dystopian cyperderp literature
Feed wasn't written to be enjoyable as much as it was written to point at some of the most uncomfortable aspects of our society. What made this less enjoyable realizing that it was written in 2003 before most of the online website and purchase tracking was as prolific as it obviously is now. I think the highlight of this story is that its lack of enjoyability.
Having listened to this book outside of class, and then having reviewed that actual, physical text for class, I noticed a lot differences. There are some peripheral examples, like the fact that Baker refers to the school as SCHOOL inc., where as the book has printed SCHOOL TM, but those are mostly material. What struck me, and made me harshly aware that I was listening to an audiobook rather than reading a book is the transitions that authors uses to sometimes represent the movement of the story. These breaks consists of blips and excerpts from what we can assume is the modern media of Feed's world. These are commercials for products, presidential speeches, and clips of dystopian cyberpop, and they generally inform us about the political and educational climates of Anderson's world. Where in the text these blips would obviously just be represented by words on pages, the audiobook utilizes its audible element to create actual sound bytes. I think this is important because while it blatantly separates the experience of hearing the book from reading it, it also emphasizes the benefits of multimodal media (which i support as a cool sort of genre of media).
Anderson's Feed creates an apt examination of an increasingly connected, digital America. The story is intended more for reflection than for the exciting, street-samurai plot one might expect from this sort of cyberpunk distopian genre. I don't think we're intended to like the character, or necessarily the story. Nevertheless, this is an important and (hopefully extreme) prediction of how humanity can contort the intentions of technology. Having read this ten years after it was written, and only a few weeks after the now ominous announcement of google's smart glasses, I really appreciate this story and I recommend it to anyone.
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