Now more than ever before, humanity lives interconnected. In the blink of an eye, a person can reach out to and communicate with dozens of people across the globe, sharing their experiences and opinions. In The Circle, Dave Eggers explores what the world could be like if we break down all of our barriers and forego privacy.
The novel follows Mae Holland, a 20-something college graduate struggling to stay afloat in her life. One day she finds out that she has been hired by The Circle, a social media empire that incorporates the functionality of realworld websites like Facebook, Skype, Google, and other well-traveled domains, where users supply their personal information -all of it- to get total access to everything under the sun. Mae views The Circle's campus as an idyllic utopia where young people from across the world have come together to build the world's best company and make real progress, ranging from breakthrough medical technology and ease-of-use and guaranteed internet security to more questionable ideas like cheaply made hi-definition cameras that can be placed anywhere, and having said cameras on all the time.
Though Mae's life is a rollercoaster once she joins The Circle, her involvement is profound as readers have a front-row seat at the machinations at play as The Circle's owners increase their influence across the globe, with Mae and others like her happily signing away their privacy and their freedom. Most science fiction stories and movies feature a typical far-right, oppressive government, ala 1984, The Giver, or The Hunger Games, but The Circle hypothesises a similar situation when undergone on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Eggers published the novel in 2013 under Knopf Publishing, and won the 2015 International Dublin Literary Award for The Circle.
In December 2014, Tom Hanks announced his involvement with a film production of The Circle, along with Emma Watson as Mae Holland. They were joined by Karen Gillan, Patton Oswalt, John Boyega, and others. On a script written by James Ponsoldt and with a budget of $18 million, the film went on to earn $41 million overall. The film follows the book fairly closely, though there are a few scene differences, particularly toward the end. You'll have to watch it for yourself to see!
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