Neuromancer as a Catalyst of Change

In William Gibson’s text entitled Neuromancer, technology acts as a fundamental force of change within society. The increasingly sophisticated nature of technology provides an avenue of enhancing the society one lives in. Case, the protagonist, essentially ponders whether or not the implications of technology will create an even more advanced society. In the text, technology can be described as a catalyst because it is a force that represents several actions such as escape, transcendence and enhancement.

Although technology assumes such a powerful role in Neuromancer, it surprisingly makes the conditions of society worse. Case recollects on the natural world, specifically in the final portion of the text when he is given an ultimatum consisting of two options. He is to choose to stay in a dream world in which he is comfortably on a beach or he is to return to the real world and facel his challenges. One challenge in particular being the situation that he has with an enemy who is out to kill him because he owes him money. Thus, Case arguably uses the computer to escape from reality. Another situation that occurs that seems to represent an element of escape in the text is the following,

“Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts…A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding…” (Gibson).

This quote addresses the idea of cyberspace as an escape because it describes human experience with cyberspace being equated to an hallucination or an experience involving the apparent perception of something not present. The imagery presented in this quotation adds an element of escape while it also depicts the way in which it transcends reality. Although technology makes society worse in this context, it also enhances society’s intellectual capacity as it smartens society. This is apparent when Case transplants his mind to see from the perspective of the girl with the glass eye . This situation elaborates upon the fact that technology is an important component of society in Neuromancer while it also elaborates upon the idea of perception in the text.

Another interesting focus of the text is the relationship between humans and technology. As indicated by various examples within the text, humanity is dependent upon individual technology and kinesthetic enhancements. Interestingly, every human character in the text remains static, as fate seems to ultimately determine one’s destiny. As stated in Stephan Conway’s essay entitled “Transcedence and Technology in William Gibson’s Neuromancer,

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“Human characters seem unaware or incapable of forming or reforming an individual, provisional, less than absolute notion of self. Wintermute, an Artificial Intelligence, a computer, however, acknowledges and attempts to transcend itself. The boundaries between humanity and the machines it produces are blurred. Old paradigms of self, of identity seem obsolete. The character who possesses the greatest capacity for change in the novel is a machine. This is neither an indictment of humanity nor an endorsement of technology. Instead, the novel remains steadfastly ambivalent toward what Gibson himself calls “the very mixed blessings of technology” (Gibson)

In this quote Gibson elaborates upon the relationship between humans and technology, as it specifically relates to humans to the machine, Wintermute. The argument that the machine undergoes the greatest amount of change during the duration of the text is proposed. This is very interesting to the end that machines are not typically dynamic characters nor are they given human characteristics. Thus, one can argue that technology controls human nature. One particular example in the text is the Russian bartender with the rubbery arm who was at war and was able to regain his life circumstance through an avenue of technology. Another example is the centennial man who go Case went to for advice and lived to be very old because of technology. In both instances technology serves to preserves life, especially in the old man’s situation in which he keeps upgrading his body parts in order to maintain his health.

In conclusion, the novel asks us to consider the idea of individual identity in parallel with human existence within a technological framework. What does individual identity tell us about human existence? What does human existence tell us about individual identity? These questions have continued to remain unanswered. Thus, it is difficult to answer the question would new technologies fundamentally alter what it means to be human. However, one can definitely that this could indeed alter the state of humanity, as technology has a significant affect on the way that humans function in society. If a technological product has the capabilities of a human, then it will possibly supersede and eventually replace of the role of the human in society. Although the core of humanity has deeper implications in society, the role of technology in the text is indicative of the dynamism in ability that technology bears.

 

Long Blog Post 2: “Ah”

“Ah” is the title of the electronic literature that I chose to explore and analyze. This experiential piece articulates a simple paradox of animated digital literature. Essentially, the eye, by extension the mind, is given jumbled up letters that slowly spread into legible words. The entirety of the electronic poem is to provide the reader with a defined breathing experience, whereby the words are only legible at a certain time, which enables a controlled timely experience of the work. Additionally, the viewer isn’t given the chance to reread an already perceived word or phrase. In “Ah”, the central object of meditation is Einstein, but just as the physicist pondered the numberless variations between the presence of a “1” and “0,” this experiential and textual animation of poetry brings us back and forth between clever articulations and the ambiguous expressivity of single letters and syllables.

