Chapters: your face is not an organ–the moon is in the house of boring

Summary: your face is not an organ

Bored, or “null,” at home, the first-person narrator and his friends visit the moon for spring break. (In the following chapter, readers learn that the narrator’s name is Titus, and the friends are in high school.) Titus shares initial details about “the feed.” Although Titus doesn’t yet provide details on precisely what it is or how it’s connected to people, he says that as he and his friends fly to the moon, it provides information on where to stay and eat. It also sends Titus images of the moon that excite him at first. But when the spaceship flies over the moon’s surface, he says the experience isn’t so exciting, given he’s already visited. Before landing, Link Arwaker slams the back of his seat on Marty’s knees and Marty asks which organs he’ll smash next, prompting Link to say, “your face is not an organ.” Two of the group’s three girls, Calista and Loga, complain about Link and Marty’s behavior.

Summary: impact

On the moon, the friends’ feeds flare with banners advertising hotels and shops. Life there, Titus says, is much like it is on Earth, with simulated gravity and similar restaurants, including J. P. Barnigan’s Family Extravaganza, where the group eats. After failing to get into college-age parties at their hotel, they visit the Ricochet Lounge to float without gravity in mid-air, though they’re unimpressed. There, Titus becomes infatuated with a girl he sees observing the group. Titus also mentions the friends’ lesions, red sores that are now afflicting people, and that Link is especially tall and part of a secret experiment. The chapter concludes with chatter on the feed, promoting products including a car with vertical lift, a show where a star rides a gas sled in a chlorine storm on Jupiter, and a restaurant that mentions the word “chew” with a registration mark.

Summary: juice

The girl Titus becomes infatuated with dresses in gray wool, rather than plastic. Titus is awed by her beauty as she pushes juice from her mouth and watches it float.

Summary: the nose grid

Through the feed’s chat, Titus tells Link that the girl he is infatuated with is very hot. Quendy is upset that her lesion is spreading, but Loga says no one will notice. So, the friends ask the girl, who says it is fine because it is on the edge of her face grid. Link mentions his lesion, hoping to flirt with the girl and draw similar praise from her. She doesn’t flirt back, though; she makes a sarcastic joke, using the word “suppuration” (the process of producing pus), which the group needs to look up on their feeds. Marty also flirts with the girl, though she appears interested in Titus, who remains quiet. The girls fix Quendy’s hair to accentuate her lesion. The chapter ends with feed chatter, including banners for a show based on someone harvesting organs from their clone and a dance club called the Rumble Spot. The feed chatter also includes advertising images such as Coke flowing down mountainsides and cheek prostheses worn by the rich.

Summary: the moon is in the house of boring

The girl’s name is Violet and she is visiting the moon by herself. She joins the friends to visit a mall, where several buy products they don’t want or need, before passing people protesting the feed. At their hotel, Marty wants to party via a site that intoxicates visitors, but Violet isn’t interested, and the friends opt against it. Later at the Rumble Spot, Titus sees clothes he likes and his feed floods him with product info. Via chat, Violet scoffs when Titus says he is visited Mars and the whole planet was dumb. An old man yells, “We enter a time of calamity!”, and he hacks into people’s feeds. Those touched broadcast the signal through their feeds as the man relays a longer, ominous message about the world’s fate. Police beat the man and disconnect those hacked, including Titus and Violet, who hold hands before collapsing.

Analysis: Chapters: your face is not an organ–the moon is in the house of boring

Part I of feed, “moon,” is likely to confuse readers at first, but as the story proceeds and details emerge, it becomes easier to form a clearer picture about the novel’s setting, time, characters, language, and the feed. And although the novel’s opening paragraphs in “your face is not an organ” feel initially cryptic, they in fact reveal much about the life of its first-person narrator, Titus, along with his teenage friends Link, Marty, Calista, Quendy, and Loga. No specific year is given, though it’s clear from the start that feed occurs in the future, one marked by immense technological advancements, given that people can vacation on the moon. It’s clear, too, that Titus and his friends are entitled and live largely superficial lives. Bored on Earth, they decide to spring break on the moon, but when they arrive, Titus says he’s still bored, in part, because he’s visited before, and later reveals in “the moon is in the house of boring” that he also was unimpressed with his visit to Mars. Little seems to impress Titus and his friends, who only seem to be interested in partying and shopping.  

That Titus and his friends are bored, even on the moon, lends insight into the privileged, upper-class lives they lead. Their interests, also a result of their surroundings, aren’t surprising, given they live in a society that’s defined by consumerism, where even the moon has been commercialized and corrupted, and a restaurant can own the rights to the word “Chew®.” As they fly to and then land on the moon, their feeds flood them with ads for where to stay, shop, eat, gamble, and dance. And although the reader isn’t yet given details about the feed itself or how it works, it’s evident that each of the friends is connected to it technologically, and that its main goal is to create wants and compel users to blindly consume. 

In the “moon is in the house of boring,” for example, when the group visits a mall, Quendy purchases shoes then instantly dislikes them, and Marty buys a shirt simply because he can’t think of anything he really wants. Even as Titus first becomes infatuated with Violet, his soon-to-be girlfriend and fellow protagonist, at the Ricochet Spot in “impact,” his feed sends him banners for potstickers. In Titus’s world, consumerism trumps all, including human emotions. The feed also allows friends to immediately access entertainment and information, but the effect seems to have hindered their intelligence. When Violet readily uses a large word in “the nose grid,” for instance, all the friends need to look up its meaning on their feeds. 

The first chapters of “moon” also provide initial hints that the future world in which Titus and his friends live is dystopic. In addition to being connected to feeds that constantly flood them with promotions for futuristic products like “upcars” and cheek prostheses, people are also afflicted with lesions, or red sores, on their skin. Feed chatter at the end of “the nose grid” even speaks of a show based on a true story where someone harvests the organs of their clone. Driven solely by consumerism and barraged with advertising images like Coke flowing down mountainsides, characters also show initial signs of being disconnected from the natural world. 

When Violet dresses in wool, for example (one of the many attributes that distinguish her from Titus’s friends), Marty doesn’t even recognize the fabric or know it comes from an animal. Readers later get a stronger sense of just how connected characters are to the feed, and how dystopic their world is, in “the moon is in the house of boring,” when an old man hacks into people’s feeds so they’ll broadcast the message, “We enter a time of calamity!” Titus and Violet are among those hacked, and that they hold hands when they’re shut down and collapse is telling: The two seem destined for a deeper relationship, one where they might even connect on a human, rather than simply technological, level.