Have you read: What if your brain were wired to the Internet?
June 11, 2007
“Feed” by M.T. Anderson
Almost everyone you can think of knows what the Internet is, and of those people almost all of them use it in their daily lives. Information on almost every topic imaginable is readily available and one can order anything from clothes to music and even groceries. People can spend hours a day online, and it seems that young people do the most surfing of us all. Almost anything you want is right at the tip of your fingers if you wish to find it, but what if it was even closer then that?
Titus is your average 23rd century teenager. He goes to Schoolô with his friends and hangs out at the mall whenever he can. He lives in a nicer neighborhood, suspended above the not-so-nice neighborhoods and slums. And he is always connected to the feed.
The feed is a lot like the Internet. It can tell you anything you want to know about any topic, you can have goods ordered and delivered to your home. But there is one key difference; you can’t turn it off. The feed is a chip implanted in the brain, in most cases installed shortly after conception and wired to the whole of the brain. One no longer needs to whisper to have a private conversation; all you need to do is chat over the feed. You have no need for cameras to record fun things you’ve done, as memories are recorded and stored on the feed and can be shared with anyone you wish. In fact, anything you see, hear, taste or even think about can trigger links on the feed for other things that might interest you.
When Titus and his friends plan a trip to the Moon for spring break it sounds like a blast. Upon arrival however, everything changes. The moon is not that cool, and being underage there is not much to do. But then Titus meets Violet, a beautiful girl who ends up challenging everything he thinks is normal. It all starts with an attack on the group of kids at a dance club where a man with a strange device cuts them all off from the feed. They all come to in a hospital and the feeds are soon reconnected with no lasting effects. Except for Violet. There is something very wrong with her feed.
I had no ideas what I was getting into with this book. It was almost hard to read because it is from the perspective of a teenager and is almost always written as if he were speaking right to you. It’s full of slang words that aren’t used in the English language we speak today. Going mal, for instance, means downloading a program that smears your vision, screws up your equilibrium and produces a sense of euphoria, it’s the feed equivalent to getting high.
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This book does, however, paint a vivid picture of a civilization so consumed with what the new hair styles are or what band is hot right now that they don’t notice the lack of good air or the lesions that appear on the body even though no injury has occurred; a society so distracted that when whole neighborhoods collapse on the ground level almost no one notices. This book is surprisingly deep at points with a real message that is slipped in. By the time I finished this book I couldn’t wait to get home and sever the feed.
– Samuel McCauley is a sales associate at Neighbors Bookstore.