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The starting-point of Ah (a shower song) is a text that moves between breathing and singing, representing the flow of time. Words glide in and out of each other in a way that reminds us of respiration, or of the “stream of consciousness” of somebody standing in the shower whose thinking and poetic thought about the unfolding of time flow beautifully into each other. It’s almost as if the reader is allowed passivity, but the reader’s role changes. The endless loop of the work forces the reader to adjust his or her reading and method or strategy of interpretation. The process of breathing is a very individual experience. To have the exact respiratory rhythm as someone else is a rare occurrence. However, by unraveling these poetic words of the unconscious thought, all readers are empirically linked in the dimension of time and breath. Thus, mentally and physically linked. (Which I find to be a very cool experience, as my roommate sat beside me and we read it along together, breathing and unveiling these words at the very exact same time.)

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In reading the unwinding words, you’re not suppose to use the words not, no, and ah or oh. After going through the electronic presentation a couple times, I realized that no, and not were making the sentences break. When disregarded, the words in context made sense! But that made me wonder why those words were there in the first place. My own personal analysis is that they are representative of the noise of any unconscious free flowing and natural thought; they’re used as white noise that occurs as mental fillers in the midst of meaning and purpose. But why does our mind speak these contradicting words? No and not are the opposite of yes and are—the mode of action and existence. So if we unconsciously include these contradictions amidst our conscious thoughts, are we thereby doubting our own mental capacities and ability to assuredly produce a plan of action or definition? The content works very well with the experiential dimension, as the syntax is concise and simple, which I believe is what the method of digital experience is trying to invoke by method of control and breathing tactics associated with the readers systematized and controlled breathing experience.

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The word “experience” is a very accurate depiction of what this electronic literature work is. The words align themselves in a lateral order, unscrambling at a specific time in order to provide the reader with a particular breathing sequence. However, in addition, at a few points the words raise and separate into two lines, creating a lyrical curve that to me, is extremely symbolic of the literature piece as a whole. It rearranges into a DNA type form, some words going up and down as others go down then up, meeting in the middle. The experience and the text go hand in hand to develop a sense of individuality, met with unison. These two elements, for me, create a moment of catharsis in a very unexpected and original way.

A List of the Delusions of the Insane: What They Are Afraid Of – Blog Post 2

I read “A List of the Delusions of the Insane: What They Are Afraid Of” by David Antin.  This work is a list of things that the insane are afraid of, and it looks to be in poetry form; with each line being very short. David Antin got this list from Thomas Smith Clouston, who wrote “Actual examples of delusions of about 100 female melancholic patients.” The work sounds poetic, and when one thinks about the fact that this is an actual list of delusions that people have had, it becomes interesting.

One can feel sympathy for the people, for the list makes it seem like they have many delusions and fears. Some of the delusions are “the police, being alone, being killed, being dead, and being lost in a crowd.” Some of the delusions are a bit strange, such as “having no stomach, that they will be boiled alive, that they will be fed disgusting things, that evil chemicals have been placed in the earth, and that it is immoral to eat.”

The insane seem to be preoccupied with death and murder according to this list. There are five delusions related to being murdered in a row, such as “they will be murdered when they sleep, they will be murdered when they wake.” I wonder why the first delusion is “the police.” This list is either in a random order, or the insane have a strong fear of the police.

None of the words are capitalized, and there is no punctuation. The further down the list that you go, the stranger it becomes. Here are some delusions, “that insects are coming out of their body, that their blood has turned to water, that they have no brain, that they are covered with vermin.”

Some of the delusions are really sad. They include, “being unfit to live, that they will not recover, and that their children are being killed.” One that really stands out to me is “that they are in hell.” It makes me think, if they are picturing themselves in hell, and are having realistic experiences with it, than what if they really are in their own version of hell? Another one that stands out to me is “that they have too much to eat.” I wonder how that delusion plays out in someone’s mind. Another reoccurring delusion is burning. They see houses, children, and people burning around them.

Putting the list of delusions in poetry form makes one think about it more. Poetry is for reflection and contemplation after all, one could argue. I wonder why the author did not try to organize the delusions better, for example some of them seem related, but they are on different sections of the list. This is not an exhaustive list, though I wonder how an exhaustive list would look like. What key fears are missing from this current list?

The conceptual medium works for this text. The list is just a list, and the author did not seem to change it too much. Or if he did, I could not tell the difference. Perhaps if the author organized it in a certain way, or made it more coherent, than his poem would have made more sense. However, since the topic is about delusions of insane people, the loose structure works. This list is a bit incoherent, and makes little sense without the title or the explanation behind it. Though being incoherent and confusing is probably what actual delusions are like, so this text succeeds in pulling the reader closer to the actual experience of having a delusion.

