Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Got me a feeder

¡Hola! Dusty Anachronites. Thanks for checking in. I've been slowly making my way through The Heart is A Lonely Hunter, and am beginning to see why people talk of its 'treacly effect'. It's definitely a treacly novel. Full of boarding houses on arid streets, boozed-up ranting under hot skies, and next door neighbours with secrets. Treacly fo' shiz. But I'm on page 100 and not addicted yet, and not sure if i will be.

I'm being lame with THIALH cos my housemate, Miss Librarian, handed me a book called 'Feed', by
M.T. Anderson and told me to "Read 'Feed'". Not only had she retrieved it from a bunch of old books in a box, which made it genuinely dusty, it was part of that dinky 'lil subgenre YA fiction. So i scoffed at it and went to do something more grown-up. Cos YA = Young Adult fiction. Like Point Horror and Sweet Valley Shenaniganzy Blonde Bullshitz. This anecdote has an obvious ending so i'll spare you/me/The Ether the build-up. I cosied up with a camomile tea and cracked open 'Feed' one quiet night last week. And it was so, so good.

Okay, it helped that dystopian YA fiction is my favourite genre. What's not to love about having a shit time on the moon and losing your boyfriend to a girl with a more futuristic hat than yours and not remembering the last time you breathed real oxygen? I refer, um, you, to 'This Place Has No Atmosphere' by Paula Danziger (YA goddess) for a perfect example of all this, in what was a seminal moment for YA fiction, and, actually, my life. 'Feed' has that same satirical voice, and gorgeous prose to boot. I forgot how great it is to read someone who doesn't heap on the lame-ass simile showboating but can still make you cry cos the characters just get to you. S'pose that's the beauty of YA fiction - you're not trying to be Pynchon or Carver or fucking Tom Robbins, whose prose, in 'Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas', I've felt like sticking a knife through (and it's not just that he keeps on using the word 'panties' like a dirty old man... apparently he averages one working day per metaphor, which makes me want to kill him. I hope he spends the rest of his time a little more usefully). Anyway, in YA fiction, you're only trying to communicate that you're starting to be suspicious of the way the world works and that your life FUCKING SUCKS. Since my mental age is stuck at 14, I appreciate this.

'Feed' is about the interwebs and TV taken to a creepy extreme so their driveltastic datastreams are fed via a transmitter directly into your brain. It's 100% glossed-up sales talk whirling up your neocortex at the behest of corporations (of course), and it creates full-on consumers out of all of us. The message of the novel is an 'Adbusters'-esque resistance to this, including a hot date culture-jamming at the mall. It's territory so old it ain't fit for speculative fiction, but hey, could be new territory for Young Adults. And resistance will be an important message till we all embrace Neo-Quakerism, so, um, buy the book. yeah.

More compliments, cos i'm having one of those quasi-orgasmic Blogger-font/interface catalysed Csikzentmihalyian flow experiences... 'Feed''s future slang is so casual and good it almost falls into cool as 'Clockwork Orange' territory (i say almost - this is a dainty parable, 'tis no 'Orange', droogs). The characters and their relationships were beautifully developed anus and it's funny and sad, funny and sad, comedy and tragedy, ad infinitum, cos that's all there is to life. Funny, sad, weird shit goes down, some of us distract ourselves to numb ourselves, some of us don't, then we die. Pop stars get skin lesions to look cool. I can see LiLo doing that. You can upload and try on your friends' memories and experiences. Everyone is a hottie cos their genes were selected in a conceptionarium *stellar idea*. And the seas, the sun and mountains are all breathtaking, cos they're computer generated backgrounds. And you spend spring break on the moon:

"We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck."

That's the first line of the novel. Good, eh? M.T. Anderson is a fantastic writer, 'Feed' rocks, I'm ready to get intimate with YA fiction again, but I will spare the DABC any further reviews. 'Feed's exceptional though - it takes an evening to ram through it and it'll warm you up in the way only good old-fashioned dystopian satire can.

God, it's quite hard to be interesting when you all you want to say is GREAT! Yeah! COR! and then do some boring preaching like READ IT IT IS GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL!

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