Review: Feed by MT Anderson

MT Anderson's dystopian 2002 novel Feed takes place in a future where most of the people of the world are connected to a global network through brain implantation, the technology actually taking over many of the processes of the limbic system to the point where once installed it cannot be removed without killing the host. Those plugged into this "Feed" are bombarded by a constant barrage of entertainment and advertisement customized to their own tastes, which the Feed learns by monitoring everything they do. (Privacy is a thing of the past.) Schools are completely privatized and more concerned with teaching you how to shop than teaching you arithmetic, reading and writing are forgotten arts known only by university professors, and a criminally irresponsible government covers up any corporate wrong-doing. When people start getting lesions all over their bodies, the president goes on the Feed to insist that all rumors that this is caused by corporate activities are absurd. Meanwhile, characters in a popular Feed show get lesions, and suddenly lesions are cool; teenagers start having artificial lesions cut into them. The planet is dying—there are almost no fish left in the sea, and oxygen factories have replaced the world's wild plant life. And no one seems to care; in fact no one seems to be paying any attention at all, intent as they are on distracting themselves with Feed shows and movies and shopping and advertisements, all of which are dumbed-down to the point of inanity.

A review by Eric Rosenfield