With FEED, the answer is "yes." And it scares the fucking hell out of me.
In Titus' world, everyone (read: everyone who can afford it) has their brain wired to the Internet (called the Feed). They are bombarded with advertisements every day and they have no need to actually learn anything since they can just look it up.
Do you have friends who constantly text or play with their iPhone while talking to you? Now imagine that that's your entire generation, including you. Imagine a generation of chronically bored teenagers who go to the moon, not because they want to see the moon, but because they have nothing better to do. Imagine teenagers who use "da da da" (blah, blah, blah) as part of their everyday mental vocabulary because they lack the attention span for a real conversation. Imagine teenagers who have all but no notion that there is a world around them. That is the generation that M.T. Anderson paints.
This book is both satire and tragedy. And it hits so close to home. It reminds me of my friends in college who spent basically all of their waking hours in front of the internet. It reminds me of my niece and nephew, who would rather play chess on the iPad than on a real gameboard. It reminds me of the children I baby-sit--their parents specifically want me there to make sure that the kids don't spend all their after-school hours in front of a TV or computer. It reminds me of my brother and sister-in-law in San Francisco, who won't let their kids anywhere near technology because this is exactly what they want to prevent.
Titus is a victim of all this, and this is exactly what makes this book great. He isn't a hero or revolutionary. He's a first-hand look at how fucked up everything is. He's a teenager who doesn't know how to question things. When he says he feels stupid, it's because he IS ignorant. He doesn't think about how the world is going to hell, even when evidence of this is thrown in his face. And when serious problems like death loom in front of him, his response is to run away, because he has no fucking clue how to deal with anything of that magnitude.
Also, has anyone but me noticed how the lesions make people look like zombies? Coincidence? I don't think so.
-- A brief morsel of meta-analysis from Feed by M.T. Anderson
The question was posed last week,"What is your favorite dystopian novel?". Well, this is my response:
In Feed, Mr. Anderson styles a voice so profound, so unique, so funny and haunting that by the time the last page is turned, the reader has experienced such a rich and complex journey that only the most compelling, thought-shaping and deeply affecting novel can provide. As the author presents this story in a futuristic, plastic world shaped by the ever-strong threads of consumerism that is, in many ways, allegorical, allusions of T.S. Elliot and George Orwell seem to reveal themselves more apparent. The warnings in Mr. Anderson's tale are all too relevant and the astutely conceived consequences are simply horrific. Also, while the environment ruled by over-consumption, foolishness and idiocy mirrors much of the foundations of our own current environment, Feed frames a genuine love story that is, altogether, lovely, heart-breaking, extraordinary and devastating.
M.T. Anderson is an incredibly interesting author and a personal favorite. He has written several books that may be labeled as necessary and important, but none more than the amazing Feed. You must read it, because, "The only thing worse than the thought it may all come tumbling down is the thought that we may go on like this forever".
This book by M.T. Anderson was an interesting story with a deeper message. The concept was what the world and its inhabitants could potentially become people who rely on information that "feeds" into their heads and not worry about the effects, or who is listening in. The language is very strong but gives the tone a more realistic feel as though it truly is a teenager telling the story and not an older man. I feel that the ending was a little sour and I wish that the book could've been longer. At the same time though, perhaps the sour ending helped the overall theme and morale of the book become stronger. A good and short read for pre-teens and teenagers.
I read this book as the first in what I intended to be a "best of
sci-fi summer," and though I don't know if I will stick to that, this
was a good first book. It is interesting in its use of language, which
is not dumbed-down per se, but is simplified to the logical conclusion,
full of all those trendy little shortenings of words that keep
bastardizing language until it conveys nothing (there is a quote in
there somewhere, I think from Jane Austen or Margaret Atwood -- I know,
how different could they be -- about the point of language being to
obfuscate, not convey, but that is beside the point). This book is all
bout consumerism taken to extremes, and the lives that creates. The
book lulls you with the language and the fast pace, and then Anderson
drops these little jems in your lap that make you stop and really
think, which is admirable in any book let alone a YA. Really well done
and accessible once you get the language down, and worth it if only for
the conversations it will provoke. And because I am a quote-freak, here
is one of the shorter ones I loved from this book:
"The only thing worse than the thought it may all come tumbling down is the thought that we may go on like this forever."
The "feed" is a constant stream of text messages, advertisements, news, and entertainment plugged directly into the brain of every American. Titus and his friends just accept the feed as a way of life, but then he meets Violet who did not get the feed until later in life. She tries to come up with ways to trick the feed or avoid its messages. This has tragic consequences. In the background of the story is a vague idea of the collapse of society--rumors of war, mysterious skin lesions--but the feed keeps everyone self-centered enough that they only care about their own lives and their own feed. Excellent dystopian novel for mature teens.
Titus and his friends are typical middle class teens sometime in the far future. They go to School (TM) which is owned by the big corporations. But mostly they listen to their feed, a smart Internet connection directly connected into their brains. The feed knows what they like, it knows what they want and it knows the coolest thing of the moment. The feed markets products to them constantly and also allows them to have private chats with anyone else any time. Then one night Titus meets Violet, a girl a little off the grid. She didn't get a feed until she was 7 and mistrusts the marketing. Amusingly, her father is a professor of dead languages, like Fortran and Basic. Then one night a hacker protester infects their feeds and they learn
something about life without the feed.
This book reminded me a lot of Fahrenheit 451, where a guy who totally buys into the system meets a girl who doesn't and it changes his life. However there's no burning of books in this book. It's more about how the constant chase of what's cool can cover up deeper problems in a society.
Much of the book is in a future teen jargon, but it's easy to figure out once you get used to it. I like books about alternate societies so I enjoyed this book, but I think it could have had a little more to say. The language is lovely, also like Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451
I'm not a huge Sci-Fi fan, but I really enjoyed this book. The book's voice is really interesting, M.T. Anderson created an entire slang language for the future that is both really different and totally believable. There were two things about the book that I thought were really notable. First, it's really cool to watch the character grow as a person over the course of the book. Secondly, this book definitely has some strong social commentary about advertising and consumer culture, and it definitely made me think. I think that pretty much everyone would enjoy this book and find it really thought provoking.
This book is about a boy whos thoughts and abilitys are mostly controled by a computer in the brain but one day he meets a girl who challenges for him to think about the world ouside of his own. This book inspires for young readers to question and challenge the things that hold their abillitys back.
This is by far my favorite book. It's a bit hard to understand at first witht eh new lingo and the whoel concept but reading ti again only makes things better. The basic story si about a future society in which people have left behind the need for manual computers and tvs and have a small device implanted in their brains that act as their computer, intelligence and source of commerical advertising. Int his world few people dare to challenge the feed and Titus is one of those people who is like the rest fo the masses until... he meets vioket. Who although suffering because you'll find out why doesn't want to give into commercialism and the FEED!
This story escapes reality in a very weird, but credible way. This is a world of consumerism. The author knows this and uses this as the backdrop of the story. It was very entertaining in parts even though the story was a little confusing and weird. It was good, but it doesn't beat 1984, which I think is the best book on a futuristic society that is credible today as it was sixty years ago.