This sci-fi dystopian novel puts 'The Hunger Games', 'Divergent', 'Maze Runner' et al. in the generalised shade of 'null' story. Poignantly specific and detailed, 'Feed' was written in 2001 by an M T Anderson still stinging from the rage of a teen tired of advertisement bullying and hipster marketing. It was published in 2002, before Facebook, Google and the mass social media invasion, before the smartphone. For me, it's probably the most prescient and relevant novel since Orwell's '1984', so painfully on point you feel the real fear the Feed generally shields us from.

The premise of the plot is that folk now have 'feed chips' inserted in them after their test-tube birth (everyone is infertile, sex is redundant). The story is told from the perspective of a privileged, indolent youth, Titus, who spends his days hanging out with his equally privileged and vacuous bored hipster pals as they pursue a hedonistic existence on a dead planet earth. On a trip to the Moon (the equivalent of a trip to Vegas), he meets a 'normal' girl, Violet who didn't have a feed chip inserted at birth and is thus an objective observer and critical voice. The kids are 'hacked' by a revolutionary so their feeds are disabled while the propaganda links are traced. Titus and co. are lost without their feed.

'Feed' is a vibrant, violent and relevant philosophical discourse on what everybody needs to be aware of yet it's told like a sunny dystopian Cali soap drama so is immensely readable. Rather like the O.C. or Dawson's Creek meets Alien or Blade Runner. It makes you think about some hardcore issues like: 'Where did this burger come from?' and also laugh out loud - really, noisily, like snorting not silent 'lol' -ing:
'Then later there was this thing that hit hipsters. People were just stopping in their tracks frozen...It was Nostalgia Feedback. People had been getting nostalgia for fashions that were closer and closer to their own time until finally people became nostalgic for the moment they were actually living in and the feedback completely froze them.'
Genius. So precise and twelve years before we had walking case histories. Or, more seriously: 'We Americans...are interested only in the consumption of our products. We have no interest in how they were produced or what happens to them once we discard them, once we throw them away.'
It's a novel about being so connected we become disconnected to our own vital processes and most intimate moments. It's a novel which should be prescribed to everyone who visits a shrink or doctor - youth and parent alike. The first warning stages are already real in actual factual 2014; it's only a matter of months before the worse horrors appear unless we get rid of the cushioning of our social media. Resist the Feed indeed. Be real.