Author: M.T. Anderson
Release Date: February 3, 2004
Publisher: Candlewick Press
+Add to Goodreads
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.
One of the intriguing things about this novel is that the concept is something that is very close to our own future. Google glass for example, lets us view our calls and take photos and videos without a smartphone needed. All that is needed is our voice commands and eyes to see. Considering the context of this, and the early reviews of the beta, I was super excited to read Feed and see M.T Anderson's take on a technologically and capitalist obsessed future.
Another interesting note is that this was published in 2004, when social media did not have the presence and power it does now. The most 2004 had was mass texting and Livejournal.
So the fact that M.T Anderson pretty much predicted the baby steps of where technology is going in the future is an amazing feat in itself and the concept is something that will eventually happen in some form or another.
Despite the amazing concept and set up of this novel, the execution and story fell flat. It's true that Anderson wrote this as a satire of American consumerism but at the same time, dystopia is in a way, an extension of that same idea in itself. Dystopia is written to tell society or a specific part of society that if we continue to run things the way we do, it will lead to [scenario here] and all hell will break loose. I feel like Anderson chose his set up but didn't think too much about anything else than the feed set up and the plot is pointless. No one changes in this book. Titus is the same person when we meet him at the beginning and the same when we leave him at the end. The only difference is that we get to know him better and see that he is a selfish, deplorable character who is the very thing he fears he is. An idiot. (view spoiler) I thought about it in the context of the novel that maybe Titus was supposed to be as deplorable as he turned out being to make a point but the message never appeared. It felt like a joke with no punch line.
Violet came out as someone who wanted to bring to light the things that were happening in the world around her but at the same, just wanted to belong and yet couldn't do it.
Although the language is realistic with its run on sentences and likes scattered everywhere, it felt lazy that it was the only slang that these characters used. There were other made up words that were used such as
Brag= something amazing, extraordinary, to be bragged out
BUT it felt like a first layer in something that could have been much more extensive. Scott Westerfeld did the slang amazingly well in his Uglies series, especially with Pretties which most of the main cast were brain dead dumb.
In the end of it all, I was just disappointed. I definitely understood its satirical point but it felt like a witty joke that was stretched out to 300 pages. I understood the observation and point of consumerism being an all over presence in our society but Anderson missed the point in satire. It not only makes fun of the ridiculousness in one (or all aspects of society) but makes a POINT. I saw the point in his novel but it wasn't driven home as the message. It didn't have the bang I expected, just a faint thud that barely came together at the end.
What did you think of M.T. Anderson's Feed?