Monday, 12 May 2014

Feed by M. T. Anderson (3/5)

First published: 2002
Page count: 320

The back says: “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”

Titus doesn’t think much of the moon. But then Titus doesn’t think much period. He’s got his “feed” – an internet implant linked directly into his brain – to do his thinking for him.

Then Titus meets Violet, a girl who cares what’s happening to the world, and challenges everything Titus and his friends hold dear. A girl who decides to fight the feed...

I say: I liked the premise of this novel far more than the novel itself, and the main reason was that I found the execution extremely lacking in most areas. The first, and main, issue was the language. I suppose that Titus and his friends are around 16 since they can drive, but are not old enough to drink, and their immaturity was grating. Every other word was ‘like’ coupled with slang that Anderson had invented that felt contrived and lacklustre. They were all spoiled brats who were only interested in the latest fads, partying and getting high.

I was simply too old for this.

On the moon they meet Violet and [potential half-spoilers, highlight to read] they take her with them to a club where they wind up being hacked by some old man. The result of the hack is that they wind up in the hospital with their feeds disconnected so that the authorities can clear it of any viruses. As expected, the quiet of the real world distresses them, and as soon as they get their feed back and return to earth they’re back to their old tricks.

All except Violet.

What I liked about this was the way the feed was presented as an integral part of Titus’ and his friends lives. They had it installed from birth and it was literally having the internet in your head, allowing you to order anything you wanted but also with annoying pop-ups that changed based on what there was to offer in your current location. The feed would also make a profile of your purchases, habits, and emotions in order to market certain things to you. The way that Anderson was trying to convey this was by interrupting the narrative with fragments of news and commercials. I kind of liked this, but it was so transparent what the message was it annoyed me.

Another thing that annoyed me was the descriptions of the city; they made little sense and it felt like all the emphasis had been placed on the feed that the surroundings didn’t matter. I do understand that we are inside Titus’ head and he may not acknowledge the surroundings since he is used to them, but no, I still find this world to be completely implausible and that ruined it for me.

So yeah, 3/5 because it was a quick enough read, but could have been so much better.

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