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    • So as shared in the conversation @apm posted earlier about "What Book Are You Currently Reading," I just finished Nick Clark Windo's 2018 book THE FEED.

      I had no idea that it was going to be turned into an upcoming series by Amazon Video sometime this year!

      The book has a bit of a slow beginning. I wasn't sure how much I would get into it, but once you get past the initial premise and world-building, it picks up the pace and becomes significantly more interesting.

      The title is derived from a futuristic social network that allows omnipresent livestreaming, content creation, connection and communication simultaneously. It's described in one section as:

      "Quickcodes? Very clever...They were scanned directly by the feed and only relevant ads were shown. A huge source of revenue, and for the consumer -- such convenience. The Feed knew what you thought, what you bought, even when you needed to drink or what your body should eat. So food packaging was personalized. A million ads, personalized for each and every product. For me, for you, for children -- different for everyone, depending on your needs."

      The Feed has become so indispensible, so necessary to people's day to day lives, that when a major death is livestreamed on the platform, and then The Feed itself stops working, the world is plunged into chaos and the darkness of disconnection.

      Our protagonists Tom and Kate were anachronistic - resisting the lure of The Feed inasmuch as it was possible when it was working - and now that they are stuck having to try to activate rusty memories to survive six years after the Feed crashed.

      "And then the Feed collapsed and we were like cows. Our lives were so fragile and we didn't even know it. I didn't even know what panic meant until then... But... listen...can you remember when you first GOT it? When you first realized the power, as you slid in, and the speed of the world it opened up? Who did you first share your thoughts with? It was the most intimate feeling, wasn't it? Nothing between you, no way to lie, just pure and perfect thinking. All of us, plaited together."

      As Kate and Tom try to survive in a relative's farmhouse outside the city along with a handful of other people and their family, they also must continually keep watch on each other while they sleep lest they wake up...not quite themselves. As The Feed vanished, people not only went through severe withdrawal or inability to function without the collective knowledge and experiences of billions of others, but there also appeared a mysterious phenomenon when someone would be taken in their sleep and wake up violent and ready to harm others.

      Guy continues to twist and chew on nothing, even as Tom hauls him up and shakes him. But he will not wake --it's like he's tethered too hard to sleep. His eyelids flutter and his mouth stretches into a tighter and tighter grimace until suddenly the spasms stop. Then a breath escapes his lips, his face eases to peace, and he starts to breathe normally again.

      No one knows why people are Taken. When someone is Taken in their sleep, you have eliminate them to pre-emptively stop them hurting others. But when Kate and Tom's 6 year old daughter Bea disappears, they are driven from home in a desperate quest to get her back. And along the way, you as the reader learn more than you ever could have anticipated in this gripping dystopian sci-fi piece that asks how far would you go for family, and examines the unintended consequences of that grasping for survival.

      I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but I did think the book had interesting elements of a zombie survival piece, as well as what I'd imagine to be a drearier dystopian epic. The desperation of the parents made me think of BIRD BOX, but with a social networking component that ties everything together really neatly, as well as a lot of commentary on climate change and the environment. I was truly surprised at some of the twists and turns this book made.

      Will you check out THE FEED (book or TV series)?

    • Thanks @Victoria ! That sounds more interesting that the premise let on. I did enjoy Bird Box (the novel (actually one of the few novels I think is improved by listening to the audio version), so might give this a go, too. Out of curiosity, have you read Infomocracy? I ask because it also relates to how social networking might shape the future.

    • I know how you feel - I've been accumulating books faster than I can read them for years. I'm trying to not buy books for myself during the year, and instead let people buy them for me at Christmas. It doesn't really work but it feels good to have a plan, and if I have to penny-pinch in my retirement, at least I'm well stocked.

      I have a collection of Ted Chiang stories on my to-read shelf already, called Stories of Your Life And Others, so no more Ted Chiang for me until I've read it! He's highly regarded, though.

      If you and @Chris like the sound of Infomocracy, we could read it together - an informal Cake book club. No pressure, though - I already have a book club and don't really need another LOL.

    • If you'd want to do a book club here on Cake, I think that could be quite fun! As the Cake conversation format lends itself to asynchronous, long-form conversation over time, we could go section by section or theme by theme to discuss. What do you think?

    • I'm not looking to form a book club here on Cake, per se - I already have one, and would overextend myself if I committed to another. But I have room to do a book outside my club now and then, should there be a few interested kindred souls willing to commit to it.

      On the matter of book clubs in general, I've found that the discussion that surrounds a shared reading can be quite fulfilling. My current book club started much the same way when a bunch of people expressed an interest in reading The Silmarillion all at the same time. We're still going 8 years and 77 books later.

      The 'forum' format works well. We assign someone to lead the discussion of each book and that person posts a number of discussion topics around the beginning of the month. Then people drift in a posts as time permits, and the discussion lasts about a week, give or take, before it peters out of its own accord. With our 'slow read' selections, we read about 20-25 pages per week and discuss the book in segments each week.