Finalist for the 2002 National Book Award, Young People's Literature
Honor book for the 2003 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award (Fiction category)
The Barnes & Noble Review
Brave New World takes a romantic teen twist in this disarming, engrossing novel set in a hyper-computerized future.
Spending time partying on the moon and riding around in his "upcar," Titus is an average teen of the future, complete with a computer chip implant -- the "Feed" -- that lets corporate marketers and government agencies broadcast directly into his brain. Then Titus meets Violet, and an anti-Feed hacker shuts down their Feeds for a short time; but when Violet's Feed is seriously damaged, she begins spouting some radical ideas.
M. T. Anderson has predicted the future, and it's startling indeed. Although Titus is a good, well-meaning kid, his blissful ignorance of the control over him leaves readers thinking twice about the destiny of earth's citizens. Beneath the book's techno-veneer, however, lies a romantic tale between a boy who gives into the system and a girl who sees beyond it. All told, Feed is a "meg" remarkable work of science fiction, and once readers begin, they'll be caught up in its powerful grip. Matt Warner
In this chilling novel, Anderson imagines a society dominated by the feed-a next-generation Internet/television hybrid that is directly hardwired into the brain. In a starred review, PW called this a "thought-provoking and scathing indictment of corporate-and media-dominated culture." Ages 14-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 2002: It's spring break, and Titus and his teenage friends are partying on the moon when he spots a beautiful girl. He and Violet are just getting to know each other when a hacker causes their feeds to malfunctionthe chips in their brains that barrage them with ads and direct their thoughts and dreams. Titus recovers, but Violet's feed is damaged; she hasn't always had a feed, and she openly questions the poisoning of the planet, why everyone is developing lesions, and the way in which the feed insidiously feeds off them. This is a new way of looking at the world for Titus, who has never before questioned his technologically enhanced way of life, hanging out with his shallow, trendy friends. Violet and Titus enter into a relationship, each trying to understand the other, even as Violet starts to decline and die as her feed stops working. This provocative SF take on the excesses of our consumer society has echoes of A Clockwork Orange, as Anderson (author of the YA novels Thirsty and Burger Wuss) creates his own vocabulary ("It was brag," for example, meaning "great"; there are some old-fashioned expletives here as well). The invented words are not hard to understand, though, and the flashes of humor as well as the cleverly imagined grim future world should quickly draw readers into this look at teenage love and loss, and at consumerism carried to its logical extreme. (An ALA Best Book for YAs.) KLIATT Codes: S*Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students. 2002, Candlewick Press, 299p., Ages 15 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Taking a nap on the way to the moon for spring break might be boring, so Titus does his best to stay alert and have fun with his friends. The "feed" in his brain is continuously spewing advertisements, music, game shows, hairstyle alerts and many other necessary bits of information. Hundreds of years ago, people actually had to use their eyes and fingers to get information by computer, but now, in M.T. Anderson's future world (Candlewick, 2002), the computer chips are built right in, and bombard everyone with exactly what the corporate world wants them to know. In the midst of this overwhelming flow of information, Titus becomes friends with Violet, a girl who cares about what's happening in the world, is not afraid to question things, and is opposed to the "feed." What will happen when their feeds are damaged and they decide to go against the feed? Anderson's book is written to be read aloud. Titus's stream of words and the rhythm of the "teenspeak" are read to perfection by actor David Baker. The intermittent feed commercials give listeners a taste of this society and help them understand the media attack the teens here are forced to endure. Baker's presentation will make this satiric cautionary tale very real for listeners.-Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"I don't know when they first had feeds. Like maybe, fifty or a hundred years ago. Before than, they had to use their hands and their 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." Titus and his friends have grown up on the feed-connected on a 24-hour basis through brain implants to a vast computer network, they have become their medium. "The braggest thing about the feed . . . is that it knows everything you want and hope for, sometimes before you even know what those things are." Titus is a master at navigating this world where to consume is to live, but when he meets Violet, a distinctly unusual girl whose philology-professor father has chosen to homeschool her instead of sending her to School(tm), he begins, very tentatively and imperfectly, to question this equation. Thrown together when their feeds are hacked at a party and they are temporarily disconnected, their very hesitant romance is played out against the backdrop of an utterly hedonistic world of trend and acquisition, a world only momentarily disturbed by the news reports of environmental waste and a global alliance of have-not nations against the obliviously consuming US. Anderson (Handel, Who Knew What He Liked, 2001, etc.) has crafted a wickedly clever narrative in which Titus's voice takes on perfectly the speech patterns of today's more vapid teens (" 'Oh, unit,' I was like, 'is this malfunction?' "). When Violet's feed begins to fail, and with it all her life functions, she decides to rebel against all that the feed stands for-the degradation of language, the self-absorption, the leaching ofall culture and independent thought from the world-and Titus must make his choice. The crystalline realization of this wildly dystopic future carries in it obvious and enormous implications for today's readers-satire at its finest. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
This satire offers a thought-provoking and scathing indictment that may prod readers to examine the more sinister possibilities of corporate-and media-dominated culture.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
What really puts the teeth in the bite...is Anderson's brillinat satiric vision in the semaless creation of this imagined but believable world. The writing is relentlessly funny, clever in its observations and characters....
