Friday, 29 April 2011

Feed

At first, Mira Grant's zombie novel might seem an ironic choice for my Royal Wedding day reading, however it ended up somehow completely relevant. Not that Will and Kate's big day was interrupted by the flesh-eating undead, more that if you'd popped onto Twitter this morning, everyone was talking about The Wedding.

Zombies aside, Feed is a commentary on the changing world of reporting. Yes, most of those tweeters were tuning in second hand via the BBC, but it just goes to show how effective the internet has become in delivering news and opinions.

I'd had the book at least a week before it dawned on me that the cover had the RSS symbol on it and Feed wasn't just about zombie appetites. I'm not big on researching books before I read them, I like to dive in sight unseen and without preconceptions. It was big on Goodreads last year (scooping up the Science Fiction category in the end of year awards) and it had zombies in it. That was enough for it to go on my wishlist.

The story starts with a man poking a zombie with a stick...

The main characters are bloggers in a world where people have lost faith in corporate news. If the big fish told everyone the schools were safe just before your children got infected whilst the blogosphere was alerting people to the true threat, who would you trust?

The plot follows the blogging team as they join a senator on his presidential campaign. Whilst the politics have been amended to fit the international zombie crisis, they can easily be applied to current affairs. Feed raises some very topical questions such as, which is more important, freedom or safety?

The presence of zombies does tend to place this book in the horror genre, but its themes put it firmly in the science fiction camp. What's scary is not really the zombies, but what humankind is capable of and when characters die, it's not about gore but about loss. It's overall much more thought-provoking and moving than horror ever is.

If you were avoiding this book because of the zombies don't. It's for anyone interested in the changing face of journalism and the rise of social media. The zombies just accelerated the process...

6 comments:

  1. I love this: "The story starts with a man poking a zombie with a stick..."

    I've seen a lot of bloggers talking about this book and I've been tempted to pick up a copy myself. Great review. This is being added to the TBR pile.

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  2. I knew I'd picked up the right book this morning when I read about the zombie poking :)

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  3. You have no idea how terrified of zombies I am. Sean of the Dead is the only zombie film I will watch. I have read three zombie books in my life - one was a spoof, one I thought was going to be a spoof and the last one I was tricked into reading. Yet this sounds interesting and it may have to become number four.

    I read an article not that long ago that writers are not using the internet enough in their fiction. That it's an large part of life now, much like television was ten/twenty years ago, and so should be more in our contemporary fiction. I keep seeing it popping up though like this one. So maybe the author was wrong.

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  4. I absolutely loved Feed - I wasn't a fan of zombies before I read it either but they almost seem incidental to the plot. The characters were great and like you I loved teh social commentary! Great review! :)

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  5. Zombies are always a bit of a hit or miss to me, but this one sounds interesting. Great review.

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  6. That sounds interesting! Especially since I'm a blogger (and so are most of us here). I would worry about the zombies but I will take your word for it. It's the same with vampires in The Passage... you'll still like it even if you don't normally read books with vampires.

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