booktalks

also available in audio formatyoung adult fiction Feed by M.T. Anderson [pdf : 188k]

Subjects: Computers and civilization—Juvenile fiction; Consumption (Economics)—Juvenile ficiton; Science fiction—Juvenile fiction
Awards: Ten Best Books for Young Adults; Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book; Horn Book Fanfare
Book Lists: Gifted, Grade 7

Everyone here has gone online. You have all used the Internet for fun and information. You probably have a favorite website—one you visit every day. Well, wouldn’t it be great if you could go online, visit that website or any website at anytime without using a laptop or a computer? Perhaps in the future, you could. Let’s say at birth, you were given an implant that allowed you access to the Internet right in your bran. You would be connected to the “Feed” at all times. Because of the Feed you could send instant messages to your friends with your mind, you could order clothes with your thoughts, check your location with your mental GPS, you could watch television and movies with your eyes closed. Looking for a car? The Feed would automatically send you information about the coolest cars and the best deals. The Feed would keep you updated on the best hairstyles and the trendiest hangouts. It would be awesome!

Well, for Titus and his friends who live in the not too distant future, the Feed is real. They talk to each other through the Feed, they get ideas on where to go for vacations from the Feed. It gives them options as to what upcar to purchase and how to accessorize the strange lesions that have begun to grow on their skin.

Lesions, on the skin. Yes, there are a few annoying aspects to the Feed, such as skin lesions, getting totally bannered by pop-up ads, being manipulated by the mass media, being watched 24 hours a day—can you say brain overload? But it is all that Titus has ever known and without the Feed to tell him what to do, where to go, he would be lost. He liked it. After all, with a computer in his brain, he never had to be alone. He always had someone to talk to or something to entertain him.

No, Titus was much too busy m-chatting with his friends to think about whether or not the Feed was bad or good. It’s fun and that’s all he knows—until he met Violet. He and his friends had decided to visit the moon for a quick vacation. They had heard the moon was pretty fun this time of year. Then during a party, Titus met Violet. Violet was different. She made him think about the world in different ways. She encouraged him to resist the Feed. As their friendship developed into more, Titus was concerned when she decided to reclaim her mind from the Feed—to reclaim it from the corporations that controlled it. A nice idea, very idealistic. But what she doesn’t know, is that resisting the Feed could cost her more than she ever imagined. What will Titus do? Should he help her? Does he even want to?

The Feed is a technological wonder, to be marveled and embraced. It is our future. What’s the point of resisting? Find out what may happen in your not too distant future. (Hold up book) Read Feed by M.T. Anderson.

After booktalk discussion: Ask the students what they think. Would they put a computer in their brain? Why or why not?

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