Sep 22, 2010

Feed by Mira Grant

“No one gets cold or cancer anymore. The only issue is the walking dead.”

Feed is a zombie story with heart. Mira Grant combines perfectly the traditional, almost campy tropes of zombie stories, with emotions and politics.  It is the near future and a virus, from a vaccine gone wrong, is turning people into zombies.  This isn’t the zombie apocalypse though.  This is the story of a community of people coping, or trying to cope with the situation around them. The world has been safe guarded against those who are or may have become infected. There are endless amounts of blood tests to make sure a person isn’t going to convert into a zombie.

 

Why did Grant write this book? In an interview with SFX she explains:

Initially what I came up with was an ecology book. I am a zombie fan but all of the zombie stories I’ve enjoyed started when the dead rose and ended three days later with everybody looking exhausted. I was thinking, “What happens in 20 years?” So I set up a functional ecology where we are still faced with the zombie threat but are beating it back and living with it.

 

I love finding out her motivation in writing this book. I can really see the work she did on the world to make it function. And it is this detail that really makes the story different.  This concept of “What happens in 20 years?” could really drive a lot of fiction and brings a lot of depth to Feed. The novel blends together intellect with action. And I can honestly say I am loving reading about chasing zombies with some intelligence behind it.

 

Grant shows us a wrecked world, a wrecked United States. It is ruled by the fear of zombie but also by the hope that humanity will endure. One of the most unique features of this book is the use of blogging juxtaposed against more traditional news outlets.  Already, in our current state we question the legitimacy and bias of the news, but in Grant’s future bloggers have celebrity status, though they are still competing with tradition news sources.  I think this hits a cord with many reviewers. Other authors have broached the subject of the value of the common man on the internet, but never before have I read a book that utilized the same terminology we are so deeply connected with today.  The word blogging is more than just words on our webpage. To those who work hard to create content the word is deeply rooted in our emotions and sense of self.

 

“When blogging first emerged as a major societal trend it was news rendered anonymous…you trusted things because they sounded true….These days bloggers don’t just report the news, they create it and sometimes they become it.”

 

But in our future, there is only 3 types of bloggers. Newsies, Irwins, and Fictionals.  Most of these stem around the interaction with zombies. Newsies report what does happen, Irwins poke things till thing do happen, and Fictionals just make stuff up.  The best news organizations rely on all three to provide complete coverage. And Georgia Mason is head of one of the best new blogging organizations there is. When the president announces he wants bloggers with him on his campaign tour, Georgia and her team barely hesitate to apply.

“All we could do was make sure the truth was getting out, and getting where it needed to be.”

Georgia Mason takes her job very seriously. She coordinates her fictional, Buffy, and her brother, the Irwin, into a news reporting symphony and they work together as a team to gather and edit footage. Traveling with a presidential candidate is a unique honor but it also presents challenges. The people of the United States are in a weak point. They are concerned about the future state of their country. What will happen with the zombies? Will they ever feel safe again?

 

Mira Grant weaves together action, politics, and genuine emotion to create a very compelling story. As it went along the story line got a little too outlandish for me, but even considering that, my interest was high. Feed compiles a lot of my interests into one book. Dystopian elements from the creation of the zombies, striving to find the truth, and issues with the government. To call this book dystopian would definitely be using the wide umbrella understanding of the term. It is also a fresh and engaging zombie story, which are peaking on my radar right now. It is also one in the long line of well written young adult book. And I was able to track down the audio book for ease of multitasking. The narration and production of this book is some of the best I have heard.

 

Georgia is a strong female character. She is dedicated to the truth, to being a good leader. She wants to keep the people she cares about safe. She cares so much about her job as a journalist.

“I wanted to be Hunter S. Thompson, ripping the skin off the world. I wanted the truth and I wanted the new. And I would be damned before I settled for anything less.”

 

Dystopia, zombies, strong female character, and much more.  If I haven’t sold you on the book I need to give the author a chance to try and sway you. The book in Mira Grant’s own words:

The Newsflesh Trilogy is a story about blogging, politics, medical science, espionage, betrayal, the ties that bind, the ties that don't, how George Romero accidentally saved the world, and, of course, zombies. It's thoughtful horror, and horrific science fiction, and I'm very fond of it.

 

P. S. Mira Grant is also known as Seanan McGuire

2 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorite reads of this year. I cannot wait for Newsflesh 2!

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  2. Really enjoyed your review. I had avoided this because I thought it was a "typical" zombie tale, but it sounds like that's not the case at all. It's going on my TBL list!

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