Now that Feedback has been out for a while and you’ve all hopefully had a chance to read it and Variant, I thought it would be fun to go back through the book and to discuss my thoughts about the book in more detail. I plan to blog about three chapters every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. (I did the same thing for Variant, the first of which can be found here.) These blogs will be FULL OF SPOILERS. They’ll be a little about the world, a little about the characters, and a lot about the writing process. Think of it like the Director’s Commentary on a DVD: a little behind-the-scenes look at how each chapter came to be. Hope you enjoy. BE PREPARED FOR SPOILERS. THESE BONUS FEATURES ARE WRITTEN ASSUMING YOU’VE READ THE ENTIRE BOOK–BOTH FEEDBACK ANDVARIANT, NOT JUST THE CHAPTERS MENTIONED. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
–Becky says that when she gets sick she has math dreams. That’s something that I get: when I have a fever I dream about impossible geometry problems. It’s very frustrating.
–This is where we see them putting together the pieces of the progression of the school, and where the importance of that “Steffen Metalworks” pipe comes in. I like Becky’s comments about the androids running on steam, because that would seem to make sense with what they know about the world and history. But that’s not how Maxfield works.
–When Jane says “That’s bad and good”, in response to the discussion about moving to a different facility for adults, it’s the first time in this book that we really see her scared mindset: she’s every bit as afraid of escape as her dupe was, and she thinks that maintaining the status quo is her best attempt at survival.
–As quirky as he is, and as overconfident as he is, Harvard has spent a lot of time on his theory, and he makes a lot of sense. And their explanation (that it’s the government that is keeping them there) makes perfect sense given their assumptions. The problem is that they’re not thinking big enough, or wild enough.
–I like the exchange with Mason. Mason points out to Benson “You never change”, but Mason doesn’t appear to have changed either. (We’ll see later that, yes, Mason does. But it’s because he reaches a desperate breaking point.)
–In a way, Benson’s actions here illustrate everything that Benson is about. He does something dangerous and impetuous and then gets other people involved in his plan almost against their will. Granted, Harvard is more than happy to get involved in the disection of Iceman, but it brings down Maxfield’s wrath on the whole town.
–I love Carrie, and how she is still completely in love with Curtis, even though he doesn’t actually know her.
–Becky counts the gangs, and gets at one of the key points of Variant: that The Society is not made up of androids: it’s made up of kids who are militant in their obedience. They are, like I talked about in that book, based on the Straight Edge gang, or on the kids in The Third Wave. Becky here is deflated to learn that they, who had been the bad guys, are almost entirely human. And so is Isaiah, their leader.
–The court here was originally written as a series of inquisitions or interrogations. It was interesting, but I found that it was more dynamic to include three different people getting interrogated at once. It made the pace faster, and it made the conversations more heated. It brought back some of the paranoia that had been so prevalent in Variant.
–And ultimately, this isn’t about Gabby or Skiver. This is an ambush for Isaiah, a trial for him. Well, less of a trial and more of a shaming and a sentencing. Isaiah doesn’t get to defend himself, and there’s no one there to defend him. I love this scene because, for as bad as Isaiah was, and as much as Birdman is correct on many issues, you really feel bad for Isaiah. You feel bad for Gabby and Jane and Shelley, too, and even bad for Benson and Becky. This is a scene where Birdman unleashes everything he has, let’s his power go to his head, and essentially orders a murder.