On 10/15/10 ACHS Literati met to discuss their choice of three titles and I hosted Feed by Anderson. Several students had expressed an interest in resurrecting this class set but when it came down to getting it read I ended up with two kids and only one had completely finished it. Oh well… I had used this title with success several years ago but his group seemed to think it was too harsh, the language was too bad, or they just couldn’t get into the somewhat convoluted plot.
I liked it, even though the language is very low-class. We talked about why we thought that is and I am proud to say that both my group from the past and these students realized that the author was making a point about evolving language and cultural mores. In this book many things that are taboo today are the norm in a future world where people live in stratas, mobility is accomplished easily vertically as well and horizontally, and people party on the moon.
Children in this future world download their lessons at their appropriate maturity level through a feed into their brains. The feed also delivers ads and collects marketing information from the kids. At a party a virus is introduced to some feeds which results in brain illness making the kids very ill and one begins to die. We discussed the love story, family issues, and cultural issues also included in the plot lines. The environmental issues seemed to be what interested my students particularly. They seemed not at all to think that the world in this book is unlikely and they wondered what it would be like to have no easy access to plants, trees, and animals. We did discuss whether it would be really “cool” to have no school, just a feed that along with your lessons you get adds directly into your thoughts… continually... similar to pop-ups adds on the Internet now.