“The natural world is so adaptable... So adaptable you wonder what's natural.”
Feed, to put it simply, is disturbing. This book gives us an almost apa...more“The natural world is so adaptable... So adaptable you wonder what's natural.”
Feed, to put it simply, is disturbing. This book gives us an almost apathetic look into an entirely conceivable future – a future where technology is everything and corporations own as much as the schools and clouds. Though, first and foremost, this is a book about a teenager. This is a book about Titus, a boy linked to the Feed, and his group of friends as they travel to the moon to have fun. But the moon turned out to completely suck...
This is not a conventional sci-fi read. In fact, this not a conventional read, period. Titus is a bizarre, cold character, whose emotions can hardly be labelled as such. Whether his distance is just Titus being Titus, or a result of the Feed running through his thoughts, and the consequent barrage of advertisements, is difficult to say. What’s obvious is that Titus, like his friends, is used to the Feed’s presence. In this futuristic world, the computer and internet are as much a part of our living bodies as our hearts and lungs, and, in some ways, nearly as vital as our organs. Imagine having Google in your head. As scary as some of the implications may be, it’s a thrilling possibility that promises ease and practicality. Am I the only one who still reads with a dictionary on hand? I know I could do with Dictionary.com in my head. There are other aspects here that make perfect sense, such as mental chatting. We went from letters to emails. From emails to instant messaging. Are technology-aided mental conversations really too difficult to imagine?
For Titus and his friends, the Feed is as natural as their own stream of consciousness. They chat without needing to open their mouths, they tune into their favourite feedcast, Oh? Wow! Thing!, and let corporations map their consumer profiles perfectly. The language here is full of futuristic slang, with terms such as ‘spit’, ‘null’ and ‘brag’ complementing the simplistic run-on sentences full of likes and da da das:
“So one time I said to her that she should stop reading it, because it was just depressing, so she was like, But I want to know what’s going on, so I was like, Then you should do something about it. It’s a free country. You should do something. She was like, Nothing’s ever going to happen in a two-party system. She was like, da da da, nothing’s ever going to change, both parties are in the pocket of big business, da da da, all that? So I was like, You got to believe in the people, it’s a democracy, we can change things. She was like, It’s not a democracy.”
Believe it or not, the writing works remarkably well overall, giving Feed a fairly distinct satirical edge. It’s different, even if completely strange, and sure to be the reason why I remember this book in a few months’ time. Nevertheless, I can see people easily being discouraged here, but, then again, it’s clear that this book was not meant to appeal to all. It requires ample amounts of reading between the lines, of realising that the subtle glimpses into our own buried world are what matter the most here. M.T. Anderson has little interest in being explicit.
Feed is over ten years old (with a new edition out very soon), yet still a book that holds some level of relevance. Anderson discusses the progression made over the last decade in his author’s note, and it’s this, more than anything, that gave me chills in the end.