Identity crises, consumerism, and star-crossed teenage love in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains.
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.
Matthew Tobin Anderson (M. T. Anderson), (1968- ) is an author, primarily of picture books for children and novels for young adults. Anderson lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
His picture books include Handel Who Knew What He Liked; Strange Mr. Satie; The Serpent Came to Gloucester; and Me, All Alone, at the End of the World. He has written such young adult books as Thirsty, Burger Wuss, Feed, The Game of Sunken Places, and Octavian Nothing. For middle grader readers, his novels include Whales on Stilts: M. T. Anderson's Thrilling Tales and its sequel, The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen. -Wikipedia
In lieu of a review here is a rant inspired by Feed, using actual examples from real-life teens to illustrate the possible retardation of our culture and language. Enjoy.
This is a discussion from the Emo Girls/Boys r HOT!! group on Goodreads. I wanted to see what our youth really talk like. I figured I'd get them at their best, discussing politics. Here's a sampling:
I"M BLACK BITCH!! i'd b racest against ME!! no....Obama is just a fag...plain & simple!!
ill bakk out right now... BYEZZZ
sorry....gotz a BIT too into my whole rage thing there....hehe *SO embarassed
damn, well i really don't see why ya'll are getting so mad i mean he does have the privlege to say what he wants i mean we do have a feedom of spech you know? but i don't really care who is president, i mean i'm moving out of the country so i see no point in careing
okay...so...? what is going on here? who has violent anger right now? lol i just saw a picture of Obama smoking some kill yo, haha
These are some of the more outrageous things said, but most of the in between comments were things like: wat tha...!?, lol, and okai.
Yeah, this is just a very small group of people, but similar comments, and spellings can be found in any of the 'teen' groups I've ever looked through for shits and giggles.
These kids don't seem to write much differently then the people talk in Feed, a dystopian teen novel about the a society all jacked into the internet through their heads. Their world seems awesome, they party and buy shit all the time, and party more, and goto School™, where they don't have to learn stuff like reading and writing, but how to get a killer job, and find good bargains online. They hang out and don't talk to each other, but message each other in their heads privately. Oh they also have lesions on their bodies, their skin is falling off, and most of the planet is dying from the effects of the consumer lifestyle these kids enjoy, but that's a downer and anyway they don't have to worry about it because the feeds in their heads are customized to optimize the users preferences and enjoyment of life.
To sound like a curmudgeon would be to say that this isn't to far fetched from how things are now, like we don't have lesions on our skin, and we also don't have flying cars (I forgot to mention that). We do have linguistic books though that stress that teens should be allowed to express themselves in their inane LOL speak because, well I don't know why, I only looked at the book jacket. We no longer have libraries in schools, but school media centers where kids are taught how to use the internet, because they probably aren't getting enough of it at home and they are instructed by School Media Specialists. I guess these really are librarians, but we've got to make it hip and happening to get kids into MEDIA and not just stodgy old books that have review processes and editorial control over content and that can't be interacted with and consumed like right now.
Lets see we also have all those stupid fucking people on their handheld devices who are constantly texting messages, looking up things, reading their custom feeds and can't seem to go a couple of minutes without having to check up on what's going on in their cyber world. What else. Lets see during the last broadcasted UFC fight (ok, I'm not immune to stupidity either, watching fighting has become my most recent foray into mindless enterainment), they kept telling the viewer to log onto Twitter to follow the fights from the comments UFC President Dana White was Twittering ringside. I mean, isn't watching the fight and listening to Joe Rogan's commentary enough, but now we also need to have the experience mediated another step through micro-blogging? Ok, or maybe we can look at a group of kids sitting on the floor of a bookstore all on top of each other like cockroaches and they all have their sidekicks out texting away, maybe even to each other, but it's like hanging out to be online or something.
How much easier would it be for all of this to happen if it could just be broadcast to our heads? I'm sure most people would sign up for it immediately. Then you wouldn't have to miss anything on any of the RSS feeds you're subscribed to, any of the news or gossip that keeps getting churned out to keep people checking back constantly, you'd never have to be bored because you could just call up a YouTube video and see it right there in your head. Who wouldn't want that kind of immediate access to the whole wide streaming world?
I might sound a tad self-righteous here, but I'm as guilty as anyone. We are an increasingly retarded society being swayed by a profit driven media culture.
Some of the conditions in the world created in Feed may still be a bit far off, we still have forests in our world; but the conditions for the ultimate consumerist culture are not too many steps away from what we are at now.
I started this book over a week ago and only got through the first page before all the "likes" turned me off. I took a break, read a few other books, and tried again. This time I got through two chapters before I closed the book and took a breath. "I can't do this," I told myself. "I hate books that overuse our obnoxious vernacular. And the made-up words are annoying and stupid. I much preferred the made-up slang in A Clockwork Orange." "So you're going to punish Anderson for using slang that is more realistic? You're going to punish him for making you uncomfortable with the world the way it is, for yourself because you know you use that word, like it or not." "Okay," I told the stupid analytic part of my brain. "If you'll just like shut up. I'll keep reading." And that is how I ended up reading this book.
And it did make me uncomfortable. It's everything obnoxious about our media-frenzied, frantic-paced, impulse-driven, uneducated-praising society exemplified megawatt. In Anderson's world people are hardwired into corporate feeds that advertise to them according to what they're thinking, feeling, saying, looking at, etc. They chat with each other, watch shows, check the internet, invade each other's privacy, all within their bodies. Schools have quit teaching them facts because all that's accessible at the push of a button-no simpler than that, with nothing more than a thought. All their interactions are interrupted by this internal conversation/shopping/distraction. Through a combination of advertising and ignorance these shallow people don't care that the feeds are destroying them after they've destroyed the world where they continue to live in vertically stacked suburbs with fake air and fake sun and fake food. And they all (adults included) speak in that valley-girl like/dude hollowness, only their words are mega and unit and still plenty of like and f words.
