Titus and his friends live on and for the Feed, a computer in their brains that from birth feeds them information and connects them to everyone, everything, and nothing. They can chat with their brains, watch video, look up any fact or figure in an instant, malfunction their brains for fun, and be fed ads tailored to their very thoughts. So why then are they all so bored? Why does Titus feel so mal when he should feel meg? Who is this Violet chick coming off like she’s all brag and everyone else is so null? And then when they all get hacked and Titus can’t access his feed for actual whole DAYS, what will he do? When he actual has for real feelings for Violet what will he do with them? What will he buy next?
This is a viscously dark satire of the extremes of consumer culture and the vapidity of modern communication. It’s a dystopia as chilling and relevant as anything by George Orwell or Aldous Huxley. And it isn’t just a technophobic screed about “Those Darn Kids With Their Texting and the Whatnot” either. Adult society is also skewered well and full. The world of Feed is one where the planet is polluted beyond repair, war is ever-present and completely ignored, and mass violence is just another software glitch. What makes this world so frightening is how little any of the characters in it care about anything that isn’t Fun and on the Feed. Things like peoples skin falling off is just an everyday occurrence and they just buy more stuff to ignore it. Anderson shows a lot of the dark sides of a consumer culture. There always has to be more stuff to buy to keep the machines of industry going, and when what we buy becomes who we are then a world like Feed becomes possible.
However, the characters aren’t all mindless drones to serve a big message for the author. Anderson makes the major characters feel very real with believable limitations and drives, this makes the world he creates more real and more terrifying. I also love that the character of Violet isn’t just there to Wake People Up and there isn’t a global conspiracy to unmask and no one successfully fights the feed and starts a global movement. Violet’s just a girl that wants more out of life, but she has flaws and just wants to be happy like anybody else. Honestly, I think everyone should give Feed a chance. It’s not always fun, but it’s always darned interesting. It tackles so many big ideas that it can be dizzying, but it never tells you what to think about it. I honestly think that it’s way more relevant than Brave New World or 1984 to most young people today and should definitely be on more High School reading lists. Check it out for yourself.
You can check our catalog for Feed here.