by Dave Eggers
Mae has been employed by The Circle, the most happening tech company in the world. It seems almost too good to be true. What seems to be a utopian society slowly reveals itself to be our worst nightmare. In this age of digital everything, this book is terrifying as you read it, the tentacles of horror and doubt creeping their way into your brain.
Mae Holland is a normal 20 something. Finished college with a liberal arts degree. Worked at a power substation. Overeducated, bored.
She gets this job at the Circle through her friend Annie Allerton (who is in the gang 40. The top 40 minds of the company.)
We are thus introduced to the Circle. Owned and run by ‘The three wise men’, it is a technological giant, whose main focus is on innovation and using social networking and currently available technology to better lives. What looks to be a noble venture indeed.
Because, what can’t we solve together, right? Missing children? Health care? World peace?
When all the world needs is people watching to make sure it behaves, making the world a better place seems like the easiest task.
Because what does the world have in more abundance than people?
Getting people together to solve problems is what the Circle is all about. Together, we can be better. And it is. There is no job stress, no hideous desk, no boring days, no suicides out of overwork, no drowning in family problems. Because the Circle is here for you. The days are rich, the lives richer, and it seems like more than a job, almost a calling.
But this social being, it has a toll. It demands feeding. It demands socialising. It’s the strangest form of external pressure.
To be more you. To have more you. To share more you.
To participate more. But is that it really? The more we participate online, how much are we participating in real life?
Where is the line?
Mae, while being originally unaffected, maintaining a healthy distance, is slowly but surely reeled in. Unknowingly. In the ways of the best cults, thinking that their work is for the greater good. That their work is going to elevate the future. There are warning signs at every turn. It’s sort of like watching the bad horror movie and wishing the girl does not go into the basement and get killed. Of course that’s what she’s gonna do.
Slowly, we watch as one boundary after another topples, and all we have is a society that is constantly watching.
And being watched.
Knowing is good. Knowing everything is better.
For whom? Says who?
We are not meant to know everything, Mae. Did you ever think that perhaps our minds are delicately calibrated between the known and the unknown? That our souls need the mysteries of night and the clarity of day? Young people are creating ever-present daylight, and I think it will burn us all alive. There will be no time to reflect, to sleep to cool.
As mysterious people try to stop this juggernaut getting inside people’s lives, homes, minds, the mass fervour that has been evoked has gained too much force.
The Circle is complete.
Welcome to the Circle.
Chilling. So real. So everyday. So mundane. But chilling.
The worst kind of chilling though.
Because you can see it happening, but there’s nothing you can do to stop it.