Channel Blue by Jay Martel
|Channel Blue by Jay Martel|
|Category: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: The Earth is scheduled for destruction (again) and only one man can save it (again) in this funny read for Sci Fi fans.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: January 2014|
|Publisher: Head of Zeus|
What if the planet you called home wasn’t just a random blob in the universe, orbiting a far off star. What if the things that happened on it weren’t entirely down to chance or fate or whatever you want to call it. What if, actually, life on Earth was less random and more, well, scheduled than you might like to admit. Someone up there, calling the shots, deciding when to send in ‘natural’ disasters, influencing how things work, people behave, countries are run. Not a God, mind, but something far crazier: a television executive. Earth is the reality show to end all reality shows, and while its inhabitants have no clue every second of their lives is being watched and edited, that doesn’t stop them behaving in a way that keeps the viewers highly entertained.
There is but one problem. The viewing figures have been wilting of late, and Earth isn’t the smash hit it used to be. It’s reached the end of its viable life to the TV execs and so they’re about to pull the plug, but not before they’ve dreamed up the most spectacular of finales. It’s great news for Galaxy Entertainment but not so for Earth’s inhabitants, and only one, slightly dozy man, has it in his power, maybe, just possibly, to save his planet from being destroyed.
I was sceptical about this book at first because it seemed a premise similar to the inimitable Hitchhiker’s Guide trilogy, except now Arthur Dent is an American screenwriter called Perry. But, perhaps illogically, I also picked it up for that very same reason, since I love Douglas Adams’ work. Channel Blue is certainly no replacement for the originals, but it’s a good effort that kept me mildly entertained for a few hours. My main criticism, however, is that it seems too over the top, too daft, too nonsensical. You can surely have aliens without them being giant slugs with eyeballs the size of a ping pong ball, can’t you? And if a species if sufficiently evolved that there hasn’t been a murder on their home planet for 10,000 years, would they really still gain gratification from watching earthlings kill each other?
This is one of those books where the more you think about it, the less you enjoy it, because you start seeing loose threads that turn into gaping holes when you pull on them. If you’re able to suspend disbelief long enough for the story to get going, it definitely turns things around, but I struggled to keep focussed on what I was being told without obsessing on how or why it couldn’t be the case. It’s a catastrophic story with lots of scene changes, peculiar gizmos (including a Men-in-Black style eraser) and stunningly beautiful people (of course). The end goal is to save the planet, and this is laid out early on, so there’s only two ways it can really go. Given the protagonist is a Hollywood screen writer, you might expect a Hollywood ending. But would that be too obvious?
I’m a little in two minds about this book. I thought the idea was good but the delivery a bit long, and I lost interest in some of the finer details at times. It’s definitely a fun concept that makes you think about the bigger picture and our place in the cosmos, but I didn’t really warm to Perry, or buy into his character, so it gains only a middling score from me.
Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.
Reality TV also features heavily in Chart Throb by Ben Elton
You can read more book reviews or buy Channel Blue by Jay Martel at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Channel Blue by Jay Martel at Amazon.com.
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