The Feed by Nick Clark Windo. Book Review

The Feed by Nick Clark Windo
Headline, h/b, 368pp, £16.99
Reviewed by martin willoughby

According to the blurb this has already been optioned for TV in a hotly contested competition. They say that like it’s a positive thing. That’s not to say it’s a bad book, it isn’t, but after reading it, I realised the story would work better as a TV show than a novel.

It certainly gives the impression it was conceived as a TV show, then written as a novel to give it an intellectual air before being made.

A bit Machiavellian, maybe, but would you put it past a TV company and a publisher?

The Feed referred to in the title is Facebook writ large. Not just on your screens, but in your eyes and your mind too. You communicate through it, you live through it, you get all your information and education through it. Once outside it, you can hear nothing, for no one talks.

The parts where The Feed is shown are expertly written and the author has obviously taken his time with those aspects of the book. It’s not just how the words and phrases melt into each other, but he’s managed to show in written form the ads, weblinks, and other extraneous pop ups that disturb most of our browsing ‘experience’ in the various social media available to us.

And it’s not the only good part. The descriptions of the world post-Feed are excellent. How nature has taken over, the way humanity has scattered and how local it has become.

Those of us old enough to remember the British TV series from the 70s, Survivors, will appreciate this.

The other interesting part is how it came to be. What caused the Feed to stop working and society collapse. There are hints in the early part of the book concerning the assassination of a US president and the take down of many corporations, but its only halfway through you find out what caused it, and I have to say it’s a good one. That reveal made the book worth reading.

I’ll leave you to find out what it is as telling you would spoil the whole book.

I’m not going to bother with the characters as they are standard TV tropes. Young and attractive people, children, older ones who remember what it was like before the Feed took over. There are the cynical ones, the violent ones, and the usual set of villains you’d expect to find in this type of novel and TV series.

Taken as a whole, it’s nothing spectacular and, if made, will make a decent TV series. Reading the novel will pass the time reasonably, but it’s not one to go out of your way to read.