the purest expression of human love emanates from the pre-sexual female and that her combination of emotional honesty and psychic dexterity allows the best to achieve and impart something on the order of universal truths culminating in the liquid sunshine of pure love.

Heady stuff. Yet the crux of the novel is very much a coming-of-age story as we watch these adolescents come to grips with their situations. Shannon, like all Intersect girls, is insulated from the world, living within an entourage populated by women, and is ultimately alone in a cocoon of celebrity and privilege. Georgie is alone too in his awareness that Intersect is essentially a parasitic evil consuming its champions and that Shannon needs help.

The wheels are in motion as Shannon strives for friendship in a world that denies friendships and strives for perfection in a world that demands perfection. Georgie pursues his love beneath the cold, hard social and family structures that would deny him access to his love. As the tournament progresses, Shannon moves toward her dual goals as Georgie is torn between wanting Shannon both in the perfect hard-wired version and as the flesh-and-blood girl that she is.

Gradually Shannon learns what Georgie already senses as she witnesses what Intersect can do to its greatest players, the price extracted by the process of attaining emotional omniscience and omnipotence. She is compelled to look within herself for the ultimate measure of her mastery of Intersect. Yet she doesn't realize that Georgie holds the final key to the symbiosis she seeks.

Mr. Vedeler's canvas allows him to explore both the psychological motivations of his characters and the larger social implications of mass celebrity and mass gratification as well as the more ethereal meanings of friendship and love and the aesthetics of a game whose goal is to produce seismic emotive reactions. The scope is at once broad and narrow as we watch the world react to The Game and its participants and his characters contend with the clamoring world, with Intersect, and with one another.

To his credit, Mr. Vedeler doesn't write the characters up beyond their years, as he clearly could have, but allows them their own adolescent voices and naivete and in so doing distills their motivations to the most basic human components. It is a journey of self-discovery and maturation for them as they move toward a final and unexpected resolution. In the right hands, "Intersect: A Love Story" could make a fascinating movie with its futuristic approach to universal yet very current problems.

The psychic ghosts in Mr. Vedeler's machine may well be the young women dueling out their amorous pyrotechnics in the matrices of cyberspace all in pursuit of the perfect point, the perfect joining, but so too is the author as he shows us that real life is, and can only ever be, messy and imperfect.
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Author:Weiss, Peter
Publication:Reviewer's Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jul 1, 2006
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