Imagine a tiny nanomachine that has one function in life: to grab a molecule or an assembly of several molecules, and to move it a very short distance. Take many billions of these nanomachines and arrange them in a line. You now have a 'bucket brigade' that can be used to transport one type of molecule from one place to another. Now, take many of these lines and cluster them together, connect one end to a Source (essentially a factory that takes in air and water, and spits out neatly sorted atoms, molecules and molecule assemblies) and connect the other end to a matter compiler. This is a Feed.

The Feed has one or two other functions besides carrying raw building material. Computers can pull water ice off the feed to use for refrigeration, and return warm water. Each Feed line is centered around a vacuum tube which is used to evacuate matter compilers while they are in use, so nothing can disturb the fragile arrangement of molecules as it 'grows'. The Feed lines also serve as carriers of electrical power. Finally, the Feed is bidirectional - matter compilers can also decompile anything which came out of them in the first place, returning its component parts to storage facilities at the Source.

In The Diamond Age, the matter compiler is an integral part of most of society. Massive artificial islands built offshore with Sources at their centers are linked by gargantuan Feed lines to the mainland. These Feeds are usually topped by bridges, for the islands around the Sources are big enough for many to live on, and are usually inhabited by the New Atlantans (also known as the Neo-Victorians or Vickys). Feeds are built into every new building, but in places where there are pre-existing buildings - for instance, the older districts of London or Shanghai - Feed lines are carried on overhead poles or fixed to walls.

Feed usage is monitored for suspicious activity. For that reason, certain unscrupulous (or merely paranoid) individuals have their own private Sources.

Perhaps this should be an idea, not a thing...

By M. T. Anderson
Candlewick Press, 2002

Feed is a YA dystopian Science Fiction novel, a psuedo-transhumanism tragicomedy. It is a fairly good example of YA cyberpunk, although completely lacking in hackers.

Titus is a perfectly normal teenager -- he goes to SchoolTM, he buys what his feed tells him is brag, and he talks like a lobotomized chimp. But one day, while on a trip to the Moon (which completely sucked), he meets a strange girl. Violet reads, she uses words like 'suppuration' and 'autumnal', and she intentionally tries to manipulate her feed... There's really no reason for Titus be be attracted to her, but he is.

Which would be brag, except that what really meg-sucks is that some old dude at the club zaps them with some kind of thing that completely shuts down their feeds. Titus, Violet, and Titus' various other friends all end up in a hospital ward without anything -- no chat, no music, no TV, no shopping, not even the ability to zonk out on some malware. Which, after they get used to the big hole in their minds, turns out to be okay.

And then they get their feeds fixed, and everything goes back to the way it was. Except that Violet has all of these crazy ideas, like that killing all of the trees was a bad idea, or that oceans should be clean enough to swim in, or that the mega-corporations might not be entirely on their side. Which actually fits in well with what's happening in the world, which appears to be falling apart. The mysterious lesions that are affecting the younger generation are getting worse, other countries are threatening severe consequences if America doesn't shape up, and people keep putting on protests, even if they aren't really sure why.

As far as stories of the future go, this is a pretty good setting. The future is quite futurey, there are nice little touches -- like the ambient background radiation being so high that traditional sex is no longer a functional method of producing children. On the other hand, the book is written from the perspective of teeagers from the future!, which naturally means not only a lot of swearing and acting dumb, but also a layer of made-up slang words. I also take issue with the ending, which was really just mega-depressing. But I have to admit, if you like depressing tales, this one is inventive and entertaining, and somewhat better than the average YA SF tale.

ISBN-10: 0763662623
ISBN-13: 978-0763662622

Feed (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Fed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Feeding (?).] [AS. fdan, fr. fda food; akin to C?. fdian, OFries fda, fda, D. voeden, OHG. fuottan, Icel. faea, Sw. foda, Dan. fode. 75. See Food.]


To give food to; to supply with nourishment; to satisfy the physical huger of.

If thine enemy hunger, feed him. Rom. xii. 20.

Unreasonable reatures feed their young. Shak.


To satisfy; grafity or minister to, as any sense, talent, taste, or desire.

I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. Shak.

Feeding him with the hope of liberty. Knolles.


To fill the wants of; to supply with that which is used or wasted; as, springs feed ponds; the hopper feeds the mill; to feed a furnace with coal.


To nourish, in a general sense; to foster, strengthen, develop, and guard.

Thou shalt feed people Israel. 2 Sam. v. 2.

Mightiest powers by deepest calms are feed. B. Cornwall.


To graze; to cause to be cropped by feeding, as herbage by cattle; as, if grain is too forward in autumn, feed it with sheep.

Once in three years feed your mowing lands. Mortimer.


To give for food, especially to animals; to furnish for consumption; as, to feed out turnips to the cows; to feed water to a steam boiler.

7. Mach. (a)

To supply (the material to be operated upon) to a machine; as, to feed paper to a printing press.


To produce progressive operation upon or with (as in wood and metal working machines, so that the work moves to the cutting tool, or the tool to the work).


© Webster 1913.

Feed, v. i.


To take food; to eat.

Her kid . . . which I afterwards killed because it would not feed. De Foe.


To subject by eating; to satisfy the appetite; to feed one's self (upon something); to prey; -- with on or upon.

Leaving thy trunk for crows to feed upon. Shak.


To be nourished, strengthened, or satisfied, as if by food.

"He feeds upon the cooling shade."



To place cattle to feed; to pasture; to graze.

If a man . . . shall put in his beast, and shall feed in anothe man's field. Ex. xxii. 5.


© Webster 1913.

Feed (?), n.


That which is eaten; esp., food for beasts; fodder; pasture; hay; grain, ground or whole; as, the best feed for sheep.


A grazing or pasture ground.



An allowance of provender given to a horse, cow, etc.; a meal; as, a feed of corn or oats.


A meal, or the act of eating.


For such pleasure till that hour At feed or fountain never had I found. Milton.


The water supplied to steam boilers.

6. Mach. (a)

The motion, or act, of carrying forward the stuff to be operated upon, as cloth to the needle in a sewing machine; or of producing progressive operation upon any material or object in a machine, as, in a turning lathe, by moving the cutting tool along or in the work.


The supply of material to a machine, as water to a steam boiler, coal to a furnace, or grain to a run of stones.


The mechanism by which the action of feeding is produced; a feed motion.

Feed bag, a nose bag containing feed for a horse or mule. -- Feed cloth, an apron for leading cotton, wool, or other fiber, into a machine, as for carding, etc. -- Feed door, a door to a furnace, by which to supply coal. -- Feed head. (a) A cistern for feeding water by gravity to a steam boiler. (b) Founding An excess of metal above a mold, which serves to render the casting more compact by its pressure; -- also called a riser, deadhead, or simply feed or head Knight. -- Feed heater. (a) Steam Engine A vessel in which the feed water for the boiler is heated, usually by exhaust steam. (b) A boiler or kettle in which is heated food for stock. -- Feed motion, ∨ Feed gear Mach., the train of mechanism that gives motion to the part that directly produces the feed in a machine. -- Feed pipe, a pipe for supplying the boiler of a steam engine, etc., with water. -- Feed pump, a force pump for supplying water to a steam boiler, etc. -- Feed regulator, a device for graduating the operation of a feeder. Knight. -- Feed screw, in lathes, a long screw employed to impart a regular motion to a tool rest or tool, or to the work. -- Feed water, water supplied to a steam boiler, etc. -- Feed wheel Mach., a kind of feeder. See Feeder, n., 8.


© Webster 1913.

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