Top positive review
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Big Brother and Survivor given a deadly twist
on 12 August 2002
This book is so pacily written and gripping that I was able to read it in two days flat, only stopping to sleep. it is both a superbly crafted thriller and deep social commentary at the same time posing some pretty harsh questions and forcing us to look very hard at ourselves in a mirror. The concept is simple, 12 contestants on a desert island for a reality tv show (a la Survivor) called '24/7'. They will be watched by over 600 video cameras and relayed to households all over the planet via tv and the internet as the contestants have to perform tasks and win over the audience so that they will not be voted off the island by the viewers and miss out on the ultimate prize, $2 million plus the winners heart's desire. That is what's meant to happen. What actually happens is all the tv crew on the island for the first episode die a painful and hideous death (faces boil and explode - nice) then a voice called 'Control' informs the 12 contestants that they have been infected with a man made super virus, a spin off from Ebola, and every 24 hours they will each be given a syringe containing an antidote. But, the antidote will only work for 24 hours and after the first day the viewers, the public, you, me, your mate and his Granny will vote on someone to be exiled from the island, except exile means death. That pretty much covers what occurs in the opening two chapters of the book. From then on the book does not let up it's pace as the contestants try to stay alive and the President and Navy try their hardest to solve the puzzle of who is Control and why he or she is doing this.
Given that we have so many reality shows on tv these days this book comes as quite a chilling and very possible 'what if'. As the author notes in his postscript what happens in 24/7 is not only possible but very likely to happen. A frightening thought indeed. Worse than that though is the thought that we, as an audience, would watch a programme like this as much as we watch Big Brother now. What does that say about us and our society?
This is one of the questions the Author poses, and before you ask no he does not pose an answer, that is for us as individual readers to do. It certainly gets you thinking though.
This is a tremendously entertaining and thought provoking first novel from an Author who shall have to be watched to see what else he has up his sleeve for his next book.
Well worth a read, especially for all you Big Brother fans out there.