**5 Goodreads Stars**
“Who did you first share your thoughts with? It was the most intimate feeling, wasn’t it? Nothing between you, no way to lie, just pure and perfect thinking. All of us, plaited together.”
“The space we create, that we forge with our lives – that’s what we have to protect. We work hard for such an inconsequential space, but it is absolutely everything to us.”
Nick Clark Windo’s The Feed is a beautifully written, darkly intense dystopian novel concerning the future of humankind in a technology saturated world.
Imagine if Twitter and Facebook were implanted in your brain; you could access non-stop thoughts, memories, and newsfeeds of everyone in the entire world. This is the world in which The Feed is set, and this is what “the Feed” refers to. It isn’t hard to envision our world moving in that direction in the not so distant future.
Despite the draw and addicting allure of “the Feed,” there are some citizens who don’t like it. They are known as the “Resistors,” people who have reverse engineered or reverse biohacked their implants, including such things as microphones in one’s lip. They have physically cut out the implants from their bodies to avoid “the Feed.”
The book begins with Tom and Kate, a couple who have strong feelings about “the Feed.” Tom is adamantly opposed to it despite the fact his father and brother, Ben, were the creators of it. Kate enjoys the fanfare of the “Feed,” as she is essentially what we would consider a viral YouTuber in her world. She has lots of followers, and experiences endorphin rushes when they share or praise her content.
When “the Feed” is hacked by an unknown group, society as Kate and Tom know it collapses. Think Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road collapse. It’s bad, and what makes it worse is that most of the world has become so reliant on “the Feed” to tell them what to do that they have no clue how to do the most quotidian things. All information has been digitized. Physical books are obsolete. Medications and products are marked with QR codes rather than text describing their contents and use. If you needed to know how to cook a meal, you pull it up on “the Feed.” The Feed’s absence renders most people helpless, leaving few people and little knowledge left to rebuild the world. Even language and vocalization have to be rediscovered, as most people communicated through their minds via “the Feed.”
The hacking of “the Feed” has also caused a mysterious illness infecting millions of people across the globe. This illness only comes on at night while people are sleeping, which means that someone always has to stay up watching their friend or family member for signs of infection. The infection causes people’s personalities to dramatically change to point that they often kill or attack their friends or family members. The only way to “cure” this illness is to kill the infected person. It only infects people with “the Feed” implants, so Resistors without implants have slowly been taking over civilization.
I’ll admit it took me a few days to really get into this book. This is because the book’s world is so rich and intricate that you have to memorize and learn lots of new vocabulary/terms. This is what makes the book so successful, though. Once you get into the book’s brave new world, you find yourself enmeshed in its uniqueness. Once I got 25% of the way through the book, I could not put it down. There are so many unexpected, exciting twists and turns in this book, but they make sense within the context of the story and the characters’ personalities and motivations. There were a few moments at the beginning of the book where I felt like I was reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but I mean that as a compliment.
To close, The Feed provides timely, apt criticism of our digitally infused world. It encourages the reader to reflect upon the potential long term social and environmental consequences of a digitally connected and digitally addicted world. For those of you who are already itching to get a copy of The Feed, you’ll have to wait until March 13, 2018. I can assure you, however, that it is definitely worth the wait. Thank you to the author, Nick Clark Windo, the publisher, HarperCollins, and Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced ready copy of The Feed.