Once again, the good folks at BookBear asked me to be a part of a virtual book tour, this time for a book called “Show Time” by Phil Harvey.
“Show Time” is a powerfully interesting book. It describes the life of the contestants on a Survivor-like show. What makes is unlike Survivor is that there is a good chance that they won’t actually survive. Unlike reality TV in reality, the police, the Red Cross, everyone has agreed to let this play out for five months. The contestants, chosen, it seems, for the likelihood that they will fight with each other and/or have sex with each other, are dropped off on an uninhabited island in Lake Superior, given inadequate rations, a few tools, and wished luck. There are cameras all over the island, microphones, and drones picking up nearly everything that goes on.
That’s interesting. When you watch shows like Survivor, you know good and well that there are paramedics just off to the side ready to rush in if anything serious and for real happens. How much more compelling would the drama be if you thought there was a chance that they might actually die of starvation if they didn’t find food? Or exposure if they didn’t gather enough firewood for warmth?
What interested me the most, though, was the part of the producers. This book is not at all futuristic, but it obviously takes place in the future. In the future imagined by the author, politics motivates this violence. The Powers that Be have decided (Rightly? Wrongly?) that people have a need for violence, and if it is doled out in controlled doses that will prevent larger wars and more death and destruction. “Small wars” and shows like this one give the people what they need to avoid a world war. Take this quote, lifted from the non-interference/release of liability contract signed by everyone involved: “Whereas it is recognized that entertainment involving genuine risks to real people is fundamentally necessary to the smooth functioning of a civilized society.” Is this true? Does this explain professional boxing and the NHL?
Lots to think about. It was compelling reading, even if the dialogue was a little forced at times. Characters said what they needed to say to move the plot along as opposed to what those organic people would say in response to a situation. The non-dialogue prose was descriptive and evocative, and the pages slipped by easily.
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Lori B. Duff is the author of the Amazon ‘Hot New Release’ Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza, a collection of autobiographical humor essays. The hard copy of the book can be found on Amazon & BarnesandNoble.com and select local retailers. The e-book can be found here. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.