Feed represents the mind-bending sci fi. It tells of a future where nearly everybody has a direct link installed into their brain at birth. This “feed” links them to something like the World Wide Web, only more.
People are constantly fed sitcoms, commercials, and facts that one might otherwise have to remember for a test. Walking through a mall (or anywhere things are for sale) people are “bannered” by the different products, sometimes to the point where they can’t even talk to the real people around them.
The result of all this instant knowledge is that the teens in this story have lost much of their ability or desire to think for themselves. They’re too busy trying desperately to have all the fun that the feed keeps telling them is out there.
Titus and his friends head for the moon for spring break and end up at a party. They chat among themselves, relying heavily on phrases such as, “I was going like,…”, “I’m so null,” “He was like,…”, and a few choice words well-known to teens today.
They can also instant message each other without moving a finger, no cell phones required. So, they have private chats in the middle of public conversations, talking behind each other’s backs right there in front of their faces!
In the midst of the party, the girls are notified via their feed that hairstyles have changed, so they head off to the bathroom for an update. One cannot be left behind by fashion!
In fact, the skin lesions everyone is developing are turning into fashion statements, too. The more you have the more stylish you are, so people fake extra lesions in the name of beauty.
Titus, however, is not finding everything to be as much “goldy and sparkling” fun as billed by all the commercials coming through his feed. Maybe that’s why he’s intrigued by a girl he meets at the party who’s not like everybody else. A girl who doesn’t (maybe can’t) let the feed take total control of her mind.
Titus’s relationship with this girl forces him to face some realities about the feed and the risks it entails. But it’s a lot for one guy to wrap his electronically-bombarded head around.
Feed presents a future amazingly close to our own present. Scientists are right now able to put implants into the brain of a patient with a missing arm, allowing her to control her prosthetic arm with thoughts. That’s cool! A person can be made wholly functional again.
Other scientists have put probes into a rat’s brain, enabling anybody with the controller to tell the rat which way to go. That’s scary. A living thing can be made into a robot.
In Feed, M.T. Anderson has given us a satirical world in which to explore where we might be headed. By thinking ahead (and remembering to think always) maybe we can progress to a better world than the one Anderson has shown us. I think we can.
Feed is suggested for ages 14 and older.
Happy reading!! And happy thinking!