Profile: Speculative Fiction
As a concept, The Incrementalists is a pretty impressive pitch. A secret society of quasi-immortal do-gooders dedicated to the slow improvement of mankind suddenly threatened by one of their own sounds like a great, high concept blockbuster. But The Incrementalists can’t seem to decide if it’s supposed to be more like ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ or ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,’ and flounders unpleasantly somewhere between the two. There are a lot of good ideas here, but the novel feels undirected at best and a confused mess at worst.
The book opens after the death of Celeste, a senior member of the Incrementalists. Phil, her lover and fellow senior Incrementalist, is tasked with finding her replacement and initiating her. This process involves transferring the memories of Celeste, and all of the other people who Celeste has been, into a new person. This new person is Renee, called Ren. But something goes wrong in the process and now ‘Celeste’ is missing and Ren is losing her mind. It falls to Phil and Ren to get to the root of the problem before it unravels the Incrementalists for good.