The Currency of the Truth | Feed by Mira Grant

Imagine the United States in 20 years time. Is your mind filled with the hopes of medical and technological advancements that have improved the lives of everyone? In a perfect world, these hopes would be goals, but we all know that this world of ours is flawed to the core.

7094569In Feed, Grant imagines the U.S. after surviving a zombie apocalypse. This is post-apocalyptic world like none other I’ve read. The government survived and the average citizen’s way of life has comfortably adjusted to the constant threat of zombies and their infection. This world was a refreshing take on the genre as it definitely instilled more hope in humankind’s acclimation to disaster than most post-catastrophe imaginings.

The story follows Georgia and Shaun Mason as they become the first bloggers to be a part of the official press for the upcoming presidential election. They are thrust into the world of politics and they have been tasked with more than what they bargained for. Before too long, they are beginning to uncover a conspiracy that threatens to kill more than just themselves.

Whilst Feed is a fast-paced romp with enthusiastic characters and a thrilling plot, what sold me was the commentary made about the media. Conspiracies and lack of trust in the media were more infectious than the zombie virus. This is surprisingly apt since this book was written before the scourge of “fake news” that erupted around the 2016 presidential election.

In this world, traditional sources of media had let the public down at the beginning of the zombie virus outbreak. This led to bloggers becoming a more trusted news source. Bloggers went out into the world that everyone was afraid of and figured out how to survive, or died trying. Their bravery and quest for the truth made them famous as many relied solely on the internet to know the goings on of the world.

Since this book is set around a presidential campaign, it wasn’t hard to see the relevance of this book regarding the trust of the press during and after the 2016 election. I found it utterly fascinating how bloggers, who were steadily gaining significance in the world of news, filled the glaring holes left by traditional sources of media. Bloggers literally defined their legitimacy by consistently proving that they were worth their merit. The backdrop of faithlessness in traditional media promoted the image that bloggers were the ultimate truth crusaders. The traditional newsroom had no place in this brave new world. It was only those willing to risk it all who could be trusted with delivering information that could potentially save or end lives.

Whilst we have not seen a steady increase in blogger legitimacy in the eight years after Feed was first published, there has been a noticeable decrease in the overall trust in our media sources. Over the last few years I have become overwhelmingly distrustful of headlines and mainstream news sources. If I can’t know their biases upfront then I have trouble putting faith in the information they are trying to sell me. I find myself cross-referencing sources to illuminate subtle prejudices and locate a clearer version of the truth. I personally don’t have a lot of faith in traditionally media sources because the veins of their financial lifeblood is shrouded by the veil of large companies, which leaves consumers blind to their purpose. 

Bloggers tend to have clearer purpose. They are likely to be driven by a passion for telling the news or for plugging their opinions. The longer you invest in a blogger’s content, the clearer their purpose becomes and the foundation of trust can start really settle down. This happened for me when I first started watching Philip DeFranco on YouTube. He is relatively transparent with his business and opinions so that even when we disagree on certain topics, which happens every now and then, I can still rely on the information to be certifiably honest. This doesn’t mean that I believe every word that comes out of his mouth, but because I have watched him for many years, there is an existing faith in the quality of the information. Over time, this has led me to trust him as a source of media over traditional, mainstream sources.

Post-2016 election, consumer discretion regarding their trust in news sources is a necessary skill to survive our brave new world. We may not have had to deal with a zombie outbreak but the world of news have drastically changed since the election. As media consumers in 2018, who undoubtedly wish to mentally survive the scourge of “fake news” and the most disastrous U.S. election, it is our prerogative to become both discerning and critical of the media we place our trust in. We need to prioritise the value of our trust to avoid becoming infected with lies, hate, and faithlessness. 

Feed was an excellent read that inspired some thoughts about the current state of the truth in our news sources. The main plagues in Feed are present in our modern society and it seriously shouldn’t take a zombie virus outbreak for us to realise the imperfections of our world. Feed reminds us that regardless of these societal flaws, the truth is out there for anyone brave enough to seek it.

Are you brave enough to seek the truth?

Don’t wait for the end of the world to find out.

Rating – 4.5 stars

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Weekly Wrap Up | 15th July

In lieu of a video that I’d wanted to make but lacked the energy to do, I am here to wrap-up and give mini reviews of the books I was able to finish this week. I finished two books this week and I enjoyed both to varying degrees.

golden son

The first book I finished was Golden Son by Pierce Brown, which is book two in the Red Rising trilogy. I will try and keep this review spoiler-free for both Golden Son and the first book, Red Rising.

