In the tenth chapter of Feed, Georgia navigates the convention center in Oklahoma City on Super Tuesday, eager to see if she’ll continue working for the Ryman campaign. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Feed.
I still feel like something truly terrible is just waiting around a corner. I CAN’T HELP IT.
I had no idea that American politics would focus so heavily in this book, so it’s kind of neat that the 2012 Presidential election is going down at the same time I’m reading this. We just went through nominations and party conventions, too. So chapter ten is very relevant to the world right now, and god, I JUST LEARNED SO MUCH MORE ABOUT THIS WORLD.
Tensions are pretty high in the Ryman camp post-sabotage, and for good reason. The sabotage was a poor attempt at assassination, but it was still an act of terrorism regardless. Yeah, so American federal law has been updated to designate using Kellis-Amberlee as weapon as terrorism. It’s in these details that I appreciate what Grant has done in this book. It’s like she spent years thinking of every aspect of human life, all possible social interactions, all issues of American culture, and examined how they’d be changed by Kellis-Amberlee. And because her zombie infection passes different, she made the job all the more challenging for herself. Yet time and time again, she appears to have thought of everything. That’s really evident when Georgia reveals that she’s had to condition herself mentally to be (somewhat) comfortable in a public setting. Her generation has grown up without public sports. They don’t have as many conventions. There is probably no live music anymore, unless it’s all streamed online, I’m guessing. No parties of more than just close friends, and certainly no political conventions, either. This is something that I just take for granted. I mean, I have a whole lot of social anxiety myself, and I get claustrophobic in big crowds, but this isn’t based on a fear that at any moment, I could be eaten alive by a zombie. It’s a very unique emotional state for Georgia to grow up in, and I’m fascinated by the depth by which Grant details zombie America. It’s interesting, too, because it’s not annihilated. I’m so used to zombie movies and stories being about the end of the world, and Newsflesh takes place after the world has been (somewhat) repaired. Back when I started this book, I wanted to know what would set this apart from all the other tropes and archetypes I was familiar with in the zombie genre.
Well, this is one of those things, and I love it.
There are just so many people in this chapter. I’m not even that far into Feed, and I’ve already become accustomed to the fact that there just aren’t groups of people hanging around all the time. I forget that there are other reporters and that they’re not Georgia Mason. Yes, she’s got her own fears and her own anxieties, but she’s far more capable than all of the others, at least as Newsie. I think that’s why I was able to pick up on the cultural differences between modern life and Georgia’s world. When Georgia is upset about something, that means it must be pretty bad. So when she stepped into the “three-ring circus” that was the convention center, I got nervous myself. IS THIS WHERE SHIT WOULD GO DOWN? I honestly was half-expecting it. Hell, one of the safety measures of the place is the existence of the “Death Trap,” which seals everyone inside in case of an infection. THAT’S PLEASANT. So when Georgia described the sensation she felt in that place as “wrong,” I believed her. And that’s the power of good world-building. I can feel like I live inside this world and understand it.
I don’t know that I have anything interesting to say about Dennis Stahl just yet. He seems to respect Georgia and her work, but I didn’t pick up on any clues as to what purpose he serves in the narrative. Mostly, I was just entertained by all the tiny things that Grant revealed while Georgia made her way through the convention hall. There’s an Urban Survival Barbie!!! That’s pretty rad. And Starbucks survived the zombie apocalypse. Who knew? Most people vote electronically, which makes sense, considering that any journey outside is dangerous by default. Then I started wondering what the Democratic platform was in this fictional world. Ryman seems rather left-of-center for a Republican. Of course, the Republican Party could have changed its own vision and platform over time compared to what I know of them today. What exactly would a Democrat in zombie America believe that Ryman doesn’t?
Also, I’m way into Chuck/Buffy. GET IT, GIRL.
I am going to guess that the idea of pedestrian routes, which Georgia explains in detail here, will come up again and have relevance to the story. I admit that I expected something to break out in the convention center; I had this idea that Grant’s foreshadowing was actually super obvious, but I’m glad to be proved wrong. The remainder of the tenth chapter involves no more attacks or attempts at sabotage. Instead, we’re introduced to Robert Channing, Ryman’s chief aide, who is a ball of energy and hatred, and I kind of like him already. He’s so crude in the most honest way possible. Plus, I noticed that I tend to gauge my reaction to new characters based on how Georgia reacts. I do! She has good taste! She’s an excellent judge of character! So if she likes him, I do, too.
I continue to like Peter Ryman and his sensible… sensibleness. His impromptu interview really drives home why he’s so likable. I believe him. His sincerity is real. He’s genuine. I feel like he really is who he presents himself as. I guess I’m so used to characters with secret motivations that it’s refreshing that he’s just good. That makes me think that something else is going to provide the main conflict of this book. I suppose the assassination attempt might be related to this, but I’m not entirely sure. We’ll have to see if anything happens at the Republican National Convention. Oh god, is that going to be even bigger than Super Tuesday? I bet so.
While chapter ten doesn’t open with a blog post, it ends with one that I AM CALLING AS TOTAL FORESHADOWING. Georgia details the importance of the Raskin-Watts trial and how it relates to terrorism. I absolutely believe that some religious extremist would use an apocalyptic event for their own purpose, but shit, these two fucked up. They killed so many people in the name of their fundamentalist religion.
However, I’ll just go ahead and state that this is clearly foreshadowing:
Some lines were never meant to be crossed, however good your cause may seem.
TOTALLY FORESHADOWING, RIGHT??? Oh god, what’s going to happen?
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