I picked up this book weeks after my disenchantment with facebook over the debacle on targeting advertising for us. I can see spelling and vocabulary plummeting in this text-typing generation and the interruption of technology into every moment of our lives. I fear for the laziness in education when information is at our fingertips. I can fathom technology being introduced where electronic devices are implanted so kids (okay me too) stop breaking them and losing them. I don't think we're that far off from biological computers. I can see the pitfalls of our society heading in something akin to this direction and it's disturbing. No more jokes from me about my surgically implanted cellphone. But those "likes" are too ingrained. I just have to keep kicking myself mentally whenever one slips out.
ETA: I've been thinking about this book ever since I read it. I can't stop thinking about it. For all the dystopias I've been reading, I'm amazed that Anderson's world could discomfort me this much. And I've been thinking about his main character. While reading it, I was often disappointed with his choices, but now I think he was the perfect embodiment of this shallow world. I loved that Anderson offers no judgment or solution, just shows us this world with all its many flaws and lets it creep under your skin and make you uncomfortable with where the world is headed. M.T. Anderson is amazing. I look forward to reading his other books.
You could be eating Taco Bell tacos right now! In fact, there's a Taco Bell nearby calling your name!
Just think of that taste as the steaming beef-like substance hits your tongue, with Taco Bell's savory blend of spices all ready to give you MOUTHGASM! With a side of those cinnamon twists, and a big, plastic quart of a dark, sugary substance, you're ready to have a tasty tasty meal! And you've earned it! Perhaps you should consider buying some when you finish reading this review!
Because this review is about what life would be like it we had internet access in our head. Awesome? NO. It would totally suck. Nearly as much as the Dirt Devil In-Ground Ultra-Sucker, which temporarily has a $50 mail-in rebate, as long as you ACT NOW.
It sucks for a variety of reasons. . . for one, how would you feel if, while you were trying to talk to someone and he was looking you straight in the eyes, you started getting the sneaking suspicion he was watching Archer? Or you thought he might be on Goodreads, tinkering around with some new review? And this made you start wondering how well your last review was doing RE: votes, and before you could think twice about it you were on Goodreads, checking your updates? And then your conversation trails off because he really IS watching Archer, and now you're posting a status update b/c you've read another 20 pages in a book--BUT WAIT! There aren't books! Nobody reads anymore! So it's an internet without Goodreads! More about that after these messages.
And we're back! I guess the most annoying part of the whole internet-in-the-head thing would be the constant barrage of advertisements. I mean, when you can't control when you have to endure an advertisement, can't turn it off, can't change the channels, because the advertisement is literally in your head....I mean, WTF?
But RE: this book, it's a well-done mix of young adult literature and dystopia that manages a techno-teen speak that works and is more funny than annoying. This is quite impressive, although not as impressive as the taste of Bacardi, which helps you become skinny and slutty, i.e. hot.
Anderson does amazingly well at making you actually feel for the main character, considering he--along with almost every other character--is even more wrapped up in consumerism than we are. I know, right? Happiness is an idea communicated by advertisements, and identity is created by which of these happinesses you choose to pursue. Are you the Bacardi ho? Are you the dude in the field of flowers tossing his kid up in the air? Are you walking down the beach and sliding a diamond ring on a finger? Who are you?
The main character falls for a girl who doesn't seem as...well, distractible and materialistic as the other people he knows. This is a big turn-on, although not as much as a pair of Air Max 90 Infrareds. You don't have a pair yet? They're the dopest of the dope. These shoes are so hot, girls literally make out with them.
So, he's attracted to the way she seems so strangely thoughtful and reflective. But, it's a dystopia, so blah blah blah, it goes to shit.
There's a lot of absolutely hilarious parts of this book, most of them in the first half. Things then get real. RE: funny things, though,
1. Everyone has lesions on their skin because of pollution. They're so common that they are usually ignored, until it comes into fashion to get artificially created, ornamental ones. 2. They go to the moon one day because they're bored. 3. They go to a farm. A filet mignon farm, with big pulsating walls of beef all around them. And they go through a beef maze. I laughed until I cried.
That said, I shall conclude. This conclusion is brought to you by Chevron, the environmental fossil fuel company. We're working toward a progressive energy future, and sustainable resource practices. And those terms really do mean something.
My conclusion is that IT'S NOT TOO LATE FOR US. We still have the chance to be creative, innovative, and make choices for ourselves. And if we don't use these abilities, we may end up losing them. So, lets all go out and express our individuality by finding products that help us define who we are as individuals. Maybe then, then, we will be free.
This, in my opinion, is the best written YA book I've ever read. The characterization is brilliant and unflinching, the details of the world absolutely spot-on, and the YA coming-of-age plot seamlessly worked into a brutal sci-fi story.
When I grow up, I want to be M. T. Anderson.
***wondering why all my reviews are five stars? Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read. Consider a novel's presence on my Goodreads bookshelf as a hearty endorsement. I can't believe I just said "hearty." It sounds like a stew.****
I know this is considered a young adult book, but I didn't feel like I was reading a young adult book. I first thought, wow this is an off shoot of William Gibson's Neuromancer, but as I read more it reminded me more and more of Bret Easton Ellis's Less than Zero. I'm a fan of both those books and buoyed by that feeling of familiarity I let myself be pulled into M. T. Anderson's vision of the future.
