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The Feed

by Nick Clark Windo

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20732116,379 (3.25)9
Soon to Be a Streaming Series! Blake Crouch's Recursion meets Mad Max and The Girl with All the Gifts in this startling and timely debut that explores what it is to be human and what it truly means to be connected in the digital age. The Feed is accessible everywhere, by everyone, at any time. It instantaneously links us to all information and global events as they break. Every interaction, every emotion, every image can be shared through it; it is the essential tool everyone relies on to know and understand the thoughts and feelings of partners, parents, friends, children, colleagues, bosses, employees . . . in fact, of anyone and everyone else in the world. Tom and Kate use the Feed, but Tom has resisted its addiction, which makes him suspect to his family. After all, his father created it. But that opposition to constant connection serves Tom and Kate well when the Feed collapses after a horrific tragedy shatters the world as they know it. The Feed's collapse, taking modern society with it, leaves people scavenging to survive. Finding food is truly a matter of life and death. Minor ailments, previously treatable, now kill. And while the collapse has demolished the trappings of the modern world, it has also eroded trust. In a world where survival of the fittest is a way of life, there is no one to depend upon except yourself . . . and maybe even that is no longer true. Tom and Kate have managed to protect themselves and their family. But then their six-year-old daughter, Bea, goes missing. Who has taken her? How do you begin to look for someone in a world without technology? And what happens when you can no longer even be certain that the people you love are really who they claim to be?… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Ehhh. I thought it had a good story line but then it just went on and on and on and on. I skimmed the last 50 pages or so, because I was almost done and it was due at the library. Read it: check. ( )
  BarbF410 | May 22, 2022 |
We’ve all heard the cautionary tales involving social media, about the dangers of being constantly plugged in. Nick Clark Windo’s dark thriller debut takes this idea even further, imagining a future where people are permanently connected via implants so that access to everything is instantaneous as well as continuous. This is “the Feed” that the novel’s title is referring to—a new tech that humans have become so dependent on, and so addicted to, that society can no longer function without it. And so, when the Feed collapses one day, the results are predictably catastrophic. Some of the most basic skills and knowledge are lost to the digital abyss as everyone must now learn how to survive offline and fend for themselves in this Feed-less new world.

For couple Kate and Tom, the adjustment has not been easy. But they have managed to keep going the past few years, living with a group of survivors as they raised their daughter Bea, who was born post-collapse. But then one day, Bea goes missing, snatched away by raiders, and so Kate and Tom must embark on a treacherous journey to bring her back.

It’s said that things have to get bad before they can get better, and likewise, some books make you go through some really rough patches before you can get to the good parts of the story. The Feed was a book like that. For most of the first half, I struggled with nearly everything—the characters, the plot, the world-building. From the moment the story opened, my patience was put to the test. I found both protagonists horribly off-putting. Kate was especially annoying, as a heavy user of the Feed before its collapse. She was an attention monger, self-absorbed and totally oblivious. To be fair, she was probably written this way by design, but in this case the author might have overplayed her personality. Tom, on the other hand, struck me as bland and lacking in any spirit or agency. I didn’t feel like I could connect to either of them at all, which made the first part of this book a difficult slog. I also struggled with the world-building and the exaggerated side effects of the Feed. Humans are biologically hard-wired for curiosity, and I found it hard to believe that almost the entire population would simply surrender themselves to the Feed unquestioningly and let themselves become so helpless.

And then the collapse happened, and subsequently, Bea’s disappearance really turned things around. Not to the point where I suddenly loved the book, mind you, but the story did become immensely more enjoyable once Tom and Kate finally had something to fight for. The second half of The Feed unfolded a lot more like a traditional dystopian novel, following our protagonists as they traversed the post-apocalyptic landscape, encountering violence and suffering. However, there is also a unique element to this world, which comes in the form of a very specialized threat. Even after the collapse, the sinister legacy of the Feed remains as those who possess the biological implants live in fear of being “taken”, a term to describe the process of being hacked and having your consciousness along with your personality and memories wiped clean and replaced. The result is a lot of chaos, mistrust, and panic, along with an “us vs. them” mentality among the survivors. While The Feed is not a zombie story, you can see how the overall tone and some of its themes can sometimes make it feel like one.

There is also a monumental twist near the end that changed nearly everything, and I’m still not entirely sure what to make of it simply because it was so out of left field. Did it make this book more interesting? Yes. But in terms of whether it made the story more coherent or feasible, probably not. That said, I’m impressed with how Windo handled the challenges that came about because of this surprising development. Everything could have fallen apart, but ultimately he was able to keep the threads of the story together and saw things through to the end.

