Feed by M.T. Anderson

Feed by M.T. AndersonFeed by M.T. Anderson
Published: Candlewick Press (2002), Paperback, 308pg
Source: Bought
Genres: Fiction, Sci-fi

For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon - a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world — and a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now. (from Goodreads)

I bought this book based solely on a recommendation made to me by a work acquaintance, and I’m so glad it worked out. Don’t you feel awkward when someone recs you a book but you end up hating it? What do you do then? Pretend you like it, or be honest?

Anyway, I normally wouldn’t have picked this up on my own, mostly because I tried reading The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing and hated it. I’m happy I did pick this up, though, because it was seriously good.

I thought Feed was really well-written. The world the characters live in is fascinating and scary, and I want to know more about it. We don’t get much in the way of details except for what Titus knows (not much) and various bits of news inserted throughout. The whole thing was so mysterious I ended up not really caring about the characters– I wanted to know more about their surroundings and not them. Wtf the lesions were about! And when their skin started falling off? Holy crap! And wtf was the black stuff in South America?! Seriously creepy.

There’s a lot more I could get into, enough for a 10-page paper, but instead I’ll just summarize my thoughts on certain important plot points in this handy list format:

1. The way the Feed people were stupid and extremely consumeristic was scary and sad, but no, I don’t think we’ll get to that point in our own society. I don’t think that was what the book was saying either, because a) people with feeds aren’t all the same amount of stupid and consumeristic (Violet’s dad, for instance, though he doesn’t have the same kind of feed as Violet and Titus; Titus himself learns how to express himself clearly and meaningfully), b) only a small amount of the population actually have feeds (I think 73% don’t? Something like that), c) things were on the verge of changing again, partly because of the lesions and partly because the rest of the world wasn’t going to tolerate the Feed society any longer. Feed, I thought, was more a “what if we continue on this route we’re on now” than “OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE BECAUSE WE’RE DUMB.” Though it could be both, I suppose.

2. Dead seas, fake clouds, not enough air? Filet mignon farms? Funny and SCARY. SCARY SCARY SCARY.

3. Actually most things in Feed was scary, except…it was funny, too. In a black humor kind of way.

And see, while a lot of things in Feed were scary, they were scary because they were happening in that world. Not because I thought they could ever really happen in our world. It was like a horror story, where the vampires and werewolves stay safely in their own pages and don’t intrude onto mine. Maybe I’m just optimistic, but I don’t think we’ll get to the point where we’re all walking around with half our skin missing because it fell off due to a brain implant. Y’know?

At least, I certainly hope we don’t get to that point.

Read: November 2008

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