73% of the world have chips implanted in their heads; the world wide web is as readily available to them as breathing. The teenagers in this book feel like they are the hippest most connected people on the planet, but of course the more connected they become the more disconnected they are from what is really going on. They develop lesions and the FEED convinces them it is fashionable to have lesions to the point that some kids are having lesions cut into their body and held open with plastic just so they can feel more a part of the group. Shopping is the ultimate cure for melancholy (sound familiar). For kicks the kids will find malware on the web that will disrupt their FEED and body functions.
There is a love story between Titus and Violet. It is sweet and hopeful, a tie between the future and the past that might have led to an awakening in Titus if not for unfortunate events.
Anderson interjects FEED blasts between chapters giving us a real feel of what it would be like to be assaulted by advertising, blasted by advertising, manipulated by advertising. It would be similar, I feel, to walking through Time Square only with all of that visual extravaganza compressed and put in to your head.
One memorable scene was when Titus is shopping for spotlights for his UPCAR and the salesman is talking about how he went above the domes of the city and noticed movement below him and he flashed his spotlight down on the dome and cockroaches scrambled to get away from the light, billions of them latched on to the dome of the city.
As the environment falls apart around them, as their hair falls out and as flesh starts falling off their bodies no one is worried because there is always the FEED to reassure them that things are really okay.
This is a fast, high impact book that I'm almost certain I will read again.
My wife just sent me a message on google chat that she saw an advertisement selling a Samsung refrigerator that comes with WIFI. Soon I will be able to have meaningful conversations with my refrigerator and I might even develop a crush on my toaster.
I am so shocked and surprised to be saying that I loved this book. I was honestly expecting to hate it, but I think this is the most realistic portrayal of our future I've ever read. There's so much to take away from this book and I honestly think I'll be thinking about it for the rest of my life.
oops, i accidentally liked this book. i swear it was unintentional. i was all set to hate it, especially after greg's review (which to be fair, was less about hating the book and more about hating the people this book might be hoping to educate) the wariness i had about it being in kidcode teenspeak was unnecessary - it was like reading clockwork orange or irvine welsh or anything else in dialect. i thought it was going to be written in contemporary teentalk, which is retarded, but if it's made-up speculative teen-ese, its less annoying. weird, right? if you want to read a good review of the book, read greg's, because all i am going to say is - the moon sucks, i totally agree. and they have a filet mignon park with a steak labyrinth. you can't have a dystopia with a steak labyrinth, because it sounds too much like heaven. and as the only person without an i-pod, cell phone, blackberry, or watch, i can now say i am "resisting the feed"!! but i never would.
Yuck. Like, unit, this was meg annoying to read with all the like, whoa, thing, dialog. I'm too much of a consumer to appreciate this book, I guess. I, like, totally get what the author is trying to say with this book, but whoa, dude. I think I'll just drink a Coke and forget I read this one.
I'm doing this project where I'm rereading books I enjoyed from my adolescence and seeing how they hold up. FEED was a book that really stuck out to me as a candidate because I still remembered it so strongly despite not picking it up for several years. It's kind of like a YA-ed up version of BRAVE NEW WORLD. In a future where the earth is suffering from multiple environmental crises, humans take solace in an electronic soma: the internet feeds wired into their brains.
Titus, the hero, is the main character. He's just an ordinary teen who likes to do dumb stuff with his friends. When we meet them, they're partying on the moon, wanting to hook up and get wasted. Then he sees a girl who isn't like other girls. Her name is Violet and she uses big words and actually cares about the world beyond what it can offer up to her for sale. But when a rioter hijacks their computers to make a political statement, something goes wrong with Violet's... and as she struggles with her health, she tries to make Titus see without the influence of his feed.
This is a very depressing book but I think the author did a really good job with it. All the slang is a bit tricky at first, but the words the author chose all make sense and I picked it up pretty quickly. Some readers complained about the swearing and graphic content, but again, I think it sets the stage for the vapid, superficial world the author created and it never crosses into explicit.
Some sci-fi books don't age well but this one actually got better with age. The author actually predicted so much-- doom scrolling, toxic positivity, physically harmful trends for the sake of virality, and so much more. What makes this even more impressive is that social media was still kind of a gleam in the internet's eye when this was published, and so were the shopping algorithms that are now economical powerhouses online. I can't say that this book filled me with joy but it was incredibly intelligent and insightful for a YA dystopian and I think I liked it more as an adult than I did as a teen.
Welcome to post-literary society, where everything you need (or do not need, for that matter) is spoon-fed to you, straight into your brain. No need for books!
Every once in a while, my universe is thoroughly shaken, and I feel like I lose ground. 2016 has proven to be more of a strain on my nerves than I consider healthy, with political developments in the whole world going from merely bad to pure demagoguery, with news that are disturbing almost every day.
My one consolation in the chaos is, and has always been, reading. More than most other years, I have cherished my hours spent in the reading chair, reading history, poetry, drama, contemporary and classic literary fiction. All the time thinking I know what literature is. Having read Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction, I should of course have KNOWN better, but humanity is good at taking impressions at face value. As long as we are not challenged to think differently.
Well, I am now!
In the era when musicians win the Nobel Prize In Literature, cheered on by a whole community of non-readers, and some readers as well, who like his music (but probably haven't read his "books" either), we are not far away from the randomness of the society depicted in "Feed", where human beings have a chip implanted in their brain that feeds them anything from music and news to advertisement, customised to match the person's shopping pattern.
I did not expect anything from this book, and just picked it up because it fit a teaching unit on dystopian fiction for Grade 9.
And then I spent the whole weekend laughing and crying. I don't think many paragraphs have touched me as much as the one where proper education is dismissed on the grounds that the feed enables you to get instant information on everything immediately, for example "which battles in the Civil War George Washington fought in".
