Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Feed by M.T. Anderson
This futuristic young adult novel takes place in a world where anyone who nowadays would have an Internet connection at home essentially has it in their brains instead--this is called the feed. They can IM each other without talking, can look up any information they want, can share memories, and they stream ads pretty much continuously. They also have flying cars and party on the Moon and stuff like that, but the key to the novel is the feed. So introducing the feed to readers is not too hard and establishing its cool futuristic factor is not too hard. But what's interesting is Anderson chooses to have the feed malfunction for the narrator early in the novel and then come back. And that way the true value of the feed (and obvious negatives of the feed) are made very clear to readers. And so when the feed is at stake for another character, we get it... Most writers I think would have just established this cool (and horrifying) thing and then put it at risk. But Anderson establishes it, takes it away, gives it back, and then puts it at risk... kind of like the Turkish proverb that says if God wants you to appreciate soemthing he first takes it away and then gives it back to you. Philosophically sound and a good plot device.