So here we are, ladies and gents! Pull up a chair, and give a listen to my thoughts on Mr. Phil Harvey’s Showtime.
I’m not going to read anyone else’s reviews before I write this, so I’m sure that this has been said before. But Showtime is pretty much a grown-up version (a very grown-up version) of The Hunger Games — only in this case, it’s possible for more than one person to survive.
The book is set in the future, and is about a reality show that starts with seven people. Everyone who’s alive at the end of a certain time period gets $400,000, plus a possible bonus. There’s the real possibility of violence and death — and even murder. But the legal authorities have signed off on a contract with the show’s network, saying that’s A-OK with them. Not to say that’s not realistic — since most people will do almost anything for money. I think that’s the point.
But anyway. One of the show’s producers has a favorite slogan: “Love divides us, war unites us.” Pretty dismal, but it’s essentially the theme throughout the book. It sort of reminds you of that song “Vicarious” by Tool. “Vicariously, I live while the whole world dies.” It’s about TV viewers who want to see bad things happen to people, in order to take them away from their own depressing lives. No different from most reality shows in existence, really.
Now, I feel that I should warn the audience: this book is rated, like, triple-R. It’s not for younger readers at all, so don’t let your Hunger Games fan take a peek at it! There’s a ton of sex, vulgarity, and really disturbing animal-death sequences. Mr. Harvey is a very good writer, but no fan of fairy tales!
I must admit, Mr. Harvey does do a commendable job of sucking you into the world of his zany characters. As one named Rudy says himself, they’re “quite the bunch.” There’s Ambrose, the reasonable-minded “simpleton” who’s good at hunting and fishing; Ivan, the half-mad guy who mutters to himself; Ashai, the acid-tongued musclewoman; and Cecily, the chubby lady who abandoned her family. There’s Valentín, the angry young man who was abused as a child; Rudy, the “gangsta-like,” fun-loving black fella; and finally there’s Maureen, the red-headed model. With a group like that, you’ve got to expect chaos; and you certainly get it.
It seems that this book is designed to reveal the very worst facets of human nature, and it can’t be denied that Mr. Harvey performs his task very well. When asked why he explores such dark themes, he replied, “I write dark-side fiction because that’s the only kind people read . . . I write in this vein because it is artistically satisfying and readers demand it.”
While I may not completely agree with Mr. Harvey’s statement, I have to congratulate him on a well-written book! And I also want to take a moment to appreciate the way he uses certain things — like the detailed descriptions of the nature that surrounds the contestants, and the random lines of Shakespeare that the theatrical Valentín likes to spew out — as a buffer against the harsh reality. Or perhaps it’s merely meant to contrast very sharply: like snow against tar.
Here’s a peek at the mind behind the work:
Mr. Harvey’s publishers will be running a promotion on Showtime through November third, wherein the digital version of the book will be available for $0.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.com. Also, there will be a special running on Gumroad which pairs an electronic copy of Showtime with the short-story collection, Across the Water: Tales of the Human Heart for just $1.99! See below for a list of clickable links.
Amazon: Click here
Apple: Click here
Barnes & Noble: Click here
Gumroad: Click here
All right, then, ladies and gents! That about wraps it up! This has been C.M. Blackwood, reporting to you live on Phil Harvey’s Showtime. After you’ve gotten yourself all hyped up on that crazy thriller, if you do happen to be looking for the sort of fairy tale that Mr. Harvey isn’t much fond of, look me up on Amazon! Or just click the banner below.
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