My first reflection was that many of my students would not be able to detect the deep sarcasm contained in that sentence, and they would not question the content. Scary thought! Now I am almost certain that many grown-ups as well, even if they are educated, would miss the message in that paragraph, as they don't care about the context and read quickly without reflection. Skimming through text does that to you, whether you are an adolescent or an adult.
Then I felt almost nauseated when I read a press release from the fictitious government explaining to the outside world that "big shithead" was an idiom meant as a compliment, and should not be considered as an insult threatening the diplomatic relationship between two states. If the other state did not understand the nuanced language spoken in America, it was truly not the American leader's fault. Again, I thought it was exaggerated first, only to see much worse in the real world over and over again this summer.
The way we treat language, first carelessly, without any thought, and then ruthlessly, without any truth, is very close to the futuristic American establishment in "Feed".
I felt deeply disturbed by the numb reaction of the main character when he is confronted with real tragedy, but in a way, that intensified the message of the story. A life lived with a news and entertainment feed in your head makes you detached from the messy feelings you would have to confront in human interaction. It also makes you move forwards all the time, not stopping to think, or read, or reflect. If you don't act, the noise in your head gets tangible, annoying, and stressful. To tune it out, you must be occupied with several easy tasks at the same time, shallowly half-focusing.
I am not sure my students would appreciate the novel, and without reading guidance, the adventure, full of teenage risk taking and bad language, as well as interesting technology, will probably make them overlook the message about humanity lost to quick entertainment and instant gratification, unable to find pleasure in deeper thoughts and feelings, and unable to express themselves in sophisticated language, as their vocabulary is based on the songs they listen to and the advertisements they are fed.
The sad thing about books about the loss of literature and culture is that they are mostly read by people who still nurture that love.
For the rest, I am sure the "Feed" gives them 24 hours nonstop of "poetry for the ear".
I might feel uncertain if I actually liked Feed or not, but one thing I know for sure - the audio version of it is excellent. The book itself is unique because of its narrator - a teen in a future with a device in his head that directly connects him to the internet. Titus, who is constantly fed a cocktail of advertising, entertainment and targeted info, has an almost atrophied brain, he lacks in basic knowledge of speech or reading, because why bother if all communication can be done through the Feed? His "voice" is highly stylized and peppered with "likes," "dudes," "fucks" and "dadadas." This voice can be annoying at times, but the audio truly brings it, as well as the Feed - a constant stream of information - ads, news, chats, whathaveyou, to live.
But other than the high quality of the audio production, Feed didn't really impress me.
For one, I guess Feed failed to properly scare me. You see, even though I am not a particularly tech savvy person, I am sooo far from lamenting the advancement of technology and the "loss of humanity" that comes with it. Yes, yes, Feed draws from present day culture of teens and tweens tweeting and texting in never ending OMGs and LOLs, but I am still not concerned. Somehow, these ignorant pubescents manage to grow up and become functioning members of society and in fact are often at an advantage in our Twitter and Facebook-driven world.
People have been predicting the end of the world due to technological or cultural changes since the dawn of days. Burn those astronomers and scientists! Don't let them women go to school and vote! Nobody writes letters a la Jane Eyre any more! Those telephones are EVIL! EBOOKS will ruin literature the way we know it! Every time there is a change in technology or culture, someone is crying apocalypse.
You know what? I am not scared of the changes. People evolve, communications evolve, and life goes on. Will there be time when internet is directly plugged into our brains? When we communicate mostly electronically? Maybe. So what? I am already plugged into my iPod/laptop/cable a significant amount of time. Would I be better off spending more time outside planting potatoes, picking cotton, turning over hay, grinding flour? You tell me.
In addition to the Feed concerns, there is another layer of the novel where human population seems to be decaying, physically, with people developing lesions on their skin and the planet being destroyed, but that's a completely different story. All of that doesn't seem to be attributed to the evils of the Feed. Just carelessness of people. I am not even sure why Anderson put it into the story, without significantly connecting it to the rest. Was it all supposed to be a treatise against American over-consumerized culture, the cause of everything bad in the world? This side dish of social commentary wasn't flavored enough for my taste.
To me, Feed read a bit dated and a bit young. In spite of massive cursing and sexual content, the book's message is delivered in a simple and obvious way. But that's a normal thing. After all, this YA novel is over 10 years old and lost some of its bite.
I enjoyed the novel's "voice" (thanks to the fabulous audio), but did it provoke any thoughts or emotions in me? Not really. The highly satirized and stylized narrative might be at fault here. Satire doesn't work for me usually. Making a joke out of serious issues doesn't compel me to cheer for the cause, no matter how legit it is.
If you were to choose only one YA book to read in your lifetime, it should be this book.
Feed portrays the near future world North Americans are currently barreling towards, and, as a result, this book is horrifying, terrifying, and brilliant all at the same time. You don't need to read my review, you need to go out and read this book, now. It's a fast pace and shouldn't take very long to whip through. I keep it on my shelf because it's genius, but it's so chilling I can't stand to reread it.
It's not often I agree with the big gun awards out there but Feed richly deserves its status as: National Book Award Finalist, star PW, and star Kirkus, it should have won the Newberry. Probably would have if it wasn't SF.
Though it reads like the runaway product of a creative writing assignment on developing Voice, what with its belabored future slang and rapid-fire "look-how-teen-I-am" narration, this story is pretty darn cool. And the small details seeded throughout to hint at a wider future culture are very good worldbuilding. "Do more with less," and all that. By the end the focus had narrowed to such an arresting intimacy that it caught me off guard. I consider it well above average in the YA field, and right on par for grown-up satire.
3.5 stars. I should've read this long ago, when I was a cynical teen and would have totally been able to relate.
