After I’d finished reading Kiln People, I was at a loss for what I wanted to read next. So, I asked Phillip what I should read next. A few seconds later, he replied, “Feed, by Mira Grant.” A few minutes after that, Feed was downloaded to my phone.
Feed, by Mira Grant, was published in 2010.
The story starts in northern California, between Santa Cruz and Berkeley. It’s the year 2040. Over two decades earlier, scientists created two different life-saving viruses. One cured the common cold and the other cured cancer. The two viruses combined, mutated, and unleashed a zombie outbreak referred to as “the Rising”. Now, the human population is surviving with multiple, well-established safeguards in place.
People carry on with their lives, pretty much as they did before – going to work, going to school, raising kids – only with more caution, more armor, more security, and a lot more blood tests.
People no longer catch colds, and cancer has been eradicated. But people do die from zombie attacks.
The narrator is twenty-something year old Georgia “George” Mason. George, her brother Shaun, and their friend Georgette”Buffy” Meissonier, run a video news blog. After the Rising, large-scale news organizations ceased operations, so blogs and other independent reporters are now the only sources of licensed, legitimate news.
(“Feed”, therefore, takes on a clever double meaning.)
In the language of the new journalism, George is a “Newsie”. She reports news in an objective, factual manner. Shaun is an “Irwin”. He takes a more hands-on approach, poking zombies with a long stick, so their movement can be recorded and reported. Buffy is a “Fictional”. She publishes fictional entertainment. Buffy is also the team’s technical support. Outside of their team, there are also “Stewarts”, who write editorials, and “Aunties”, who write uplifting human interest stories.
George, Shaun, and Buffy receive their big break when they are selected to follow the campaign of Senator Peter Ryman, a moderate politician seeking the Republican Party’s presidential nomination with a promise of transparency and honesty, as well as protection without extremism.
Senator Ryman’s strongest competition for the nomination, Congressman Tate, believes that if America had stronger faith and more guns, the zombie problem can be eliminated quickly.
The zombies in Feed are the standard zombies I’ve seen in several other books and movies. They rise from the dead, exist only to feed on the living, and a bite from them can turn a living person into a zombie. But there’s a twist. All those other fictional horror books and movies exist in the world of Feed. Buffy got her nickname from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Names like Georgia, George, and Georgette became popular baby names right after the Rising, because of George Romero, the famous director of horror films. People had seen fictional films like Night of the Living Dead, so they knew what to do when their family and neighbors actually began rising from the dead, and that makes George Romero a hero to a lot of people.
Feed is not a story about humans desperately fighting to survive a zombie uprising. (At least, that’s not the story’s main focus.) It’s a story about how a zombie uprising changed society. It’s a story about young people born into a society that has learned to live with fear.
But Feed is a story with zombies. There are attacks. There is violence. People do die.
I loved this book. I saw a lot of analogy in it. The world it created was well-crafted. The characters were believable. I want to read the rest of the Newsflesh trilogy.
Mira Grant is the pseudonym of Seanan McGuire, who I’d say is one of Phillip’s favorite authors.