Friday, January 22, 2016

Show Time by Phil Harvey


Synopsis via PhilHarveyLit.org

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.

I was graciously provided a copy of this book through Netgalley.
To be honest I was very hesitant to read this book. When I see the name P. Harvey, I automatically think about the radio commentator, Paul Harvey. So I wondered if Phil Harvey might be Paul Harvey's son and was worried it would be a political satire or just a book about his personal ideas.
Well, I was very happy I took the plunge. I had a very hard time putting this book down.
It's a story of the future. A future where the population is blase' about violence. Where people will pay thousands a month to see seven people living on an island, hoping to see them starve, or freeze to death or even kill one and other. These seven people have agreed to live on an island for a specific amount of time. Everyone who survives earns $400,000. But what is the catch? They are given a limited amount of food and clothing and they have to survive the majority of winter, and they can't accept ANY outside help. Oh, and they are watched 24/7 by the public. Nothing in their life will be private. Now, each person has their own special reason for doing this, each person has their dark side.
Mr. Harvey has created a world that seems somewhat familiar. It's like Naked and Afraid, but with clothes-well, most of the time. Of course there are some who like to be watched no matter what they do. 
I loved the way he developed the characters. I gained insight into each character little by little. There isn't really any mystery. I can say there is some suspense, but not in the traditional sense of the genre. The suspense is in trying to figure out the reason each person has agreed to this insane challenge. There is also suspense in trying to figure out which ones will survive. Who will literally freeze to death? Who will starve to death? If someone were to die and the winter proved desolate of food, would they go all "Donner Party"??
Mr. Harvey did a great job of keeping me hooked. Each page kept me wondering what would happen next. Will the hoe sleep with everyone willing, even a woman? Will the married people stay true to their spouse? Will the hothead attack? Will there be fighting for food? 
You are going to LOVE this book!