Most of the delusions start with “that.” The rest start with “being”. The first one starts with “the”, and is the only one that starts this way. Is “the police” that important of a delusion to denote distinction, or did “the” simply make the most sense grammatically? And even if “the” was the only word that made sense, wouldn’t saying something such as “that they are afraid of the police” make this first line fit in better with the rest of the poem? Or is the author trying to convey something by making the police stand out?

I feel like this is an informative text and that if anyone else reads this that they will gain actual knowledge into how an insane person’s mind works. Some of the delusions are unpleasant to read, but they must be even worse to experience. Perhaps putting some things in poetry form can be a good thing for awareness. After all, before reading this poem, I did not know much about the different types of delusions that people had.

Long Blog Post 2 – Ask me for the Moon

Ask Me for the Moon: Working Nights in Waikiki

            “Ask Me for the Moon: Working Nights in Waikiki” is a non-linear work of digital poetry created by John Zuern, an English professor at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. The work was first published in the Iowa Review Web in 2005. The poem begins as a series of white words fade in and out against a black background. The words intermingle with one another in such a way that the reader feels a sense of ebbing flow, similar to the waves on the shore. Slowly, the Waikiki night skyline appears, with the words continuing to wash in and out beneath the Waikiki scene. Eventually, the intro ends, leaving the reader with the choice of several different photographs from a collage to click.

From this point, the poem becomes non-linear, allowing the reader to choose his or her own path in the poem. Each of the five options available from the main menu branches into its own sub-menu, complete with several options of its own. Many of the choices have sounds to accompany them, mostly consisting of a combination of waves and working noises in keeping with the poem. Additionally, several of the poems end in larger amounts of text in paragraph form outlining particular points that Zuern wants to highlight. Throughout the poem, black, white, and a few shades of light turquoise dominate the color scheme, giving the work the feeling of a rundown resort.

The actual text of the poem emphasizes the life hidden beneath the commercial side of Waikiki – the life of the workers in the shadows, of an island overrun, and of a culture forgotten. Through its simple black and white text, the poem mourns the loss of indigenous culture to tourism and vacationers. One of the most textually effective techniques that Zuern employs is the morphing a sentence into another by allowing all of one sentence to fade from the page except for a single word. Then, another sentence will fade in, incorporating the word left by the first sentence and allowing it to take on a whole new meaning. For example, he writes at one point, “in frigid kitchens in florescent corridors all work.” Next the entire sentence except for the word “work” fades to black, eventually being replaced by the phrase, “work is night work.” This method of replacing the sentence around the word to change its meaning helps to illustrate his point in a way that plain text would struggle to do. Just like the word, Waikiki’s beach and tide have remained, but they mean something completely different to the tourists who now walk the beach at high-end resorts than they do to the people who work the night shifts to earn a living and than they did to the original Hawaiians.

Several portions of Zuern’s work include short phrases and paragraphs by philosophers and political theorists. Each of these paragraphs appears at the end of a section, often along with a paragraph or two that explain the motivation behind that section of poetry. Throughout, however, the feeling is one of despair; a feeling that broods of a culture on the brink of collapse looking back at its simple glory in pre-colonial times. The quotes included by Zuern reflect such a feeling.

Something that I found frustrating about the site was the inability to return to particular places or portions of text. With no written table of contents or simple menu, there was no way to return to or find a quote that I was interested in re-reading. Although this made the text more difficult to explore, the inability to return continued to demonstrate the theme of the poem. Just as I was often unable to return to a portion of the poem that I enjoyed, so the original owners of Oahu were unable to return to their land that had been turned into resorts and private beaches. As I began to realize this, the site’s design, layout, and features began to make more sense to me, and I started to appreciate it in ways that I had not before. Without the digital design, much of the feeling, motion, and sounds of the poem would be lost, and the poem would fail to have the intended effect on the reader. In this way, Zuern utilized the digital aspects of the site to create a true digital work of poetry.

 

Source: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~zuern/ask/

Long Blog Post #2: The Evidence of Everything Exploding

“and from these languages comes another language”

–a greeting on the opening panel of the game/poem/animation

After a frustrating twenty minutes of clicking, dragging, and guessing, I finally began to appreciate Jason Nelson’s creation of this interactive digital poem. My frustration came not from an inability to maneuver the project, but rather by attempting to find justification to classify such a thing as poetry. I struggled to find any literary value in the actual text, however the fashion in which it is presented to the reader, or in this case the player, categorizes the experience as nothing short of intriguing and perplexing.

