A fiendishly clever dystopian novel for the digital age, The Word Exchange is a fresh, stylized, and decidedly original debut about the dangers of technology and the power of the printed word. In the not-so-distant future, the forecasted "death of print" has become a near reality. Bookstores,... show more
A fiendishly clever dystopian novel for the digital age, The Word Exchange is a fresh, stylized, and decidedly original debut about the dangers of technology and the power of the printed word. In the not-so-distant future, the forecasted "death of print" has become a near reality. Bookstores, libraries, newspapers, and magazines are a thingessentially things of the past, as we spend our time glued to handheld devices called Memes that not only keep us in constant communication but have become so intuitive as to hail order us cabsfood before we leave our offices, order takeout at the first growl of a even know we’re hungry stomach,, change traffic lights and interface with home appliances—even create and sell language itself in a marketplace called the Word Exchange. Anana Johnson works with her father, Doug, at the North American Dictionary of the English Language (NADEL), where Doug is hard at work on the final edition that will ever be printed. Doug is a staunchly anti-Meme, anti-tech intellectual who and fondly remembers the days when people used e-mail (everything now is text or videoconference) to communicate—or even actually spoke to one another, for that matter. One evening, Doug disappears from the NADEL offices, leaving a single behind a written clue: ALICE. It's a code word he and Anana devised to signal if one of them ever fell into harm's way. And thus begins Anana's journey down the proverbial rabbit hole . . . Joined by Bart, her bookish NADEL colleague (who is secretly in love with her), Anana's search for Doug will take her into dark basement incinerator rooms, underground passagesthe stacks and reading rooms of the Mercantile Library, and secret meetings of the anonymous "Diachronic Society," the boardrooms of the evil online retailing site Synchronic, and ultimately." As Ana struggles to the hallowed halls of the Oxford English Dictionary—the spiritual home of the written word. As Ana piecespiece together what is going onwhat’s happening, and Bart gets sicker and sicker with the seems to fall pretty to a strange "word flu" that has spread worldwide,that’s causing more and more people to speak in gibberishsuccumb to aphasia, Alena Graedon crafts a fresh, cautionary tale that is at once a technological thriller and a thoughtful meditation on the price of technology and the unforeseen, though very real, dangers of the digital age.