While I did end up liking this book I was very close to banishing it to the back of my bookshelf. This book is one that I found hard to get into, the beginning is slow and slightly tedious with the slang and the "Like, totally, man" quality of the narrators speech, it wasn't 'til about page 48 that I really started getting into it and even then it (in my opinion) wasn't very well-done. It seemed at times like the author was trying too hard to get his point across/to make you see the satire that it rather feel like he was nudging me the whole time going "Know what I mean? Huh? Do ya get it, do ya?" which got tiring very fast. Even the ideas weren't terribly original, the whole 'controlled and made stupid by technology' plot has been done; I believe there's even a few movies where everyone is connected by the Internet in their head. The only things that made me like the book were Violet who is one of the more 3D characters in the story and not really the dark things that are going on behind scenes, the things that are happening to the world, but the way Titus (the main character and narrator) basically ignores it. All-in-all I'd only recommend this book to you if you like reading between the lines because it's really the things that are only hinted at and not said that are the best and most interesting thing/ideas in this book.
(this review can also be seen at the-book-nuts.blogspot.com)
There are very few books I put down for just being horrible. Many times I am able to see the good things, even if there are few: I detested Beautiful Creatures, but I loved the character of Macon Ravenwood. I couldn't stand Far North, but I felt the setting was accurately portrayed, and somewhat made up for the excruciating lack of plot.
Feed takes place at some unknown time in the future, a time where the majority of people have "Feeds-" a chip implanted in your head that allows your brain direct access to the internet.
It also allows agencies and advertisements direct access to your brain.
Just let that sink in. That annoying Super Bowl ad that just won't get off your TV? In your brain. Twenty. Four. Seven. The McDonalds "Filet Fish" jingle? Constantly. Replayed. No way to turn it off.
Okay, so it's a fairly interesting premise.
At the beginning, I did not know what our main character's name was. "He" is taking a vacation on the moon. The author throws you directly into the world, complete with a large amount of slang term that will never actually be defined in the chapter, or the book, to be honest. For about fifty pages, I honestly thought the guy's name was "Unit." ("Unit" turns out to be some slang similar to "dude," despite the fact that "dude" is also used, which leads me to believe they are interchangeable?)
So, our main character, our "Unit," is attempting to figure out with his friends what to do on this weird thing called the Moon. They're incredibly bored, and so end up heading to the bar. There he meets the first intelligent being in this book, and her name is Violet. (insert "Unit" swoon here.) All's going well until they go out dancing, and some strange old man hacks their Feeds. The police come, and plot begins.
Around page one-hundred and fifty, I still didn't know "Unit's" name. So, naturally, I looked it up on the Internet. "Titus," that's interesting.
So what I'm trying to say here:
I didn't like Feed.
Not at all.
The slang, which could have been interesting had it been done properly, was confusing and unhelpful. The voice of "Titus" sounded like some strange mix between a modern-day valley girl and a whiny futuristic boy. The word "like" was incorporated infinitely more than it should have been. There was very little amount of character development. Titus starts the story as a bratty teenager, and he ends it as a bratty teenager. His friends are incredibly flat. Violet and her father, the only mildly interesting characters, seem to have little impact on Titus' life.
I was honestly hoping for a revolution book.
I was hoping this strange world of Brain Internets was a terrifying dystopian setting, set perfectly for our main character to rise up against the power that be.
Instead, I get a plot which could have easily taken place modern-day, the main character being a snobby billionaire's kid and the antagonist being cancer.
I feel like this world has such possibilities, but the plot was awkwardly developed and the characters were Ew.
This has been on my library TBR for some time now. It was about to be weeded and so I decided to pick it up. I only knew the title of the book and I had assumed it had something to do with food. Maybe it was cannibalism or something. It is totally not what I was expecting.
This is a YA future Sci-Fy tale. I almost didn't go on to finish the book. The first part there is so much cussing and the characters feel so hollow, but I'm glad I stuck with this story as there is some amazing ideas in this story.
Our story starts out on the moon and the moon is now like a Spring Break destination. You can fly to several moons and planets in the solar system. Everything is boring and stupid to the characters. They take it all for granted.
Feed has to do with a chip implanted into people's brains that connects you to social media and your emotions, memories, and movement are all linked into this Feed. People send instant messages in their head. They also had all these horrible commercials happen all the time during the life and the story shows what this might feel like.
People can look up anything on the internet and have the information so no one studies and no one really works much for things. These kids don't know anything that's going on in the world. They are all interested in fads, trends and what's cool. One of the trends that happens is that people are getting lesions and no one knows why. A reality show has one character being proud of her lesions and so two of the female characters go and have surgical lesions all over their body on purpose.
One of the characters names was Calista and I think this is the first story with a character with my name. It was pleasant to read about a story with my name.
I thought the theme of technology and how it interacts in our lives was powerful. Are we going to be slaves to technology or are we simply going to use technology. This is far into the future and nothing will grow on the Earth any longer that people don't cultivate. The Earth is mostly dead. I look at people and their phones and sometimes it doesn't feel like we are far off from this story and where its going. It seems to me that technology ultimately makes us feel more isolated and less connected in some ways, while I do know in others it connects us in different ways.
The book had a lot to say and the ending was well done. It is not a feel good ending. I can't say I enjoyed the book, it just felt so shallow and hollow. I couldn't relate to any of the characters, but the world building is amazing. M. T. had great characters in his world and you were immersed, for better or worse. It's not a pleasant world, and it works for what he is setting up.
I started out with 3 stars and I had to bump it up to 4 stars. I am glad I finished it.
Feed is a much more complex novel than it appears to be. So much of the story is told by things left unsaid or details told in single sentences sandwiched in between unrelated paragraphs. The blurb on the back of the book is totally misleading. The girl, Violet, is not a rebel and she’s not out to change the world. She’s a lower middle-class teen. Her mother left and her father, a college professor, home schools her. The narrator, Titus, meets her on a spring break trip to the moon. Violet wants to fit in with the “normal” kids, but her way of speaking and thinking creates a chasm between them.
