16 February 2009

Feed; M. T. Anderson

Quick read. Made me very depressed. It's sort of a 1984/BNW for young adults (although, we all read those as young adults, so the genre label is a little unfair). Many of the scenes are as bleak as those two anti-futures, with a more relevant, timely grimness. The future is defined by a combination of corporations taking over American schooling ('cause state-supported education is so Nazi) and the near ubiquity of brain implants providing internal internet, chat, entertainment, and pushed, personalized advertisements. Once knowledge is always available and without effort, learning is abandoned. There are many scenes where the female protagonist wonders why culture appears shallow and moronic only to her. This attitude doesn't need to be set in the future to ring so true.

To me, the technological possibilities--even when presented as such a destructive force--were fascinating. Late in the novel our heroine marvels sadly that, when she doesn't try to hide her preferences, the corporations' product-recommendation algorithms actually did work better than her own choices. Something we think we want can give us what we want and yet still be destructive.

I liked the Uglies series better but only because it wasn't nearly as depressing.

Feed; M. T. Anderson
[ posted by sstrader on 16 February 2009 at 10:45:14 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | tagged ya fiction ]