“The Circle” (Random House/Vintage House/Thorndike Press Publishing, 514 pages, $9.99/Kindle, $9.52/Paperback, $31.99/Hardcover) by Dave Eggers
The Circle, soon to be a major motion picture, is an interesting read. A book of the science fiction genre, it’s packed with mystery and suspense. While the writing is at times tiring and verbose, droning on and on, it eventually gets to the point. The further we delve into the book the more involved and faster paced it gets as well with fewer moments of boredom.
The story tells of a totalitarianist regime being ushered in by the digital age. Every thought, picture, and social interaction are digitized to the extreme where people are offended by complete strangers not acting upon requests to “zing” or “smile” upon a comment, post, or activity. If you do not accept multiple invites to every possible event, go to said events, then while there reside in the digital world of whatever handheld technological device you may have to tout the activities of the event, you will offend or belittle someone’s contributions and cause a need for further interactions to discuss the emotions of those involved and remedies to prevent such emotional damages in the future.
Imagine if you would, a scenario where a social media site such as Facebook takes over the world. They not only control all social activity and feeds, but they also manage all finances around the world. Membership is not only recommended, but it also becomes mandatory, and children are microchipped at a young age for their protection. Tiny, portable, and easy to install cameras are placed all over the world by the nearly every user of this service. Transparency, total and complete video footage of every politician is not a goal, but a realistic possibility as back room and secretive politics are a thing of the past. Crime drops astronomically, and child abductions are almost non-existent. Thanks to the microchips, the few abductees are found within minutes.
Mae, our main character, is hired as a low-level customer experience personnel at the Circle and we follow her as she moves up through the company, as she becomes transparent, as she loses and gains friends, and has her world turned upside down and sideways.
The story while lengthy is an interesting take on world digital domination from the point of view of being inside and a contributing part of the organization.