Chapters: awake–father

Summary: awake

Titus awakens, disconnected from the feednet, and opens his eyes.

Summary: college try

Titus realizes he is in a hospital with his friends and Violet, who chides him for trying to see through her hospital gown. Without the feed, they’re unsure what to do. 

Summary: boring

Titus says the room is boring, including its picture of a boat on water.

Summary: still boring

Titus learns all his friends, aside from Loga, were hacked. After a police officer tells them they’ll be “off-line” (47) until their systems are scanned for viruses, Titus says their heads feel empty.

Summary: missing the feed

Titus misses the feed and details its history while praising it for all it provides. In the past, he explains, computers existed outside the body, which he likens to carrying your lungs in a briefcase. When feeds were first implanted inside the body, Titus is unsure exactly when, they were touted as a means for users to instantly access educational information, but now, he says, the feed is everything: news, entertainment, and beyond all else, a vehicle to purchase products, one that anticipates users’ wants based on individual profiles built by corporations that track users’ purchasing decisions, thoughts, and feelings. Titus admits that concerns exist about the feed and the corporations, but insists the pros outweigh the cons. He then looks at the picture of the boat and again is irritated by it because no one is aboard it and looking at the horizon. 

Summary: cache & carry

Titus scans his cached files, including a message from the old man saying he had been hacked by the Coalition of Pity, and an expired clothing ad from Weatherbee & Crotch.

Summary: night, and boring

Later that night, Titus surmises that the group’s parents are likely now on the moon and that they’ll visit them in the morning. Thinking back on the day’s events, he recounts how the group of friends, still bored without their feeds, repeatedly tapped the pop song “I’ll Sex You In” on their food trays with their sporks. During the day, Link also finally woke up and repeatedly paced around the hospital room. Loga visited, and although she showed sympathy for her friends, she would also pause to chat their news to friends on Earth. At night, Violet sits near Titus and cries to him. She tells him that she is saddened and says she hoped to enjoy herself like normal kids but now has a problem. Titus is happy to be near her, though he is unsure what to say.

Summary: father

Titus’s father visits, but only briefly, and chats for much of his stay. Violet says her parents are too busy to visit.

Analysis: Chapters: awake–father

The second part of the novel, “eden,” reveals how essential the characters’ feeds are, and how adversely they affect their lives. In the aptly named chapter, “awake,” Titus wakes in a lunar hospital after the hack, now disconnected from the feednet. He’s unable to access GPS or chat with his friends, so he opens his eyes. It’s an especially significant moment, one that suggests that until now, he’s been living in the dark. Not surprisingly, though, Titus finds it difficult to adapt to the change. Entirely offline for the first time in his life, he’s unsure what to do, and after more of the friends wake up, Titus says their heads feel empty. Bored, Titus stares at a picture of a boat on water, which he says is especially boring because no one is on it, looking at the horizon. The empty boat mirrors the group’s empty minds without their feeds, but it also serves as a reminder to readers of how disconnected from nature those in Titus’s world are: Absorbed in their feeds, always driven to consume, they no longer see or appreciate the natural world. 

It is no wonder. In “missing the feed,” Titus explains how feeds are now hardwired inside people’s bodies, and he even likens them to lungs, organs that are essential to human life. And to Titus and his friends, it seems they are. Implanted since birth, feeds provide news, entertainment, and a vehicle to purchase an endless stream of products. Astute readers will surmise that feeds also supply users with a fair share of propaganda and that Titus has fallen for it: Likely repeating lines he’s been fed throughout his life, Titus says the best thing about the feed is that it anticipates, and even creates, users’ wants based on individual profiles. Such profiles, he adds, are generated by corporations that track users’ purchasing decisions, thoughts, and feelings. That Titus defends this invasive data mining, and doesn’t see his hardwired feed as intrusive, speaks to how deeply he’s been living in the dark, how readily he accepts what he’s been handed, and how dependent he is on his feed.

It is clear, too, that a lifelong connection to the feed has caused the characters in feed to become cold and emotionally detached. When Loga, the only friend from the group who wasn’t hacked, visits the hospital room, she spends much of her time chatting to friends back on Earth. Even Titus’s father is unable to connect with his son. Like Loga, he chats on his feed for much of his visit, only stays for a short while, and fails to provide any comforting words to his son. There is something very different about Violet, however. She is able to feel and even cries to Titus as she hints that something is now wrong with her. But just like his father and friends, Titus has no idea how to feel, or how to comfort her.