The poem is presented as an interactive game in which the reader controls the movement of the cursor through a labyrinth of obstacles, checkpoints, and words. At each checkpoint, an explosion occurs on screen followed by an image, a short animation, or box of some sort that proposes a new subset of text. The text only appears on screen for a limited amount of time. At several points throughout the game, I had to revisit the same checkpoint several times to read the entirety of the flash of text.

Not unlike flarf poetry, the text is borrowed from an unrelated source and reorganized in an attempt to create meaning. The “about EoEE” pop-up explains the author’s source of text:Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 4.16.59 PM

At first, I rejected this whimsical explanation. Perhaps the text truly derives from a treasure box discovered under layers of glacial ice. But more likely, it is another radical poem, an extension of the experience of the larger game. It is another way for the author to challenge the definition of literature. The list of “wondrous evidence” at the bottom of box provides a satirical ah-ha moment for the game. What makes this pop-up box, as is the entirety of the text, such a vital part of the poem is the way it is presented. The pop-up was a result of an accidental slip of a pointer finger onto a hyperlinked icon in the upper corner. It is entirely possible for the reader to complete the game without reading that piece of text. I felt that I was in control of the text. The animation and pop-ups depended on my active participation and willingness to play the game.

However, I had no control at all. As the game player and willing reader, I was a the subject on manipulation, not the text. Words are not simply given to the reader, but parceled out as a reward as the reader progresses to higher levels of the game. The author has complete control over how the reader reads, while the reader feels that he or she is in control of the game –an unprecedented expression of poetic metaphor.

By entering a new level of the game, the reader commits to moving forward through the poem. There is not a “back” option to re-play the previous level or return to the home screen. As the reader, I must constantly be alert and conscious of my moves, as each one permanently changes the experience of the game.

I have yet to discover the purpose or meaning of the repetitive animated explosions. But one thing I am sure of is that I hold on tighter to my Shel Silverstein collection as the category of poetry stretches to make room for interactive, digital, verbal games.Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 3.47.12 PM

Explore EoEE or check out other projects by Jason Nelson such as Birds still warm from flying

 

Long Blog Post #2-“RedRidinghood” by Donna Leishman

When I came across this piece of electronic literature on I <3 E-Poetry.com I was initially very excited, because I saw that it drew inspiration from a short story by Angela Carter that I love. Her story, “The Company of Wolves,” is a reworking of the traditional story of Little Red Riding-hood that spends the first three and a half pages beautifully describing the sinister wolves. Angela Carter does an amazing job of making the reader sense something ominous in the story before picking up on the familiar tale. She also manages to make the readers feel afraid of the wolves and sorry for them at the same time, through beautifully crafted lines such as “The long-drawn, wavering howl has, for all its fearful resonance, some inherent sadness in it, as if the beasts would love to be less beastly if they only knew how and never cease to mourn their own condition.” The story is twisted but wonderfully written, and ends in a somewhat strange sexual encounter between little red riding-hood and the wolf–who is described at the end as “tender,” suggesting that perhaps the display of love has tamed him.

Anyway, I went into exploring this work of electronic literature with the hope that it would be an interesting extension of her story story, or a similarly interesting adaptation of the original Little Red-Ridinghood story, but was sorely disappointed at what I found. There were no words in the program other than the initial “Once upon a not so far a way” that the “reader” clicks on. The plot would have been extremely confusing if I had not already known about the Angela Carter story. It begins with Little Red Riding-hood being handed a basket from her mom, then the “reader” clicks on a picture of a forest in order to shift to a scene with Little Red Riding-hood walking through a forest. wolfShe is followed by an animal that appears to be a raccoon, and then the scene changes to her being approached by boy with very hairy arms (who I know from the description is a boy/wolf).They don’t have much of an interaction other than looking at each other, and then little red riding-hood starts picking flowers and falls asleep in the middle of the forest.

The “reader” has the option of making her dream or just waking her up, and the dream is the most interactive portion of the story, but I was very confused as to the purpose/ what was happening Untitledduring the dream. It dead ends at this scene (which I don’t understand at all) for a few moments until you hear an alarm clock beeping, and return to Little Red Riding-hood laying in the field.