What makes this story different that the typical coming-of-age novel is the futuristic setting in which most people have computer interfaces installed in their brains when they are infants. These “feeds” provide people with instant access to any information they could possibly want. But, they mainly use it to message each other and to shop. The feed subjects them to a constant barrage of advertising that’s directed to them based on their shopping and browsing habits. Sound familiar?
While on the moon, Titus, some of his friends and Violet are touched by a creepy old man who infects their feeds with a virus. The teens are hospitalized for a few weeks and their feeds are disconnected until it’s certain they are virus free. Unfortunately, the virus causes permanent damage to Violet’s feed with disturbing results.
In the background, you slowly come to understand that the Earth that these teens inhabit has gone seriously wrong. Most people have access to untold consumer goods. They can communicate with others quickly and silently. They live in a Jetsons-style world with “upcars” and houses in bubbles connected by tubes. (Maybe it’s a giant human Habitrail?) It sounds kind of utopian until you realize that a forest has been torn down to make an air factory, you can only go to the seashore wearing something like a space suit, and there are mentions of radiation levels increasing. What’s disturbing is that the characters see all this as normal. They are so caught up in pop-culture and consumerism that they don’t see all the really terrible things happening around them and to them. They’re getting oozing lesions and they think it’s really cool and fashionable. They don’t even stop to wonder what’s causing the lesions or realize that lesions are signs of disease. One thing I give Anderson credit for is never telling the reader outright what the cause of the lesions is. I figured it out, but I suspect a lot of readers, especially younger readers, will miss it.
I saw some complaints about the way the story is told; that it’s too slangy and hard to understand. I didn’t find this to be the case. I thought the slang created for this book was perfectly suited for the characters and the setting. Anderson doesn’t try to mimic the way teenagers today talk and how they think. Instead, he creates a teen language that is based on having 24/7 access to information and entertainment inside your head. Yet, he also managed to keep quite a bit of timeless adolescent attitude in the story. These kids weren’t any smarter or less attitudinal than kids have been for the last fifty years. In fact, they aren’t quite as savvy as modern kids.
I highly recommend this book for any reader over 13. It’s intelligent and thought provoking. It doesn’t give the reader all the answers; it makes him or her work for them. I was very impressed.
I hated this book. I felt patronized and belittled by his futile attempt to relate with me. This book has no content and the English was horrendous. My head started to hurt about half a page through. I am accustomed to reading books that have meaning and structured grammar. I don’t spend my time on Young Adult novels because I can’t relate to them. Feed did exactly that. It ostracized me. It is by far the worst book I have ever read. I really wish that I could have quit after the first chapter. He has single handeadly took a good topic and turned it into a pile of extremely rough toilet paper.
When I was sixteen, I caught an early matinee of The Man Who Fell To Earth. I was hungover after a night of serious teenage drinking, and that film made me decide to go straight-edge for the rest of my youth. It was such a cutting story, a hero's journey derailed by substance abuse, and it hit me at exactly the right moment.
Having just finished Feed by M. T. Anderson, I'm now wondering if I ought to pitch this whole Internet thing overboard as well. Put it down and run away screaming.
Feed reads like a SF-flavored Douglas Copland novel, if Douglas Copland didn't suck. It's the future story of jaded bourgeois teenagers who've inherited a dying planet, but who don't know what they're missing because they've all got Internet in chips in their heads: viral youtube links, targeted pop-up ads (tons), one-click purchasing, e-mail and IM, virtual shopping buddies and general psychic filesharing. They can fly to the moon and think it sucks. Their skin is falling off and they think it's the latest fashion. You could call them morons, but they're just victims of their information diets.
It's so well realized that I can't help but draw parallels with my own life, where I spend far too much time in front of this cold white laptop inventing non-existent thought products and worrying about links. This book is gorgeous and clever and sad and creepy, and hopefully we'll all read it and decide never, ever to actually do this to our children. Because we totally could.
Feed has a good, interesting concept to work with: in the future, everyone's brain is linked to the Feed, so what we've always dreamed of is a reality—we are literally on the Internet ALL THE TIME. What this means is that the Feed is always learning about you and your preferences and recommending things for you to buy, you have the whole Internet's worth of information at your fingertips, you can cyberchat with people without having to type anything, and, oh, your brain is full of ads. The audiobook impressively creates what are essentially fully produced radio ads that appear in between chapters or, sometimes annoyingly/distressingly, break into the narration unexpectedly. When characters chat, they sound different than when they speak aloud, presumably recreating different fonts/formatting in the text. I would definitely like to experience more creative audiobooks like this one!
If only Feed had compelling characters and a story to go along with the worldbuilding. I was reminded of Little Brother in that it seemed like M.T. Anderson had a good idea and wanted to make some social commentary, but he didn't really bother to tell a story. Some of the satire is pretty funny, and the social commentary is pointed and clever, but the main character is not likable at all, nor is anyone else in the book besides Violet, the girl he meets on the moon who opens his mind to maybe not being a sheep who relies on the Feed. Everyone talks in idiotic futuristic Valley Girl slang, and perhaps Anderson is making a point about how language will devolve into nonsense, but it sure makes for an annoying, frustrating read. At least Little Brother was entertaining. I wanted to give up on this book after the first few chapters, and it was a struggle to make it through most of it, since nothing really happened. The book focuses on the relationship between Titus and Violet, but Titus is so dull that I didn't really care. The book improves in the last third, but by that point, it had already lost me, and I wanted it to be over so I could move on.
