M.T. Anderson, “Feed”

In the not-so-distant future, everybody’s hooked up to the feed—like internet 4.0 incorporated directly into your brain and navigated with your thoughts. Everything’s possible: anything you dream of can be delivered to your house within minutes, trips to the moon are commonplace, mind-to-mind chatting replaces direct conversation. A teenage boy starts to question America’s instant culture after meeting a girl who doesn’t buy into the consumerism.

Published: 2004, 300 pp.
Obtained via: Pat
Date started: 11.26.08
Date finished: 11.30.08
What I didn’t like: My main issue with this book was the protagonist, a douchebaggy teenage boy. I was dying to know more about the life of his romantic interest and her father, who teaches ancient languages (like Basic and proper English).
What I liked: I do appreciate that Anderson did a slightly different take on the dystopian novel. Most of them focus on an outsider or someone who becomes disenchanted with the system. They fight the system and get crushed, the end. The protagonist in “Feed” completely buys in.
And although I dislike the main character, the story imprinted itself in my brain—I’ve thought about it very frequently since reading it. Although it’s set in the future, it captures the Zeitgeist in a way I haven’t encountered in novels recently. It plays on our concerns about the environment, consumerism and the effects of the internet and instant communication on our intelligence and empathy.
What I learned: Apparently this book made a lot of best-of lists… and although I wasn’t initially impressed, “Feed”‘s staying power is remarkable.

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