Ten teenagers are launched into “space” to entertain insatiable TV audiences in Damico’s satirical novel.
Everything on TV has already been done. Enter Chazz Young, the CEO of DV8 Productions. Chazz cooks up the idea to send 10 teens into space and to film everything. A shaky collaboration with the scientists of the National Association for the Study of Astronomy and Weightlessness and some expensive special effects result in Waste of Space. The teens aren’t actually in space, but they and viewers don’t know that. The cast checks every reality TV box, from the ambiguously “exotic” party girl to the black, gay diversity pick. As America tunes in, the teenagers overcome unrealistic space obstacles. Ratings go up, but behind the scenes, cast members are beginning to doubt they’re in space, Chazz is desperately trying to up the ante, and NASAW is working on a side project. Suddenly, all transmissions from the “ship” are stopped, and access to it is cut off. None of the teenagers (or Chazz) knows what’s going on. All they know is that they’re in trouble. Told in aired and unaired video transcripts, phone transcripts, and personal recordings, the information in this novel has been compiled by an unnamed intern-turned-whistleblower. Everything that happens is over-the-top and ludicrous but cleverly crafted, the cynicism slathered on with layers of foulmouthed geniality.
Like the TV show it’s about, nothing in this novel is as it seems, but the journey to discover the truth is out of this world. (Fiction. 12-18)