cover image The Feed

The Feed

Nick Clark Windo. Morrow, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-265185-3

This heavily speculative postapocalyptic thriller complicates a basic what-if question—what if the internet were connected directly to people’s brains?—with somewhat ad hoc plot developments. When the brain-linking global network called the Feed collapsed, it took society with it. Six years later, Tom and Kate, a couple with a history of going “slow” (disconnecting from the Feed), struggle to get a viable survivor community going, and partial memories and rare hard-copy texts are their only sources of vital information. When their daughter, Bea, is kidnapped by outlaws who drive a horse-drawn, spike-covered minivan, Tom and Kate must quest through the new wilderness of abandoned suburbs and wreck-jammed highways, dealing with other suspicious survivors and settlements run by people whose original identities were overwritten through their Feed implants while they slept. Debut novelist Windo makes the loss of modern society very personal, with close portraits of how his characters are worn down by the basic work of premodern life. Unfortunately, his tendency to layer in greater and greater revelations breaks the sense of intimacy that comes from focusing on his forsaken internet addicts. Perhaps ironically, readers will struggle to connect with this novel. Agent: Sasha Raskin, United Talent Agency. (Mar.)