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
The crystalline realization of this wildly dystopic future carries in it obvious and enormous implications for today's readers -- satire at its finest.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
M.T. Anderson has created the perfect device for an ingenious satire of corporate America and our present-day value system...Like those in a funhouse mirror, the reflections the novel shows us may be ugly and distorted, bu they are undeniably ourselves.
—The Horn Book (starred review)
Read an Excerpt
By M.T. Anderson
Copyright © 2004
All right reserved.
It was maybe, okay, maybe it was like two days after the party with the "never pukes when he chugalugs" that Violet chatted me first thing in the morning and said she was working on a brand-new project. I asked her what was the old project, and she was like, did I want to see the new one? I said, Okay, should I come over to su casa? I've never been there, and she was like, No, not yet. Let's meet at the mall.
I was like, Okay, sure, fine, whatever swings your string, and she was all, Babycakes, you swing my string, which is a nice thing for someone to say to you, especially before you use mouthwash.
So I flew over to the mall near her house through the rain, which was coming down outside in this really hard way. Everyone had on all their lights until they got above the clouds. Up there it was sunny, and people were flying very businesslike.
The mall was really busy, there were a lot of crowds there. They were buying all this stuff, like the inflatable houses for their kids, and the dog massagers, and the tooth extensions that people were wearing, the white ones which you slid over your real teeth and they made your mouth just like one big single tooth going all the way across.
Violet was standing near the fountain and she had a real low shirt on, to show off her lesion, because the stars of the Oh? Wow! Thing! had started to get lesions, so now people were thinking better about lesions,and lesions even looked kind of cool. Violet looked great in her low shirt, and besides that she was smiling, and really excited for her idea.
For a second we said hello and just laughed about all of the stupid things people were buying and then Violet, she pointed out that, regarding legs to stand on, I didn't have very much of one, because I was wheeling around a wheelbarrow full of a giant hot cross bun from Bun in a Barrow.
I said, "Yum, yum, yum."
She was like, "You ready?"
I asked her what the idea was.
She said, "Look around you." I did. It was the mall. She said, "Listen to me." I listened. She said, "I was sitting at the feed doctor's a few days ago, and I started to think about things. Okay. All right. Everything we do gets thrown into a big calculation. Like they're watching us right now. They can tell where you're looking. They want to know what you want."
"It's a mall," I said.
"They're also waiting to make you want things. Everything we've grown up with - the stories on the feed, the games, all of that - it's all streamlining our personalities so we're easier to sell to. I mean, they do these demographic studies that divide everyone up into a few personality types, and then you get ads based on what you're supposedly like. They try to figure out who you are, and to make you conform to one of their types for easy marketing. It's like a spiral: They keep making everything more basic so it will appeal to everyone. And gradually, everyone gets used to everything being basic, so we get less and less varied as people, more simple. So the corps make everything even simpler. And it goes on and on."
This was the kind of thing people talked about a lot, like, parents were going on about how toys were stupid now, when they used to be good, and how everything on the feed had its price, and okay, it might be true, but it's also boring, so I was like, "Yeah. Okay. That's the feed. So what?"
"This is my project."
"Is . . . ?"
She smiled and put her finger inside the collar of my shirt. "Listen," she said. "What I'm doing, what I've been doing over the feed for the last two days, is trying to create a customer profile that's so screwed, no one can market to it. I'm not going to let them catalog me. I'm going to become invisible."
I stared at her for a minute. She ran her finger along the edge of my collar, so her nail touched the skin of my throat. I waited for an explanation. She didn't tell me any more, but she said to come with her, and she grabbed one of the nodules on my shirt - it was one of those nodule shirts - and she led me toward Bebrekker & Karl.
We went into the store, and immediately our feeds were all completely Bebrekker & Karl. We were bannered with all this crazy high-tech fun stuff they sold there. Then a guy walked up to us and said could he help us. I said I didn't know. But Violet was like, "Sure. Do you have those big searchlights? I mean, the really strong ones?"
"Yeah," he said. "We have . . . yeah. We have those." He went over to some rack, and he took these big searchlights off the rack. He showed us some different models. The feeds had specs. They showed us the specs while he talked.
When he went into the back to get another, cheaper searchlight, I said to Violet, "What next?"
She whispered, "Complicating. Resisting."
Bebrekker & Karl were bannering us big. It was, We've streamlined the Tesla coil for personal use - you can even wear it in your hair! With these new, da da da, and Relax, yawn, and slump! While our greased cybermassage beads travel up and down your back! Guaranteed to make you etc., like that.
I was like, "Okay, huh?" but the guy came back and he had another searchlight.
He told us, "You can see shit real good with this one? I have one of these on my upcar. It's sometimes like - whoa, really - whoa. There was this one time? And I was flying along at night and I shined the light down at the ground, to look at the tops of all the suburb pods? And all over the top of them, it looked like it was moving, like there was a black goo? So I turned up the brightness, and I went down, and I shined it more bright, and it turned out the black moving goo was all these hordes of cockroaches. There were miles of them, running all over the tops of the domes. . . .
Excerpted from Feed
by M.T. Anderson
Copyright © 2004 by M.T. Anderson.
Excerpted by permission.
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