Mark Reads ‘Feed’: Chapter 13

In the thirteen chapter of Feed, Georgia makes an awkward request of Peter Ryman in order to get the truth about the farm. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Feed.

Chapter Thirteen

Not until I looked into the faces of presidential candidate Peter Ryman and his wife and informed them that the body of their eldest daughter had just been cremated by federal troops outside their family ranch in Parrish, Wisconsin.

This tears me up so much because the Ryman represent nice things. They are nice people, Ryman’s platform is reasonable, he treats the bloggers with the respect they deserve, they want the world they live in to operate under a sense of hope, and they’d found a way to achieve normalcy in a chaotic world. And now, someone has taken that away from them.

Oh, I’m well aware I am being accusatory right now. I have no doubt that Georgia and Shaun are going to find evidence at the farm that the attack on the Ryman family was intentional. I can’t believe it was an accident. Too many people died for this to just be a freak, random occurrence, and given that there’s already been an attack on the Ryman camp in the past, I’m gonna be suspicious as fuck about the circumstances around the loss of Rebecca and her grandparents.

I suppose I should have seen this coming when it was revealed that the Rymans operated a horse farm. Who could pass up the opportunity to write about “postamplification horses”? That is some terrifying imagery. Zombie horses trying to eat the guts of federal authorities. Good lord. Still, I can’t believe I am sad about the death of a character I never even met. What is this book doing to me?

I wasn’t surprised, although I must admit that I was more than slightly disappointed when it was announced that Governor Tate would accompany Senator Ryman on the ballot.

OH, YOU ARE FUCKING KIDDING ME. I mean… damn it, I hate how practical this is. It really is a good move in terms of political maneuvering. It attracts the most possible voters, including the hard right wing contingent, and yet I STILL CHOOSE TO HATE IT. I know that it’s going to be entertaining, I am eager to see Georgia get in fights with that bigot every five minutes, but I STILL CHOOSE TO DISLIKE GOVERNOR TATE. That is my right as an American.

The funeral scene is one of many chances in this chapter for Grant to further give us more of her worldbuilding. I mean, you can’t even have normal burials. The vast majority of people are cremated to avoid the chance for amplification. Again, it’s why this zombie story is so different from everything else I’ve ever read in the genre. Not since World War Z has so much time been spent developing the details of a society post-zombie apocalypse. (Though, spoilers, gung obbx qrnyf zber jvgu gur cer-mbzovr jbeyq naq npghny jne guna gur nsgrezngu.) Some of that is personal, too. Georgia’s fear of “poorly defended areas” is totally natural to her. She’s grown up in a world where our Zombie Survival Game is real. At all times, she’s got to think about how she’ll escape in case there’s an outbreak. Even then, given the nature of Kellis-Amberlee, she might be killed just by being exposed to the virus anyway.

(Note: My god, I love the relationship that George and Shaun have. It reminds me of the wordless nature of my twin and I. We often don’t need to say anything to communicate volumes.)

All of this leads Georgia to question the tragedy at the ranch. She doesn’t communicate that directly to Peter Ryman, instead choosing to frame it as a way for her team to “reduce trespassers looking for a little excitement,” as Ryman puts it. If they can confirm there’s nothing interesting there, then perhaps the media could move on from this tragedy in some part. Ryman buys it (why shouldn’t he?), and Shaun’s joy at learning where they’re going next is infectious. I knew he’d be excited. However, my favorite part of this is Buffy’s interjection. She’s not one to ever be confrontational, so it feels very significant that she decides to question Georgia’s journey to the camp. Buffy provides a lot of necessary comic relief, but I’m glad to see her developed as a thoughtful, serious character. Here, she questions just how far they need to go for a story. It’s a hopeful moment because now I know there’s someone on the team willing to question the group’s motives and actions. That’s a rad thing to have.

I am very eager to get to the farm, and I hope it happens in the next chapter. This book has had a long bout of exposition (that I’ve loved!), but now it’s time for the plot to kick into high gear. While I am expecting some sort of terrifying discovery, I get the sense that I’m still quite unprepared for what happens next. BRING IT ON.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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