Feed by M.T. Anderson
If you found the Hunger Games and Divergent far-fetched (and they are), Feed shows a dystopian novel that seems possible. In Feed, everyone is hooked up to a network that tracks their interests and purchases. It also allows them to chat and keep tabs on trends and memes. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? The only difference from our current internet hookups (be it smartphone, tablet, or PC) is that this “feed” is hardwired directly into people’s brains. Talk about data mining.
The world of Feed is a logical extension of what’s already happening with smartphones tracking your every keystroke and transforming it in to data to be sold to marketers (or given to a spy agency.) Sure, the part about hooking into your cerebral cortex is a bit over the top. But that’s what really good dystopian fiction does, it takes something that’s already present and pushes it to the extreme.
At the start of the novel, Titus and a group of friends are going to the moon to party. And the guys are being. . . well pretty typical dumb teenage guys. Titus is trying to have fun even though he’s actually bored until he sees a girl who is different than anyone he’s met before. Violet hasn’t had the feed as long, and she’s a resister to the current system in some ways. Then, the group’s feed is hacked, and they are disconnected from the feed for a while, and then Violet’s feed starts to malfunction.
My biggest criticism of Feed is that the story between Titus and Violet is a bit simple even predictable, and I left the book feeling that a chance a true greatness had been missed. Still, I highly recommend Feed. I would read this novel for Anderson’s imagined world alone. The premise is fantastic and disturbing, and it’s incredible that he thought of it about ten years ago—and yet it’s still relevant and very disturbing today, perhaps even more so.