Golden Son continues the story about a year after the events at the end of Red Rising. Darrow is trying to maintain power and influence in the world of the Golds when everyone is out to get everyone. It’s a kill or be killed atmosphere that Darrow must navigate if he is to realise the revolution that the Sons of Ares wish for.

I enjoyed Red Rising but my main gripe with it was with how the pacing impacted my ability to connect with the story and characters. Golden Son’s pacing issues felt more severe and I found it hard to connect with what was happening. The story started off with a bang, which was a little disorienting since there was a decent gap between the end of Red Rising and the beginning of Golden Son. I felt flustered in trying to get a grip with who and what was happening that I never quite got over. The book seemed to introduce something intricate and intense but then simmer down to boardroom politics or Darrow whingeing, and this gear shift created a lingering sense of disconnect from the wold Pierce Brown had created. This meant that for most of the story, whilst still fun but occasionally slow and boring, I really couldn’t care. A bit unfortunate considering how epic of a story it actually is.

I did enjoy this book. The gala scene and ensuing chaos was pure excellence. The intensity of that scene carried me onwards to what turned into a fantastic ending. When I finished the book, I was left staring into oblivion with my beating heart in my mouth. For a book that I had felt mostly passive about, that ending shook me to my core.

The last third of the book redeemed itself. Darrow began to assess himself and become vulnerable with the people around him. This made it possible for me to begin to care about his plight like I hadn’t been able to yet in this series.

Though I started to feel more connected to Darrow towards the end, I really stuck with this book for Sevro. Knowing more about him and seeing him be his wicked, goblin self. He is truly a character like no other and it’s gorydamn awesome.

I feel Golden Son fell into the trap that most second books in trilogies fall into; it was a bridging story that left a lot to be desired. Even though it fell into serious lulls, the exciting parts were extremely intense to the extent that it makes the book enjoyable for all its flaws. I am excited to read the next and final part in this story.

Rating – 3 ½ stars


people in treeThe other book I finished this week was The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara. I had picked this one up after having my heart ripped out by A Little Life. I knew these novels would be different, thank goodness, but they are both smart novels, and upon finishing this one, I am eager for any new releases by Yanagihara.

The People in the Trees is a fictional memoir of Norton Perina, the doctor who “discovered” that a mysterious Pacific tribe had utilised the properties of a native turtle to unnaturally extend their lives. After becoming famous for his scientific discovery, he spent the rest of his life taking care of his adopted children that are from the island. Having been convicted on pedophilia charges, his memoir is written whilst he is in prison and is edited by a close friend who has remained steadfastly loyal. He recounts his life before, during, and after becoming famous for discovering the turtle and proving its magical properties.

The thing that struck me about this book was the perspective. It was utterly fascinating. The novel opens with a preface from the friend who is editing his memoir. His friend details how Norton’s life was “unfairly” destroyed by the criminal charges. This preface magnificently sets up the perspective the novel is intended to be understood through. In my opinion, this technique was masterful and reflective of Yanigihara’s erudition. I am literally stunned that this is her debut.

The friendly editor of Norton’s memoir implicitly states in the preface that he is biased towards Norton. This lets the reader know that we are only seeing one side of the story and whilst we may not agree with it, we are being persuaded to do so. The reader is constantly reminded that the memoir is edited by a close friend, so it is impossible to forget that the perspective is biased towards positivity and flawlessness.

However, as a critical reader, we know that Norton is not a great guy. He is a convicted pedophile and he recounts memories of how he enjoyed using and killing animals in lab experiments. Norton’s fragile ego is merely implied since he is the narrator and he is quite narcissistic. This conclusion is implied by the perspective, since the reader is constantly aware that the account is biased, it is implicit that every opinion or judgement requires further examination. We can’t take Norton’s word at face value because of the perspective and this in itself is an interesting technique of storytelling manipulation. It was an extremely smart way of subtly developing depth in Norton’s character.

Since the perspective is Norton’s, who is heralded as a father of scientific discovery, the idea that the pursuit of science and knowledge is promoted over the preservation of culture. This prioritisation creates an effect the resembles colonialism. Science moves in and overtakes O’Ivu, since the pursuit of science is more important than their culture or community. This theme appears boldest in the novel. The scary comparisons to colonialism implicitly illustrates the consequences of this prioritisation.