I won’t lie, there were a lot of issues with this novel, particularly with the pacing and balance of the story’s numerous concepts. Still, there were plenty of fascinating ideas in here that I appreciated for their originality, especially once I got past the initial hurdles. There’s an almost sputtering, sporadic feel to the plot; in some ways, it’s like an engine that needs to be primed several times before it catches, but once it starts running, the ride smooths out and becomes a lot more enjoyable. The journey was certainly not boring, and that’s probably the best thing I can say about a novel in a saturated market like the dystopian genre. ( )
  stefferoo | Apr 10, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Another post-apocalyptic novel with a bit of a twist. The feed is basically an implanted social media stream gone crazy. Everyone knows everything, speaking is basically unnecessary and life if fast paced. When the feed is destroyed the world it thrown into chaos. I thought this was interesting but I could have done with some more world explanation early on as it was a bit complicated. A good read if you are a fan of the genre. ( )
  reb922 | Mar 3, 2019 |
Post-apocalyptic sf with an interesting edge to it.

In the near-future, just about everyone is on 'The Feed', it is social networking wired into your head with the ability to interface with everyone simultaneously, alter your perceptions of your surroundings, look up facts, videos and even your own memories - perfectly captured - so that overall one can do everything and anything but talk to other people. Tom has the feed, of course, but resists using it and convinces his partner Kate to disengage from it as well from time to time.

The novel jumps forward and reveals a world torn apart by The Feed's sudden absence. During a global crisis it is shut down, but it is too late. People had become so dependent on the Feed that it was difficult to function without it. Few remembered anything. There is something more sinister, however. It is revealed early on that there is a strange possessive force that anyone who was once connected to the Feed is vulnerable to.

Tom and Kate are a part of a group of survivors who are trying to raise a new generation, but there are many difficulties and when disaster hits them again, they have to do whatever it takes to survive and bring their daughter home again.

Truly enjoyable. What was really interesting was how Windo approached humanities connection with technology from a philosophical point of view and then encased it in this novel. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 19, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Anxiety and depression seems to be raging across the planet and it’s easy for the pundits to point to smartphones and social media consumption as the culprits. Researchers have long proven that the areas of our brain that light up when we use social media and or hear that bing that tells us we have a text message are the same areas that light up when stimulatd by addictive drugs. Dopamine receptors are stimulated by the constant barrage on our screens. Nick Clark Windo tackles the social and philosophical question of what happens when that drip-line of stimulation stops. In The Feed, the world is connected to an internet on steroids, a kind of hyper connected web called ‘the Feed.’ When the technology fails, the world is plunged into chaos. People have become so dependent on the Feed that it leads to a breakdown in society. People had forgotten how to trust, how to function in basic social situations, how to remember things—all these actions that hae been outsourced to the Feed. It is technological dystopia that’s been compared to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Stephen King’s Cell.

Parents Tom and Kate are the protagonists trying to survive in this broken world as they search for their abducted daughter. They suffer through the fog of withdrawal from the Feed.

Windo’s novel explores how the effects of technology aren’t merely conceptual or political, and how they might steadily change our patterns of perception. Studies have show how it’s much harder to sustain deep mental dives and long bouts of concentration. Short term memory has eroded. The book shows the dark side of an over reliance on tech. Tech is great when it helps humanity think, create, produce. But when it starts infiltrating not only our thoughts but our brains, it becomes less benign. The Feed was a thought-provoking read. ( )
  gendeg | Sep 21, 2018 |
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Soon to Be a Streaming Series! Blake Crouch's Recursion meets Mad Max and The Girl with All the Gifts in this startling and timely debut that explores what it is to be human and what it truly means to be connected in the digital age. The Feed is accessible everywhere, by everyone, at any time. It instantaneously links us to all information and global events as they break. Every interaction, every emotion, every image can be shared through it; it is the essential tool everyone relies on to know and understand the thoughts and feelings of partners, parents, friends, children, colleagues, bosses, employees . . . in fact, of anyone and everyone else in the world. Tom and Kate use the Feed, but Tom has resisted its addiction, which makes him suspect to his family. After all, his father created it. But that opposition to constant connection serves Tom and Kate well when the Feed collapses after a horrific tragedy shatters the world as they know it. The Feed's collapse, taking modern society with it, leaves people scavenging to survive. Finding food is truly a matter of life and death. Minor ailments, previously treatable, now kill. And while the collapse has demolished the trappings of the modern world, it has also eroded trust. In a world where survival of the fittest is a way of life, there is no one to depend upon except yourself . . . and maybe even that is no longer true. Tom and Kate have managed to protect themselves and their family. But then their six-year-old daughter, Bea, goes missing. Who has taken her? How do you begin to look for someone in a world without technology? And what happens when you can no longer even be certain that the people you love are really who they claim to be?

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