Monday, September 18, 2006


I just finished the most fantastically written and thought-provoking book I have read in a long while.

Feed by M.T. Anderson

First of all, I love dystopian/utopian fiction. The “feed” is the internet, world wide web, in your head. All the time. Banner ads flashing when something happens to you. Specific market targeting. The kids don’t even read any more because they have the feed give them everything straight into their brains. Everything is digested for them, and all that people really strive for is the pleasure. Even trips to the moon or Mars is only just okay, as if everything is boring, as we adults see the kids think stuff is boring nowadays.

The author did a tremendous job of making this book sound like a teenager from the near future. New slang terms and whole paragraph-long run-on sentences make the narrator seem like the average kid that we teach in high school, where instant message spellings and instant thoughts seem the norm. Even my writing this has just been supremely influenced by this book. The English grammarian in me was fascinated by how the book was written, sentence by sentence, new term by term. I kept thinking how Hemingway might perceive this writing.

This book will go right up there with some of my favorites now, like 1984, Brave New World, The Giver. This book updates all those concepts into the 21st century. Incorporating the internet in your head in this way is a phenomenal piece of science fiction that just feels too near to us.

"Keep thinking. You can hear our brains rattling inside us, like the littler Russian dolls."

That line above speaks volumes, not just about the theme of the book, but about the theme of life in the 21st century.

I learned a lot reading this novel. It sparked me.


Yossarian said...

It really is an amazing book.. It's one the texts I'm using for my university essay on online/offline behaviour :)

Thanks also for putting this quote up! I couldn't find it in the book, so I typed in an approximation into Google, and found your blog.

Before [the feed], they had to use their hands and eyes. Computers were all outside the body. They carried them around outside of them, in their hands, like if you carried your lungs in a briefcase and opened it to breathe’


Katie x

Matt Butcher said...

I agree. It was recommended to me by a teacher in Nome and I absolutely fell in love with it. I'm glad the post was useful to you!