Monday, April 15, 2013

Extras, by Scott Westerfeld

Extras, the final book in the Uglies series, is set a couple of years after the “mind-rain,” a few earth-shattering months in which the whole world woke up. The cure has spread from city to city, and the pretty regime that kept humanity in a state of bubbleheadedness has ended. Boundless human creativity, new technologies, and old dangers have been unleashed upon the world. Culture is splintering, the cities becoming radically different from each other as each makes its own way into this strange and unpredictable future . . .
One of the features of the new world is that everyone has a "feed," which is basically their own blog/myspace/tv channel. The ratings of your feed (combined with how much the city interface overhears people talking about you) determines your social status--so everyone knows at all times how famous they are.
As Scott Westerfeld explored the themes of extreme beauty in the first three Uglies books, now he takes on the world's obsession with fame and popularity. And how anyone can be an instant celebrity.

     "To everyone who wrote to me to reveal the secret definition of the word "trilogy"" - And that's how Scott Westerfeld started "Extras", which was not planned in the beginning of the Uglies series. I like to say that "Extras" is an extension of Tally's world, a glimpse of the future that conquered the fans and convinced Westerfeld to write more about it. 
     I think "Extras" is more for the reader who is a super fan of the Uglies series and loves futuristic backgrounds. The story is farther in the future of Tally, deals with a lot of technology, human advancements, hoverboards, face ranks in your eyes, hovercams....
     The main character this time is a fifteen-year-old girl called Aya who lives in the future Japan, and at her city, popularity and fame make everything keep going. I admit that the story gets a little insistent about this point - the main character's obsession for fame sometimes gets exhausting. 
     After Tally Youngblood put down the Uglies/Pretties/Specials system, people were free to think and got a little too crazy in some cases. All kinds of surge were created and technology for fun. Where Aya lives, what we call money nowadays would be their merits and reputation ranks that they get from doing their assigned jobs and getting popular. If they kept the city going just by lighting up people's imagination and creativity, they got rewards such as good places to live, clothes...It is just a different system of a working Society, which I don't have anything against, but became a pretty insisting subject throughout the story.
     Tally Youngblood has an appearance in the middle of the book; by the time she put down the old system, she became really famous, and some people even cult her - which I think was a little exaggeration from the author, although she did a great work for the humanity.
     "Extras" is more of a deeper looking into this futuristic world, adventure, but I wouldn't hold expectations about it.

Quotes: " These days "pretty" meant whatever got you noticed"

" From now on, merits and face ranks would decide who got the best mansions, the most carbon emissions, the biggest wall allowances. Merits were for doctors, teachers, wardens, all the way down to littlies doing school work and their chores - everyone who kept the city going, as determined by the Good Citizen Comittee."

"Once you'd told yourself a story enough times, it was so easy to keep on believing it."

Depression after-reading: 80%
Final Rating: 72%

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