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Feed Paperback – February 23, 2004
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This brilliantly ironic satire is set in a future world where television and computers are connected directly into people's brains when they are babies. The result is a chillingly recognizable consumer society where empty-headed kids are driven by fashion and shopping and the avid pursuit of silly entertainment--even on trips to Mars and the moon--and by constant customized murmurs in their brains of encouragement to buy, buy, buy.
Anderson gives us this world through the voice of a boy who, like everyone around him, is almost completely inarticulate, whose vocabulary, in a dead-on parody of the worst teenspeak, depends heavily on three words: "like," "thing," and the second most common English obscenity. He's even made this vapid kid a bit sympathetic, as a product of his society who dimly knows something is missing in his head. The details are bitterly funny--the idiotic but wildly popular sitcom called "Oh? Wow! Thing!", the girls who have to retire to the ladies room a couple of times an evening because hairstyles have changed, the hideous lesions on everyone that are not only accepted, but turned into a fashion statement. And the ultimate awfulness is that when we finally meet the boy's parents, they are just as inarticulate and empty-headed as he is, and their solution to their son's problem is to buy him an expensive car.
Although there is a danger that at first teens may see the idea of brain-computers as cool, ultimately they will recognize this as a fascinating novel that says something important about their world. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In this chilling novel, Anderson (Burger Wuss; Thirsty) imagines a society dominated by the feed a next-generation Internet/television hybrid that is directly hardwired into the brain. Teen narrator Titus never questions his world, in which parents select their babies' attributes in the conceptionarium, corporations dominate the information stream, and kids learn to employ the feed more efficiently in School. But everything changes when he and his pals travel to the moon for spring break. There Titus meets home-schooled Violet, who thinks for herself, searches out news and asserts that "Everything we've grown up with the stories on the feed, the games, all of that it's all streamlining our personalities so we're easier to sell to." Without exposition, Anderson deftly combines elements of today's teen scene, including parties and shopping malls, with imaginative and disturbing fantasy twists. "Chats" flow privately from mind to mind; Titus flies an "upcar"; people go "mal" (short for "malfunctioning") in contraband sites that intoxicate by scrambling the feed; and, after Titus and his friends develop lesions, banner ads and sit-coms dub the lesions the newest hot trend, causing one friend to commission a fake one and another to outdo her by getting cuts all over her body. Excerpts from the feed at the close of each chapter demonstrate the blinding barrage of entertainment and temptations for conspicuous consumption. Titus proves a believably flawed hero, and ultimately the novel's greatest strength lies in his denial of and uncomfortable awakening to the truth. This satire offers a thought-provoking and scathing indictment that may prod readers to examine the more sinister possibilities of corporate- and media-dominated culture. Ages 14-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Anderson does clever things with language, inventing believable slang, for instance, in the way Scott Westerfield does in the Pretties series. My favorite is how he refers to education, which has been privatized and is now run by for-profit corporations. The main character talks of going to School, always capitalized and followed by a trademark symbol.
I was disappointed as I drew near the end and the plot began to feel too similar to several other YA novels. Still this book has many original bits to recommend it.
It it a beautiful insider look on the lives and relationships of characters while the society around them is crumbling. It perfectly describes how technology and capitalism have impacted and will continue to impact our society. I love how it focuses on the characters and how the technology of their time is such a big part of their lives.
I would absolutely recommend this book to dystopian fans.
Set in a future America where citizens decide when the sun will rise and set in their self-contained suburbs, teenagers vacation on the moon, and no one exists unless a marketing conglomerate can construct a profile of you based on your online activity (especially your shopping habits), Feed tells the story of Titus and Violet, two adolescents who meet while vacationing on the moon. While there, their feeds (in this future America, you see, nearly everyone is hard-wired to the Internet via an implanted feed) are hacked by a cyber-vigilante. Although Titus and most of his friends recover from the cyberattack, Violet—whose feed was implanted when she was at an advanced age and whose parents had to settle for a low-budget feed—suffers more grave consequences.
Although the neologistic slang that Anderson invents for his characters takes a bit of time to master, his satire of our contemporary obsession with staying “cyber-connected” at the expense of genuine human connection is bitingly clear throughout the narrative. One could criticize the literary merits of this work by pointing out that the minor characters are not very well developed and that the plot shifts its focus about two-thirds of the way into the novel from satire to melancholy and tragic romance, but the argument might also be made that these features of the novel occur by design to emphasize the dehumanizing effects of all-pervasive technology.
An overall quick read, Feed provides much fodder for the conversation about the relative benefits and drawbacks of technology that seems to develop at an increasingly exponential pace.
Most recent customer reviews
Feed portrays the near future world North Americans are currently barreling...Read more