When I read the jacket blurb about this book I knew I was going to have a fun time with this story. Add to the fact that Anderson admits being influenced by none other than Mr. Thomas Pynchon, and this book had serious potential. (I have a serious man crush on Pynchon, which is really gross if I stop to think about it. But I digress.)
And then I read the first page.
Okay, I understand the need to get the voice of a character and to tell a story in that voice, if applicable. But this voice was atrocious. Was it me or was every character a stereotype of the whiny teenager or burn-out? How many times can a character say like in a sentence? Read the first page and see. But since I have an abnormal gene that requires me to finish everything I start, I sloughed through till the end. The writing, IMO, doesn't get any better, but the story more than made up for this. If dystopic futures and far fetched plots intrigue you, this may be worth exploring.
I hope Anderson will take a stab at writing an adult novel. I would like to see how he adapts older characters to his imagination.
After reading this book, I've been revisiting everything about my life: how much time I spend in my iPhone, my values, my self-image. What is me and what is product of advertising? As a marketer, I've always been clear that marketing is a reflection of who we are more than the other way around but as I read this book, I realized the cumulative effect of having all the messages bombard us since we're pretty much in the womb. And even though our brains tells us that today's standards of beauty - perfect abs, thin thighs, no cellulite, glossy hair - are impossible to reach, there's a still a part of us that wish we could look like that. Totally fucked up!!!
Titus is a teenager in a future where people have the Internet connected to their heads. And it doesn't only provides information, entertainment and of course advertising, it's also intricately connected to their brain, in such a way that if the feed doesn't work, it kills them. The feed is such a necessary part of their lives that they wouldn't consider themselves disconnecting even if they could.
But the braggest thing about the feed, the thing that made it really big, is that it knows everything you want and hope for, sometimes before you even know what those things are.
The description made it seem as if being disconnected from the feed makes Titus reconsider what having the feed means but it's actually the opposite. Violet, who had the feed installed as a child instead of at birth like the others, is the one that wants to be "normal", only worrying about fashion, parties and teenage shenanigans. Yet, she's more aware of the world at large, the consequences of our consumerism society, that the planet is dying, that people are dying in wars or attacks. Titus doesn't want to hear any of this, he wants to continue with his oblivious life and he does. At the end, poor Violet is the one that pays the consequences.
The audiobook production was amazing. The narrative is constantly interrupted by ads, songs, "educational shows", all trying to sell you something, and these are produced like real ads, with that fake enthusiasm that's so ubiquitous in radio. It really brought home what this feed was about and how it must have felt to be continuous bombarded with advertising, literally in your head.
David Aaron Baker, the narrator, was also excellent. All the teenagers had this bored valley voice, totally how you know they must have sounded.
Feed wasn't a comfortable book to read but so worth it. It's made me realize that I have to make some changes in my life if I don't want the "feed" to take over my life.
İşte, kitabın dilini anlamanız için falan aşağıdaki sinir bozucu tekniği kullandım.
Bitti mi? Tabii ki hayır! Sabrım falan elvermedi. Bana okuduğum en iyi kitabı sorsanız size bir tane söyleyemem ama okuduğum en kötü kitabın ne olduğunu falan an itibariyle biliyorum. Aslında konu olarak falan güzel. Oksijen üreten fabrikalar, sonra işte beyine falan yerleştirilen bilgisayarlar, sonra yönlendirilen insanlar, sonra işte gezegenler arası seyahatler falan... [bu arada işte bu yazdıklarımdan bazılarını da kitabın arkasından falan çıkardım] Beyine yerleştirilen bilgisayarlar sayesinde herkes çok zeki falan böyle. Zaten bunun ismine de Bağlantı falan diyorlar. Ya da ben öyle çıkardım işte. Sonra işte bu karakterlere zeka fazla gelmiş falan, ama işte çok salaklardı. 'Ne diyo bu salaklar be' falan oldum. Sonra işte konuya falan girmedi yazar. Sonra karakterler yakalandı falan. Kim yakaladı anlamadım gibi. İşte aslında kitap akıcı. Gerçekten çok akıcı. Ama okurken oha falan olmasaydım severdim gibi bişey.
It must be the week for me to be reading weird books... first "Unwind" and now this.... I'm straddling the proverbial fence on this bad boy: On the positive hand, 1.It was a unique story But Sometimes different doesn't equal good. 2. The story itself was interesting but the writing sucked and it was "MEG" hard to get into 3. It was a cool take on how technology can be beneficial, but in extreme quantities we are actually worse off, to the point it makes our mind numb But it could have been executed so much better... there could have been so much more to the feed. 4. The actual Feed itself is such an awesome idea. We are basically walking computers that cater to our every need and want But as I said above it could have been so much more... 5. Violet was such a refreshing character but I hate her ending. 6. I (guiltily) like the idea of the feed, the part about getting products sent to you pretty much in an instant and the feed catering to my whims But it's shallow... the consumerism in this book is almost scary. Why? Becuase when you look at our society now, are we really that far off from this???
On the whole, this Rodeo is closing shop becuase it didn't sell enough tickets... it didn't hold my interest.
I could go on, in my 50/50 state of mind. It was not horrible, nor was it great. 5/2= 2.5 stars!
Sidenote: this is book #147 for me.... come on 150!!!!
So readers, I really wanted to like this book... But I didn't, in fact, my overall reading experience left me feeling more conflicted than before picking Feed up to read. I am HAPPY though that I have read this in one sitting since a few Goodreads users recommended me this novel right at the start of my Goodreads experience as a book reviewer. Titus is the main character and he has this feed inserted into his brain, this controls and receives adverts, messages and basically anything from the world wide web. He and his friends however end up being hacked and in hospital with no contact other than each other face to face and not from the outside world, he meets Violet. From the outside, she looks like them but actually, there's a secret. She hates the feed and wants to change its creation. I liked the story idea of the feed but the constant, short, snappy chapters made the story pacing drag. I struggled to connect to both Titus and Violet as characters. The ending also left me with more questions than answers. By this point, I knew the writing wasn't clicking for me.
