Amy Beaker is a star. She’s used Heartstream to broadcast every moment of her mother’s illness. It’s the rawest reality TV imaginable, and it’s everywhere.

On the day of her mother’s funeral, she goes home to find a fan of hers in the kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives- and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time.

Amy is about to discover just how far true obsession can go.

Heartstream synopsis

One of the selling points for me was the Black Mirroresque future technology and how it affects society and human interactions. With Black Mirror the story lines aren’t always real, but they are either possible or set up to introduce the technology that would enable the situation. They usually leave me thinking what would I do in this senario, how would I respond to it, how would I feel. Heartstream left me thinking why for a different reason.

Heartstream is told from two points of view. Which for me usually means they know each other or will at some point, so the back of my mind is waiting for the first clue as to how. Amy the stream celebrity who started to use the Heartstream app when she struggled to cope with her mothers illness. Now overwhelmed by her fans, some of whom follow her to the funeral, hundred of people in t-shirts with her art on them. People who want more from her, who claim her mother as belonging to them through the use of Heartstream and that feel a right to her pain. Cat the boy band fan, who with her friend Evie runs a Rick ship forum dedicated to the suspected relationship between Nick and Ryan. Except Cat knows it isn’t real. Because she is dating Ryan in secret after a chance meeting. She can’t tell Evie, because if Evie furiously attacks any non believers using her tech knowledge, what we she do to Cat to protect this dream?

Amy, oh Amy. She isn’t mourning the way she thinks she should. She’s overwhelmed by her stream celebrity. She hints at not feeling like she fit in with her family. We hear how she felt protective of her brother but there isn’t a concern for him when she gets out of the house, just the desire to protect her captor.

Cat and her friend Evie are part of a boy band ship fandom. Evie uses technology to hack, expose, and dox anyone who leaves the Rick ship or throws doubt on it. But she blackmails a doctor by email and doesn’t just hack into the system herself. When Cat tells her she’s pregnant, Evie tells her she had an abortion a couple of years ago cause she couldn’t imagine coping or wanting a child, yet she steals the baby from Cat, then blackmails the Dr to help with this and informs the father (Why? Telling him anything means another person who could expose her) so that she can keep this one. Cat/Evie’s child has never heard of the boy band, who her mother adored to the point of illegal obsession, despite them being a One Direction like phenomenon, before and after her birth, whose lead becomes a politician. Now I know the band my own mother skipped school to see in London and that was long before the internet and intensity that celebrities get now. Who sent a swat team to Cat’s house? Where they caught? Punished? And how in the name of Jobs didn’t Cat have a photo or two of the pair of them on her phone to leak, along with all the messages, when she realised Ryan wasn’t the person she thought he was? She could have destroyed him like Katie Price did Gareth Gates. And then there’s Dr Ben and Ryan, why do they go along with it rather than expose Evie with the emails and evidence?

I really don’t know where I land with Heartstream. It was a quick read, it made me want to find out more, to see if I was right. It just didn’t give me enough.

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