‘Feed’ was born from the the era of internet and social networking and tied closer to our modern capitalist world where corporation thrive in this consumer utopia. Set in a world which carry the undefined line between utopia/dystopia as Huxley’s Brave New World, Feed was driven by the two star-crossed love whose life were entangled in the prophetic mess of what it would be in a world where it was an advertising utopia without the shackles of human ethics and social responsibility.
I couldn’t deny that this book carry similar prerogative to what Suzanne Collins did with The Hunger Games where she uses Reality TV mania that center around moral decay and human desensitization. Curiously enough this book is published almost eleven years ago, earlier than Collin’s work but are still relevant today and curiously prophetic in the same way as some older scifi literature did to this day.
The story centered around the character Titus and his fateful meeting with the curious beautiful smart girl, Violet, on the moon and the events following their meetings which soon drew these two away from each other. Despite romance being one of the focus of the story, the book largely play up on the possibility of what will happen if instead of physical computers, we were embedded by brain computer implant which send feeds from by just thinking.
Imagine writing this reviews by using the mind. Checking up on other reviews. Chatting and PM-ing without even speaking. Listening to the music without earphones or watching viral videos right in front of the eye or tweeting without lifting a finger. Not to mention how some of this can be achieved by using Google glass.
It is also a world where everyone was driven by consumerism. How your own taste shape how limitless advertising can be. How you are still being bombarded by sale offers, fashion advices, musical recommendation and urges to follow the trend to look cool. (Again, another notable search engine came into mind) This is a utopia for students where School was bought by corporations and trademarked and the only thing they teach to you was how to get good jobs and how to get good bargains. Why can’t they when they have feeds to give the informations just by seeking it.
However, this have its own direct consequences too. How language and communication differs and everyone including the adults speaking like their own version of ‘Nadsat’. How the service industry are driven to sell you products and despite how awful something can be the customer service can expertly manipulate you into the betterment of the company. How those who have in power can use and dispose you as they like, merely because your usefulness as a direct consumer are diminished. Why not? Most of these privileged folks are genetically altered in one way or another. Even some of the characters themselves use excessive body modifications to stay within the cool circle.
Again, this book is surprisingly deep as you go on through after you tolerate the character’s speech pattern. Soon I was engrossed by the character development as well as the world building. Initially, I do think Violet is a classic garden variety ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ in the beginning. How could it not be, its narrated by a boy who found himself falling for a very ‘weird’ intelligent girl. Luckily for me, the dream girl evolved to become your average girl who struggle to fit in the world that the main character lives in. Then things began to get even more interesting.
I was quite surprised that the author included something that was called “Filet Mignon Farm”. I have spent a year being a neighbour to the next door stem cell department and I seriously noted the grim application stem cells can become if commercialized. Not to mention how its prone to get contaminated but considering the application of stem cells for human consumption is getting even more realized now than ever, the novel does give an insight about what will happen if intense commercialization was in favor over the well-being of the planet earth to feed the human culture and keep everyone in a state of leisure and secluded from becoming a functioning being. Its like being subdued and in shackles even when the rest are dying.
If everyone write literary YA fiction like M.T. Anderson does, I would gobble up the genre and puking out endorsements. It was rare for this to happen to me but the book is riddled with depth that made it a worthy award winning book as it is.
However, I don’t really think the book is a suitable read for those who are easily emotionally invested by the harsh criticism that the author drew as his inspiration. Why wouldn’t one be? We’re all addicted to internet by now. Our social circles are more likely to have noses to smartphone screens than they are with each other. How communication differs now with our technology. The whole point of the satire rung significant to this social networking era.
As far as speculative fiction goes, this version of future are more realistic than Brave New World itself. Read it and weep.