Show Time – A Tale of Reality Horror

Show Time takes place at some point in the near future, with the participants willingly subjecting themselves to a media portrayal of their jeopardy. The network drops seven contestants on a desolate island in the middle of Lake Superior with some necessities and minimal food.  According to one of the agreements surrounding the games “it is recognized that entertainment involving genuine risks to real people is fundamentally necessary to the smooth functioning of a civilized society…” The broadcast network  promises the contestants $400,000 each if they can endure.

The island is wired with cameras and microphones. In the air, flying drones and satellites add in more coverage so everything the contestants do and say is available to broadcast worldwide. Edited shows are broadcast, but dedicated viewers and pay for more detailed access.

An obvious analogy is the Hunger Games trilogy, which I found disappointing. A publisher’s offer of a review copy of Show Time as a survival reality novel caught my attention.

These are adults, with interesting back stories and motivations. That was one of my criticisms of the Hunger Games. I thought the trilogy would have been more interesting if the main protagonists were adults instead of teenagers. I think Show Time shows that to be true.

However, Show Time lacks the action of Hunger Games. The seven contestants are placed on the island to kill each other. They are there to slowly starve, perhaps to death. A long, boring death.

The book also lacks much insight to the larger culture of the show’s viewership. We are left to assume that it’s a natural progression of today’s reality television, mixed in with some government help, to create a modern bread and circus. I’m hard-pressed to believe that watching people hunt small game, pick berries, and chew on moss would make good television for 7 months. At least Survivor mixes in some contests for its participants.

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