A "horrible-alternate-world-scenario" story recommended by my teen librarian friend Julie on the Anarchist Librarians discussion list, Feed imagines a realistic vision of a future where we're wired directly to computers, networks, and advertising. Anderson does a good job of creating a natural sounding teen speak, though sometimes it's so good, that it feels a little self-conscious.
My only disappointment with this young adult novel is that the environment is better than the plot. The characters are probable, but not super compelling. Maybe it's a boy book, and that's what's wrong with it--or me. I don't mean "wrong" pejoratively, though of course it sounds that way. I'm just saying that sometimes different things appeal to men vs. women, boys vs. girls. For me, most important are the characters. To some men I know, a cool alterna-world is good enough. Plus the BASIC dialogue I've quoted in this post--that alone is worth reading the book for.
I do overall recommend this book; I'm just unable to do that (about this book or nearly any) without mentioning one or two reservations. Don't take my criticism too seriously, k?
When I asked her what her dad did, she said, "He's a college professor. He teaches dead languages."
"People study that?"
She shrugged. "I guess."
"Okay. So what are the dead languages?"
They're languages that were once important but that nobody uses anymore. They haven't been used for a long time, except by historians."
"Like what languages?"
"You know, FORTRAN, BASIC."
She slid off the bunk, and went to get her bag. She opened it and pulled out something, which was a pen. She also had paper.
I looked at her funny. "You write?" I said. "With a pen?"
"Sure," she said, a little embarrassed. She wrote something down. She put the pad of paper on my lap.
She asked me, "Do you know how to read?"
I nodded. "I can read. A little. I kind of protested it in SchoolTM. On the grounds that the silent "E" is stupid."
"This is the language called BASIC," she said.
On the paper, it said:
002110 Goto 013500
013500 Peek 16388, 236
013510 Poke 16389, 236
She read it to me. I could tell the numbers fine.
"So what does that mean?" I asked.
"It's the first thing my dad teaches the students on the first day," she said. "It means, 'I came, I saw, I conquered.'" p.53-54
It smelled like the country. It was a filet mignon farm, all of it, and the tissue spread for miles around the paths where we were walking. It was like these huge hedges of red all around us, with these beautiful marble patterns running through them. They had these tubes, they were bringing the tissue blood, and we could see the blood running around, up and down. It was really interesting. I like to see how things are made, and to understand where they come from. p.116