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The rest of the story moves very quickly, as the reader sees the wolf/boy approach the grandma, zoom in on her scared face, and then see little red riding-hood approach her grandma’s house. She finds the wolf/boy laying in the bed, and then the last scene is her laying on the bed. She appears to be pregnant (?) and the wolf creepily pulls up her eyelid as she is sleeping (or at least I hope she is sleeping and not dead).

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My experience with this work of electronic literature was similar to seeing a movie made out of a good book. Something about another person’s visualization of words isn’t satisfying.  I think that is the main reason why I am skeptical of electronic literature of this nature. Part of the experience of literature, mainly fiction and poetry, is the reader’s imagination. Nobody experiences texts the same way in their mind, and that is the beauty of it.  The black and white words on a page of a book become transformed into a vivd world in the reader’s mind, and I do not think that process should be expedited by someone else creating those images for us. When the experience involves images already present on the screen, it reduces the possibilities associated with a given work literature. While I am a die-hard fan of print literature, I can appreciate the merit of some forms of electronic literature that craft words in a different or unique way, such as the words flashing across the screen at different paces. Yet even so, I believe that part of the craft of writing is creating the same reading experience only using words and punctuation. Perhaps the craft of writing is expanding to include other techniques such as this, and I am still willing to include those types of works in the genre of “literature,” but nevertheless I find it less impressive. However, when electronic literature takes the form of “RedRidinghood,” where it is more of a video game, I do not believe it even comes close to counting as literature.

 

Longer Essay #2: Stud Poetry

Marko Niemi takes an interesting approach when creating his piece of electronic poetry called Stud Poetry. I found it to be completely distinct to all the other pieces of electronic and conceptual literature we have dealt with in class. Although we have already dealt with some that are structured like games, what makes Stud Poetry most interesting is the fact that one is gaining and loosing points. This aspect of the game made me more competitive and I wanted to play for longer. It is even structured like a competition, since one is playing against other “people,” who are undoubtedly not real because they are famous. One finds themselves playing against the literary figures: Paul Verlaine, Paul Valery, Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, and Jean Moreas, which can even transform the game into something more exiting.

The best way to describe this game of electronic poetry is by calling it poker game, but instead of using cards one uses words. Each card dealt has a single word and in order to win, one has to create the strongest five word hand of poetry. For example, in one of the rounds I played, I had in my hand an “observe” black spade. The other words on the table were fresh, nature, afar, rich, and skin. As one can see, one is creating a five word hand poem composed of rather simple words. Although this changes the whole nature of the game, it is still structured in a similar manner to poker. One can bet, call, raise, check and fold just like in a real poker match. There is even a button that allows one to change the pace that the game is moving by.

Overall, the webpage is designed in clear manner, which allows people like me, who are not computer savvy to manage the website easily. It is arranged in a grid. The left column is titled Poets, which includes the list of actual imaginary poets one is playing against and you. The next column is titled Money, and shows you how many chips you have. One originally starts off with a hundred. Then you have the stake column followed by the hand column, which shows you what word card you have and directly next to it, some of the revealed cards from the competitors are shown.

This is an aspect of the game I liked because when dealing with many of the other electronic literature we have seen in class, I felt like I had a hard time maneuvering the webpage, not only because I am not computer savvy but also because the websites were sometimes not clear. For example, when exploring Sarah Bailey’s longer essay two poem called Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw, it was not made clear to me what I had to click. I know it was about exploring, but it would have made it more interesting if the author gave the player something to look for.

The only aspect of the poem that by nature is flawed is the fact that the assigned value of each word is flawed. Not only is this un-measurable because there is no established value for words, but it really changes the nature of the game. It is not really about making the best five word poetry hand as possible, it is more about just getting the five most valuable cards possible. Even if someone has a hand that makes more sense, and is better quality, does not mean the person is going to win. One can even get repeated worlds and win more points just because the card has more value. In this sense, one can see how the game follows the rules of poker more faithfully than the rules of poetry. This transforms the electronic poetry into purely just a game.

In conclusion, I think that Stud Poetry, as piece of literature, does not really have great value. It is not that Marko Niemi did not have an interesting idea in mind, but the fact that it is hard to assign numerical value to words, especially when being arranged up to a sentence of six, makes it hard to convert Marko’s idea into a piece with literary value. Overall, the best way to evaluate Stud Poetry is within the whole realm of electronic literature. In this perspective, I think Marko Niemi has presented an innovative idea and is demonstrating some of the paths electronic literature can take in the future. It pushes the boundaries in a way that other electronic literature has not done, and as a result I think that it aid electronic literature reach its fullest literary potential in the future. No matter what, Stud Poetry was still very interesting and fun to play.