The consequence of the theoretically amoral quest for knowledge of eternal life is the actual denigration of humanity itself, as is shown in the impact of the misuse of the mystical turtle. The capture and eventual extinction of the native turtles further evokes images of colonisation. Norton does not emote regret over this, just a sense of inevitability, that he is aware that science has a right of way with the hope for knowledge. The risk of this quest for eternal life for humanity, is the loss of humanity itself.

In the same way that Norton is presented in a biased way, so is the pursuit of science. Science is like God so it is imperatively good. Any negative consequences do not in itself cancel the goodness but are brought about by the reader’s critique. They are outside science, just as they are outside the goings on of the novel. It is only through individual critique that we find flaws in Norton and his search for scientific discovery. The pursuit of science is also the silent death of innocence, which is shown in Norton’s fraught relationship with his brother and his many children. The accusation by his child shows just how innocence, and possibly karma, can rally against Norton, the pariah of reason and scientific progress. The subtly of the critique that Yanagihara set up for the reader blew my mind away. If anything, I am very impressed.

Rating – 4 stars


I quite enjoyed reading these books and especially loved critiquing The People in the Trees. It feels like a book that could be re-read for endless examination. I am glad to have read both of them.

Thank you for reading. Happy Reading!

Trio of Reviews | Necrotech, Where Am I Now?, Gone with the Wind

Maybe one day I will be able to keep up with reviews on my blog, but I have not yet reached that time in my life. I’ve decided to lump together three recent reads for me that have taken up most of the second half of December. I’ve enjoyed all of these books, which makes them wonderful to end the year on.

Necrotech by K.C. Alexander31128541

Action packed and super fast paced. Set in a post-apocalyptic city that is run by mega corporations that keep track of everyone through SIN (Security Identification Number). Though some get off the grid by becoming saints who are SINless.

Riko is one unsaintlike saint who wakes up with without her memories and a lot of people to hurt to find why. She is a kickass mercenary with metaphorical balls of steel.

In this world, there is incorporated tech – tech which is incorporated into flesh. At birth, when SIN is incorporated, so is nanotech and they help with healing. If they get overloaded by either exertion or too much incorporated tech, then the tech will take over and control the body. This is called necrotech because essentially the body is dead but the tech fuels the body to kill. Therefore we get electronic powered zombies. This concept is so flipping cool and was so much fun.

This book does diversity right. Main character is bisexual and disabled (missing arm), plus the side characters are Indian, and these characters are incorporated without their traits being plot points. Really enjoyed that.

Overall, this book was epic. Cyberpunk adventure time with zombies and intrigue. I’m hooked.

4 out of 5 stars

Where Am I Now? – Mara Wilson29429875

Mara Wilson is an interesting person who has been off my radar since Matilda and Mrs Doubtfire. This memoirs describes the times in-between and I have to say that she has become a truly inspiring person. Some parts of her book really resonated with me. In particular the part about her realising she has OCD as well as the part about high school choir. I loved the chapter about the Matilda-Whore Complex where she discusses trying to become her own person outside of her “cute” reputation as Matilda and how this point of her life was a turning point for her own individuality. I think that I could connect with this transition in her life despite the child acting career. I think we all go through transitory periods where we go through who we think we should be in the eyes of others, and Mara discussing working up the courage to embrace herself was really beautiful. I listened to this as an audiobook and hearing her tell her stories was a wonderful experience.

4 out of 5 stars

Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell237241

After years of being nagged by my mum to read this hefty tome so that she watch the movie with me, I finally picked it up, and surprisingly, I couldn’t put it down. I was utterly captivated by Scarlett. I can’t remember the last time I admired a character so much. She was so interesting and masterfully crafted. She was so stubbornly and unfailingly herself that it was wonderful to witness time and time again through the plot. She was such a strong character and I adored her.

Not only was Scarlett amazing, but every character was fully fleshed out and made real for me. Melanie felt like a close friend, Ashley an abandoned teddy that you wanted to hug and never let go. And Rhett. He was a treasured character. The right amount of perfect for this spanning tale of love, loss and war.

I hadn’t realised going in that it was going to have such a heavy focus on the war and the politics of the time, and really it was ridiculously interesting since I know nothing of the American Civil War. It was thrilling to read. After Scarlett and Melanie’s retreat back to Tara, the book almost had a post-apocalyptic feel to it, because their entire lives had been irreversibly changed. I love seeing well-developed characters react and adapt to completely new lifestyles. It was such a fun ride to watch them all grow.

4 out of 5 stars