Flannery's Reviews > Feed

Feed by M.T. Anderson
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While I’m sitting here writing this review, a Seattle Groupon advertisement is trying to get me to buy nachos with some amazingly tasty-looking picture in my sidebar. Now I really want some nachos. I just turned on the television and the advertisements while I’m perusing the OnDemand selections (because who can be bothered to watch television in real time these days?) made me want to watch The Fighter again. But I’m not going to! (I’m going to watch Clueless, duh) My mom told me today that Bath & Body Works is bringing back Copa Cabana scented lotion so I just bought lots of it online. (It was Buy 3, get 2 free!! OMGZZ!) We are sick. Our entire consumer-based society makes me ill but I am a willing participant in a lot of it.

This book is set in a (plausible?) future wherein our consumer desires have taken over. Corporations rule the roost, run the schools, and implant wetware into humans so people can research online without having to do any work, receive targeted ads and shop 24/7, and chat their friends without, you know, having to move their lips. There isn’t an incentive to learn anything because your feed can just tell you what you need to know. It’s soooo MEG! Titus and his friends do all sorts of unit things like frag around in clubs on the moon, wear whatever the hip new style of clothing is (I actually laughed out loud at the conversation about the geriatric chic clothing—canes, walkers, muumuus—and the riotware—the “Kent State Collection”), and go mal (malfunction) which is the equivalent of getting f*&ked up. No one seems to give a second thought to the system they are a part of--save a few people. Titus meets Violet on the shuttle to the moon and she got her feed later than most. Because her parents are academics she still has a lot of experience reading actual books, speaking (in the air as opposed to chatspeak), and philosophizing. She, arguably foolishly, tries to get Titus and his friends to actually think about what their consumptive lifestyle means in the larger scale of things. It was frustrating to listen to his friends let her inquiries about their knowledge of worldwide riots, mass killings, deforestation, etc. just slide off them—they just called her pretentious and said she was on the lookout for any sign of the decline of civilization. Sigh.

This aspect of the book, actually thinking about the effects of disposable culture and (over)consumption really struck home for me. I am fascinated by attempts to create closed-loop manufacturing systems. (ideally, a circle from raw materials through to end product in which little to nothing is wasted and byproducts may be used rather than disposed of) and the entire seven generation sustainability concept. (making our ecological decisions based on their effect seven generations ahead). But do I get ecstatic thinking about new video games coming out? Yes, I totally do. Can our individual environmental choices actually effectively change anything? Is our only choice to either watch our entire world deplete its resources at a disgusting rate or overthrow it all and start anew? Even at the end of this book, though it ends on a semi-hopeful note, I was still depressed. The types of people who would probably benefit the most from reading a satire like this will never read it.

While I feel like this book was successful at making me think a lot about our current society and its possible devolution into something even more corporate than it already is, I don’t know if this book is as successful as it could’ve been. I thought Unwind was so fascinating because it brought up tons of societal issues while still having an engaging plot. Here, I was only passively interested in what was going on in the story. Which brings me to the audiobook—awesome. The audiobook is narrated by one man but the feed portions are actually done by a cast and it sounds completely real. You hear all sorts of crazy commercials and advertisements just like you are actually experiencing the feed. I really don’t think I would’ve enjoyed this one as much in book form—maybe 3 stars—but the audiobook popped it up to a 4.
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Reading Progress

03/16/2011
25.0% "I have no idea what it would be like to read this one. In the audiobook it is really cool because they've done all the futuristic feed commercials and shows so you feel like you are actually hearing the feed when it comes up in the narrative." 4 comments
03/18/2011
50.0% "Consumerism is the devil!!!! :-)" 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

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message 1: by Stefanie (new)

Stefanie Thea audiobook for this sounds awesome! Great review, Flann! :)


message 2: by Arlene (new)

Arlene I've seen this audio at my lib. I might check it out. BTW *points at self* willing participant as well. ^^


Flannery Yeah, only get it if you want to think about how disgusting our lifestyle is...


message 4: by Nic (new)

Nic Great review Flannery. You really are the audio go-to-girl :)


message 5: by Nomes (new) - added it

Nomes I've never done an audio. I always get freaked out when i flip them over at the library and it says: 16 hours (!!)

loved the review :)


message 6: by Heather (new)

Heather Now that is the kind of Flann review I'm used to! : ) Enjoy your nachos and your B&BW items! (Not together tho, that would be gross.)


message 7: by new_user (new)

new_user Closed-loop manufacturing? That's about as far-fetched as it gets, LOL. Not only would we have to turn back globalization, but we would have to remove plastic from manufacturing. I prefer to find solutions that are more... how do you say... actually possible, LOL. Good review. :)


Flannery That's why the few instances of it actually happening are crazy interesting though:-) But, alas, you are totally right. I prefer my solutions to be grounded in reality but that doesn't mean a girl can't dream! ;-)


Catie I totally agree with you about the audiobook - I don't think that I would have enjoyed this one as much in print. Nice review!


Ashley I like how you made this really strong, thoughtful argument judging society, (and you are right, I do say) but then you throw in the thought that it wasn't as enjoyable if only listened to by an audiobook.

That erked me to the core. I won't go into it.

But I presume that it can't be helped, we all do it, just thought I'd point that out there.


message 11: by Flannery (last edited Jan 01, 2012 11:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Flannery I'm not sure what you are saying in the first paragraph. I said it might not have been as enjoyable if only read in BOOK form, not audiobook. I haven't read the book, only listened to the audiobook and therefore I can't make an absolute statement. All I meant was that they did a fantastic job on the audiobook and actually hearing snippets of the feed and experiencing what it might sound like added a lot of enjoyment to the experience of the book and that added enjoyment isn't possible if you just read the book and have to imagine the feed sounds. (so I was saying that I think it was more enjoyable if listened to as an audiobook)


Ashley That's exactly it though, a major point of the book being our inability to use our own imaginations, and needing something there to create the sounds and images in our heads for us ( which relates to the thought that the book would be even more enjoyable if listened to, because it's too much for us to handle.

It just sparked my interest is all.(:


message 13: by Flannery (last edited Jan 02, 2012 12:35AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Flannery That's totally true, I agree with you. I think the part that makes it super interesting to me was how annoying it actually was as a listen. I very rarely annoy myself with my imagination. I think if I was reading it, I could've imagined some of the advertisements and what it might be like to be constantly bombarded with invitations to do this or that or buy things in my head but I don't think I could've annoyed myself as much as the feed in the audiobook did.

I think we both get to the same place in the end, though. Both by reading the book or listening to the audiobook, we realize that having a feed in our head would majorly suck and I am annoyed with how (arguably over)saturated we are with new technological developments and consumerism. (as we discuss books we listened to and/or read... on the internet... with readers thousands of miles away. *sigh*)


Ashley I see how the audiobook would make the book's message even stronger because of how it really lets you get a sense of what they sense. It was a more humorous "oh, gotcha!" at the irony than anything serious when I originally posted:D

And yeah, each generation produces more and more consumers, and we've become so used to it that we do, as you mentioned, discuss books on the internet :D


Annalisa I totally agree that the people who could benefit from this book won't read it. Must have been awesome to listen to this audio and feel like you're getting your own feed.


Connie Echols What a reality check: I am a part of what disgusts me.


message 17: by Sean-michael (new)

Sean-michael great review...I may try my dietary audio book


message 18: by Sean-michael (new)

Sean-michael first...not dietary


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