Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Feed, by Mira Grant

This week I reached into my wallet and bought a used copy of Feed, by Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire), first in a trilogy.  Time to give back.  And overall I am not sorry.  Feed was a fairly good feed for the action itch.  This is basically a YA novel, though it does have enough development of the zombie virus (that's how they become zombies in this book) to count as semi-hard SF.  The rest of the speculation--is not very speculative.  It's 2039, and there have been zombies since 2014.  Bloggers are closing in on traditional media (yep, happened already, as was said in the Afterwords) and we figure the traditional media to be in bed with the powers that be anyway (check, again).  But as suspense, the novel works fine.  Grant builds the story effectively, and has that martyr-cynical voice down very well, so it is convincing.  The plot carries along at a good but not hectic pace.  The ending is telegraphed, but somewhat deliberately so it isn't disappointing. 

Grant has bloggers in her story getting government-issued licenses and breaking down into classifications (Newsies , Fictionals , and Irwins ).  Irwins?  Really?  And SF writers do seem to be attracted to having people put labels on themselves, for whatever reason.  I hadn't seen that trope in awhile and it was something of a flashback.

So read this one for the strong and direct plot, and good execution.  The speculation, not so much.  It got nominated for the Hugo in 2011--one normally expects more ambition in awards--but you gotta round out the category, and the thirty-third installation in a shared universe won't cut it.  3 stars.

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