Well, if this doesn’t have you deleting your social media accounts I don’t know what will! This is a dual chronology, dual POV, debut novel of dystopian disturbance from Megan Angelo, a former editor of Glamour Magazine. With one time frame in a relatable 2015 and the other in a chilling 2051 this is a tale of friendship and family dynamics and how they are affected and dominated by social media.
Our principle ‘followers’ or ‘followees’ are Marlowe, Orla and Floss. Their lives are irrevocably entwined in a complex mix of technology, social media and a digitally dominated life where your number of followers can dictate your mood or even your prospects on any given day. It’s disturbing and should be made compulsory reading for those who choose to spend the bulk of their time connected, yet in a broader sense, disconnected. There is something almost starkly prophetic and scary about this story. I’m unwilling to give too much away because there are some delicious twists in the tale. It also demands we consider the ultimate fragility of the internet with what is aptly named The Spill and what happens to all that data we so carelessly offer up to the cyber Big Brothers.
I found it very compelling, wanting to read on and on. It honours the traditions of decent dystopian fiction by creating landscapes of unease where the familiar and the unfamiliar nestle alongside each other to offer the reader an unnerving ride. As an ‘enjoyer’ of dystopian and sci fi fiction I experienced that almost indefinable frisson of edginess that I get from watching things like Blade Runner or reading The Road.
What makes Followers so relatable is that it sustains the topical instability of social media with an incident that pivots the course of the narrative down an alternate path from the one the protgaonists, certainly, if not the readers, were expecting. It’s something I feel sure we’ve all done at times, victims of the immediate and 4G/5G speeds at which competent users manipulate their chosen social media platforms and how easy it to misconstrue some digital communication and watch events spiral out of control. And of course the cyber jargon that seems to drive social media nowadays - 'Influencers'.
There might be a growing trend within this genre to voice concerns about our dependence on technology and how we willingly allow it to shape our lives. I’m thinking Of Jem Tugwell’s Proximity and Liam Brown’s Broadcast. But Followers gives you a nice little mystery too.
My thanks to HQ and HarperCollins for a proof of this unforgettable story and an opportunity to participate in the blog tour for this book. Please check out what my colleagues have to say about Followers.