 

Black Womens Leggings – Leather Look

There is no doubt these black ladies leggings from dresshead online will turn heads anywhere you go! The leather look is always hot and sexy and wearing these will give any woman the thin and slim look they want. The slim line fit of these pants will definitely do your body favors. They are fit around the hips with subtle stitching and wearing them will add definition and curves to your hips. These leggings also feature pockets for your hands or belongings on both sides. These will quickly become one of your most reliable pair of pants, suitable for colder weather as well as lounging around the house. Pair them with a nice blouse for a dressy, youthful look. The waist size is65 cm and the hips are 86 cm. The length of the black womens leggings is 100 cm and the front crotch area is 27.5 cm. The after the crotch area is 34.5 cm.

Longer Blog Post #1 – The Feed and the Loss of Individuality

In this post I will examine Feed by M.T. Anderson and how this novel explores the melding together of humanity and technology and how, through this integration humanity itself is lost. The Feed is something that is transplanted into ones brain that allows them to instantly access databases and all manner of internet 2.0 type things any one can imagine. To begin, what is interesting about the ‘Feed’ itself is where the author decided to place it in his characters. The implant was placed directly into ones brain; this allowed for instant access to all manner of things, it also gave corporate interests direct access to your thoughts and personal information. The author, in determining the Feed should be placed inside someone head, is making a claim that there is no longer any boundary between man and machine. What distinguishes mankind from everything else is our ability to engage in logical, conscious thought, we are creatures of instincts in some ways, but we have the ability to consciously determine our own lives. In the modern era, while it is becoming harder to do so, we can consciously choose what messages to ignore, what advertisements to turn off or ‘x’ out of as quickly as possible. The internet now is just the beta version of what the Feed is in Anderson’s book. Already today corporations and data miners have the ability to arrange your Facebook home page to include advertisements targeting you. If you change your relationship status, within a week you’ll start getting online dating advertisements; if you ‘check in’ to a lot of local restaurants you may start seeing advertisements for other nearby restaurants. This is all happening now, but we can easily ignore it; there is a barrier between us and the machine. So perhaps, in this context we have still maintained our humanity. In the world of the Feed this separation is nonexistent. The Feeds allows private interests to interfere with your thoughts. In a sense, there is no way to exercise any type of control over your thoughts and interference from outside sources; they become one and the same. Before we go any further, there is a matter of human agency. In theory one can stop interacting with the feed, or perhaps not even get the implant (only 73% of people have it) but one has to wonder if there is really a choice here. To begin you have to receive the implant early, otherwise it will have dire health consequences (as Violet’s case shows), and on top of that, is it something one could simply refuse? To do so means communication between yourself and others may be significantly different, perhaps more difficult. If you were to get the Feed, how easy would it be able to tune out a finely working machine that gives you access to anything you want instantly, with products and information tailored to your consumer profile? The Feed seems to turn human agency on its head, rather than do nothing and remain disconnect as is the case today (social networks are available to most people but not all and its easy to stay off the grid if one chooses, also in order to get onto one of these sites it takes a conscious effort to sign up, upload pictures ect), in the world of the Feed, to do nothing is to succumb to the Feed and have your inner most self exposed to all who wish to see it. It takes conscious effort, a herculean effort to stay off of the Feed in Anderson’s book.

The Feed blurs the line between the individual, his/her ‘profile’ and the community and others on the Feed. It seems to degrade individuality into something simply based on what you choose to consume. Everything is part of a larger system except for your tailor made corporate profile, and that is merely a database on consumer preference. Titus experiences this loss of individuality when, at the end of the story, he cannot draw upon anything other than movie trailer quotes to attempt to describe his memories of Violet to her as she lay in a coma. There seems to be no individual experience, just shared ones, perhaps you could also make the leap that there is no individuality.

The novel also seems to suggest that too much technology may be bad for you. Those logged in to the Feed begin to develop lesions on their bodies which some seem to wear as a badge of honor. When Violet’s Feed begins to malfunction her body begins to rapidly deteriorate. Also in the dystopian future the air has become polluted beyond repair and the water has become toxified. All of these things show the negative side to too much technology. This story can be seen as sort of a warning of the not too distant future that awaits us if we don’t change somethings.