Monday, February 10, 2014

Suicide Game

Source: Author Website
Suicide Game by Haidji (Self-Published, 2013, 358pp.)

In the distant future, a new, hit reality show is gripping TV audiences everywhere: Suicide Game! Eight thousand contestants gather in an arena and walk out onto a raised platform hundreds of feet in the air. They slip into harnesses, and then leap off into thin air. Some of these lifelines are rigged to break, while some of them aren’t. The unlucky ones plummet to their death. The lucky survivors then get to jump again, and again, until one contestant remains. What fun!

Sound like The Hunger Games? Yeah, it kinda is, except for a few differences. It isn’t young adult literature, for one. For another, it doesn’t focus on one main character, but rather a variety of contestants and game administrators to give us an idea of their motivations for wanting to participate in this gruesome spectacle. By (attempting) to examine these motivations, the story turns a critical eye on the ridiculous popularity of reality TV shows, and the “Me” generation.

I certainly don’t blame the author at all for wanting to exorcise her anxieties about modern times, and where we might be headed. That’s primarily what the science fiction genre is for. Unfortunately, like too many self-published works, Suicide Game isn’t not so much a novel as it is a vague pencil-shading of a concept. I never felt like I was quite immersed in the world, and I never really felt like the characters evolved into their own personages. While it’s certainly a good try, I can’t really recommend it as worthy literature at the present moment.

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