Is it really necessary to keep every possible line of communication open? Many believe so and eagerly sign up for any new or novel method for keeping in touch with people and information. Search engines and the WWW, email and webcams, lol @ new codes for conversation, text messaging and IMs, MySpace, Facebook, and Eons. Something for every generation, today. I won’t be left behind. I’ve bookmarked, registered, befriended, twittered, pinged, and checked my blog logs. RSS Feeds, trackbacks, pingbacks. Let’s not forgot the pop-ups and ads embedded in email pages. Social networking, consumerism, and information retrieval at its zenith. It’s so del.icio.us.
Creativity, technical genius, and big business join forces to offer a future full of possibilities. Revolution. Evolution. What’s next? Imagine if all those born and those young enough to adapt were given a new way of life. Instant gratification en masse. A strange new world, perhaps, ultimately a brave one. Mathew Tobin Anderson shows us such a world.
Titus and his friends are typical teenagers. They hang together and share good and bad times. The shared adventures are enhanced by a feed, a transmitter in their brain, which allows them to retrieve just about any bit of information and share it instantaneously with one friend or the whole group. Titus and friends head off to the moon to celebrate spring break. They depend on the feed to secure a hotel reservation and help them in almost every other way. The ability to read, write, and think for oneself is sacrificed for the sake of the feed. Ignorance, in this case, is bliss. At a party, Titus spots a beautiful girl. They connect through the feed when suddenly it all goes wrong. Titus, some of his friends, and the beautiful girl, are hacked.
The beautiful girl is Violet, who, unlike most of her contemporaries, received her feed when she was seven. While Titus and his group recover, things don’t go as well for Violent. Her feed is damaged. Titus never questioned the severe dependence on the feed or the things it took away. How can you miss what you never had? Violet knows and attempts to reach out to Titus.
Feed is a novel for young adults, but don’t let that tag get in your way. It’s a compelling story that goes beyond a simple tale of a futuristic society. Feed won a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and was a National Book Award finalist. These are very significant honors. The slang spoken by Titus and his friends had me off to a slow start, but didn’t hold me back for long. The story was so compelling, I couldn’t put the book down.
After the publication of George Orwell’s 1984 there was much trepidation that the predictions in the book would come true. Think about how much of 1984‘s plot is real life today. Frightening? Can we truly dismiss Feed‘s premise, then, as a non-possibility? How many of us send text messages to a friend or colleague who is sitting in the same room? or have kids who check their cell for instant updates from a friend one row over in the same classroom? When we make an online purchase it’s often cross-matched so offers of related products display on screen. How many of us are on the street with a small phone device attached to our ear? Make these connections and soon it’s not much of a stretch.