Future viewing audiences have become totally desensitized to violence and entirely dependent on sensation to escape their boring workaday lives—an addiction nurtured by the media with graphic portrayals of war and crime and with so-called reality programming. Now, TV execs in pursuit of the only things they care about—higher ratings and bigger paychecks—have created the ultimate reality show: Seven people, each bearing the scars of his or her past, are deposited on an island in the middle of Lake Superior. Given some bare necessities and the promise of $400,000 each if they can endure, the three women and four men risk death by starvation or freezing as the Great Lakes winter approaches. The island is wired for sound, and flying drones provide the video feed, so everything the contestants do and say is broadcast worldwide. Their seven-month ordeal is entirely unscripted, they can’t ask for help or they forfeit the prize, and as far as the network is concerned—the fewer survivors the better.
by Phil Harvey
Lost Coast Press
April 2, 2012
Reminiscent of The Beach, Show Time is a book about 7 individuals dropped on an island and left to survive during the winter, whilst being filmed for television. At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like this but that quickly changed.
I think it may have been cheating for the writer, Phil Harvey, to begin the book with action and intrigue and then switch to the beginning of the islanders adventure. The dialogue stuck out for me as a little awkward and this is a story we have all heard, seen, read etc. before. The characters are good but I do feel like I know them from another book or I’ve already read about them. From early on their personalities are clearly defined, although their back stories are intrusive and don’t fit in with the overall story. I think this worked better when the narrative remained on the island. The personalities of the minor characters are not as well written and they don’t have much depth. The story is slow and has not got a fast pace.
The idea of Show Time being set in the future and the advance of reality television, the lengths that people will go to be famous, to be on a high rated show and also, for me, the damage that can be done after the show and how you have been portrayed, not easy to shake off, was the most intriguing part, which unfortunately was only explained in the final few pages and didn’t go into a lot of detail.
I would recommend this if you like reality television, with gore.
The review copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
About Phil Harvey
Phil Harvey’s fiction has appeared in twenty-two literary magazines, including Phantasmagoria, which nominated one of his stories for a Pushcart Prize, and Antietam Review, which named another the winner of its annual contest. Most recently his work has appeared in The MacGuffin, Natural Bridge, and the Dos Passos Review.
Harvey’ nonfiction includes: Let Every Child Be Wanted, which drew praise from former President Jimmy Carter; Government Creep, which, as one reviewer noted, “proves that government has invaded virtually every nook and cranny of our lives,” and The Government vs. Erotica, which Publishers Weekly and Booklist praised, the ALA Intellectual Freedom Roundtable nominated as the year’s best book on intellectual freedom, and Media Coalition called “a frightening, enlightening story.”
By day, Phil Harvey is president of DKT International, a non-profit family planning and AIDS prevention organization, and president and majority shareholder of Adam & Eve, a mail-order business that sells sexually oriented books and films. He lives with his wife, Harriet Lesser, in Cabin John, Maryland. He is stepfather and grandfather to several very promising kids. He welcomes emails from readers who have serious and thoughtful questions about any of his stories, novels or books.