Author: M.T. Anderson
SF Teen Anderson
This brilliantly ironic satire is set in a future world where television and computers are connected directly into people’s brains when they are babies. The result is a chillingly recognizable consumer society where empty-headed kids are driven by fashion and shopping and the avid pursuit of silly entertainment—even on trips to Mars and the moon—and by constant customized murmurs in their brains of encouragement to buy, buy, buy.
Anderson gives us this world through the voice of a boy who, like everyone around him, is almost completely inarticulate, whose vocabulary, in a dead-on parody of the worst teenspeak, depends heavily on three words: “like,” “thing,” and the second most common English obscenity. He’s even made this vapid kid a bit sympathetic, as a product of his society who dimly knows something is missing in his head. The details are bitterly funny—the idiotic but wildly popular sitcom called “Oh? Wow! Thing!”, the girls who have to retire to the ladies room a couple of times an evening because hairstyles have changed, the hideous lesions on everyone that are not only accepted, but turned into a fashion statement. And the ultimate awfulness is that when we finally meet the boy’s parents, they are just as inarticulate and empty-headed as he is, and their solution to their son’s problem is to buy him an expensive car.
Although there is a danger that at first teens may see the idea of brain-computers as cool, ultimately they will recognize this as a fascinating novel that says something important about their world. (Ages 14 and older) —Patty Campbell