Friday, August 29, 2008

dystopia from the inside

Feed by M.T. Anderson
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Genre: science fiction, YA
Review: Rather than focusing on the political aspects of a dystopia, Anderson focuses on the cultural aspects. Almost everyone has an implanted "feed" from a very young age which gives them access to unlimited information, but also seems to allow corporations unlimited access to the individual. Everyone is constantly bombarded with offers and news of sales from corporations. This has the somewhat predictable result of dumbing down the population, to the point where all they care about are stupid shows on the feed, and shopping. But wait, that sounds kind of familiar.

There are other repercussions of the feed. People seem to be developing lesions, which continue unexplained throughout the book. By the end of the book, they have become fashion statements, with people who don't have them getting them surgically implanted. But where they come from, and why, is never explained.

Also never explained is the meaning behind the attack that is described at the beginning of the book, causing several characters' feeds to malfunction. Why was the attack carried out? Did it represent some larger faction of society that was disenchanted with the feeds?

Typically, I think, dystopic novels focus on the dissenters or malcontents. Having read this book, which touches on those who rebel only slightly, I can see why that trend developed. Quite frankly, reading about people who buy into the system is just not as interesting. Still, this was a good read, with an interesting premise.

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