read: 13 February 2003
Sometimes, my librarian friends toss me a young adult novel or two, just to keep me in touch with what kids are reading, or maybe should read. Feed is a dystopian sort of cyber-tale about a possible future where all people [actually all people who can afford it] have “feeds” implanted into their heads at birth. These feeds, which basically resemble customized Internet nodes, fill their heads and minds with marketing and hyperspeak while also allowing them to make quick purchases, chat with other feed-enabled people, and look stuff up. Of course, it’s all run and controlled by corporations and of course this has some terrible downsides. Our protagonist is a likable enough guy who meets a girl who didn’t get her feed until she was seven. She is poor, sort of, and speaks a somewhat weird English. As the story progresses, you realize that the feed is literally dumbing people down and making people into even more passive and happy consumers than they aready are. The girl reacts against that and makes a lot of enemies in the process, among the cool kid teens. It doesn’t all turn out okay in the end and the book is a little “message heavy” but very readable and Anderson has managed to write a book about complex teen issues without seeming like he’s prostelytizing or preaching. All the teens have something redeeming and they are all in some ways flawed.
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