The irony of seeing all the ads on goodreads to get me to this page is not escaping me.
Feed is a novel that needs to be experienced. Anderson projects a world where fast-paced internet consumerism has taken over society, where people have the internet basically wired into their bodies, directly feeding them a stream of advertisement based on their every random thought. It's cleverly done. Anderson beats the reader over the head with a devolved and annoying language (the people are so dumbed-down that the hit show is called Oh! Wow! Thing!) It's annoying to read but that's the point. Simultaneously, he buries observations about what's happening to the larger world. And his burial of these details mimics the mindset of the characters, who are so entrenched in their immediate but monotonous consumer-based lives that they have no clue what has happened to humanity and Earth. They don't even realize that they could have a clue.
It can be hard to read the book. The plot isn't the most compelling mainly because few of the characters are (but again, that's the point); the cleverness of the book lies in how the story is told. It's a prolonged example of form-following-function. Even the chapters are just tiny little chunks: one doesn't have to concentrate on any single plot development for long, just like on the internet.
It wasn't a page-turner for me, and I usually give 5 stars to books that suck me in as well as make me think, at least just a little. But I keep thinking of things I didn't like about the book and then realizing that the author really couldn't have written it any other way and still maintain the effect. I hope the fact that I didn't enjoy it terribly was part of the point.
Well gotta go shuffling through this website's recommendations of other books similar to it that I might like. That's like, brag.
This was another book I had to read for my Writing for Young Adult course this semester.
I don't know where to start with this book. The ideas were fantastic, but the writing was really strange and I couldn't really get into it. The concept of the feed is that it is installed in your brain as a child and it essentially feeds you adverts, online shopping, tv shows, and games 24 hours a day seven days a week, and all in front of your eyes. It is not only a great comment on youth culture and materialism, but it shows the gradual progression to humans becoming dependent on corporations and value is placed on our lives depending on whether we are considered a profitable investment.
I don't know when they first had feeds. Like Maybe, fifty or a hundred years ago. Before that, they had to use their hands and their eyes. Computers were all outside the body. they carried them around outside of them, in their hands, like if you carried your lungs in a briefcase and opened it to breathe.
Little emphasis is placed on the wider wold, but it appears to be a world that is quickly dying. Everyone seems to have a lesion on their body (which become quite fashionable after the celebrities appear with one), begin losing their skin and hair towards the end, live above the clouds in bubbles that regulate the weather, and to even get close to the ocean you need to wear a radioactive suit. But I guess this wasn't the point of the book though.
On a trip to the moon Titus meets Violet, who has come alone wanting to having a normal adolescent experience, and Titus, thinking that she is pretty, decides to take her along with his friends. While at a club they are confronted by a man who takes over their feeds, and they are all detained in a hospital so it can be determined whether their feeds have been corrupted. They are soon released and return home, with titus continuing to see Violet, but things become complicated when Violet finds out that her feed is malfunctioning, and slowly killing her. Titus is caught between wanting to continue with his innocent, yet ignorant, life, and spending time with Violet, the little that she has left.
As a character, Titus was a jerk. Flat out wanker. The way he treated Violet towards the end was no short of despicable, and he can apologise all he wants, but she is the one lying in a bed not being able to move while her brain is slowly dying bit by bit. I don't feel like he grew at all during the book, and will likely go back to being the same mainstream guy. Maybe it's because I'm an adult that I find his behaviour despicable, and as an adolescent you don't want to think about being with someone forever and one day dying. Still, it was happening to her, and the least he could have done is not been so fucking selfish.
The writing was filled with a lot of 'dudes,' 'mega,' and calling each other 'unit.' It was very simple and easy to read, but I just didn't like the way it flowed. At about half way I was starting to get really irritated by it. I don't mind it in speech, but in the narrative as well, not so much. Just because people talk with a lot of 'likes' doesn't mean the exposition has to be full of them as well. So while this very character based story did have its interesting moments, there was a lot left to be desired from my perspective in terms of world building, and the way the story was told.
It's the future, the internet is beamed directly into your head, people live in domes because the air and water outside is so polluted, people are getting lesions on their skin and their hair is falling out, and all anyone thinks about is amusing their jaded selves and buying stuff. But don't bother visiting the moon, 'cause it's totally lame.
The one exception is Violet, but she was homeschooled, so she's pretty weird. But Titus kind of likes her anyway. Too bad her feed got so fried.
Anderson captures the banality of teenage life, and the contrast between that and the horrors of their world, and the implacable disintegration of the one character who seemed to really be a thoughtful aware person, was just devastating. I can see this world just over the horizon, and it scares me.
This book is especially good in the audio version, where you can experience that internet feed for yourself.
"The Feed" is an internet connection implanted in your brain. So there is no need for computers or phones, you have everything right there in your mind. No need to learn. explore. create. think critically. It is all done for you. This concept of society becoming lazy and stupid and killing the planets we have colonised is an interesting one, and when this book was written in 2002, would have been a little more unique than it is today. Unfortunately there is no real plot within that concept. There is an ever so small love story between two uninteresting main characters, but I was more interested in learning more about the world and what was happening rather than in Titus' boring internal monologue.
The audiobook was well done as you get to experience "The Feed". As you listen to Titus' thoughts ads pop up to try and sell you on what he was just thinking about, or music that matches the thoughts. That part is very well done. I guess I just ultimately wanted a bit more.