Sent to me by Legend Press in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: 15/09/17
Publisher: Legend Press
Format: Paperback, 210pp
Summed up in a word: Juxtaposition
Welcome to my stop on the Broadcast Blog Tour hosted by Legend Press. I have a review to share with you all. Thank you for stopping by to check out my post and please check out all the other brilliant blogs that are taking part in the tour.
Broadcast has been compared to a lot of different modern (and pioneering) programs and movies such as Black Mirror, Inception and The Truman Show. I can definitely confirm that the BM and TTS comparisons are spot on! Broadcast may seem like another modern ‘the internet is going to doom us all’ novel, but LB’s delivery of this tale is certainly something special. I was amazed by the technology present in this novel and how it is depicted. Broadcast is a short read, only 195pp but it is a worthy addition to your TBR. Highly recommended for fans of Black Mirror and Dave Egger’s The Circle.
Official Book Synopsis
A Truman-like nightmare for the YouTube generation
The idea behind MindCast is simple. We insert a small chip into your skull and then every thought, every feeling, every memory is streamed live, twenty-four hours a day. Trust me – within a few months you’ll be the most talked about person on the planet.
When David Callow is offered the lead role in a revolutionary new online show, he snatches at the opportunity.
Rapidly becoming a viral sensation, David is propelled to stratospheric levels of celebrity. However, he soon realises the downside of sharing every secret with the world.
A prisoner to both his fame and his own thoughts, David seeks to have the chip removed, only to discover the chilling secret lurking at the heart of MindCast, and the terrifying ambition the show’s creator has for him.
TV shows/books such as Black Mirror or The Circle are immensely popular for our internet based modern society. They plays on our fears, concerns and attitude concerning many different elements of ourselves, how we act as individuals and as a civilisation. Broadcast takes some of the ideas explored by programs such as BM takes it to another level. Broadcast is a technological vision of the future of sharing, interaction, socialising and uploading. I was instantly caught up in this mesmerising tale of a YouTuber who sells his soul (and his brain) for unlimited fame. I highly recommend for fans of surreal technology themed tales like those explored in programs such as Black Mirror or The Truman Show.
David Callow is a YouTube star. He draws fans in with his relatable personality and his quirky nature. David is about to attend the biggest meeting of his career. Technology superstar Xan Brinkley wants to make David famous beyond his wildest dreams.
“You’re a commentator. A critic. You live your life and then you talk about it. Simple as that. And people go crazy for it. They know you. They like you. They value your opinion.”
Xan has developed a device called MindCast that will allow David to turn his life, and himself, into an entirely new social media platform. All he would need to do is have a ‘minor surgery’ to have a chip inserted in his brain stem; then David will be able to stream his life in its entirety. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. David knows that Xan is a visionary, and excepts this offer. All he has to do is sign on the dotted line and he will become the most famous person ever to have lived.
“Imagine a show where instead of droning on endlessly to the camera about what you thought of a film, or what you ate for breakfast, or what you did at the weekend, we actually get to see it, right then and there. No lag. No delay. No clumsy description. Just a direct feed, straight from your brain to the screen.”
I had a lot of fun with Broadcast. The technology explored within its pages was my favourite element of the novel. I can’t go into it too much as this is a short novel and the spoilers are in the details, but David’s brain chip does some amazing things. I loved the inclusion Plutchik’s wheel of emotions, I found it truly fascinating to learn about all the colour definitions of our emotions. Liam Brown has written this novel at the perfect time. The internet is at a pivotal stage in its evolution and Xan’s MindCast is one of the many visions of the next stage of online presences that are created everyday.
Brown’s writing was balanced perfectly, combining the youthful exhilaration of content creation and cynical avoidance of anything internet related. I was glad that Brown acknowledged all the common opinions of technology, otherwise this novel could have turned out quite irritating. The element I most appreciated about LB was the way he created two versions of David. The juxtaposition of Online David and Real-Life David creates a fascinating narrative and all of David true thoughts are made public, every second of everyday, despite his protests.
“At least when I was making videos, I had some control over what was going out. I could edit them, you know? But with this, there’s no filter. I’m just vomiting up the undigested contents of my brain. It’s exhausting.”
I enjoyed the way that Brown took something extremely un-human like the internet and made it human, feeding it through David’s mind. Of course this wouldn’t be a great novel with lots of risk and drama, and there is plenty to sink your teeth into here. MindCast takes the world by storm and David is suddenly the most important person in the world. A technological wonder. More importantly, the most effective advertising method for huge audiences, 500,000,000+ followers and counting. Soon David is suffocating in his own fame and wants out. But the contract states that David is obliged to continue broadcasting. This novel is a huge warning, saying READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF WHATEVER YOU ARE SIGNING ON THE INTERNET!
Overall I really enjoyed Broadcast. Brown’s writing is sleek, modern and shocking. He writes with a wider understanding of the world’s fixation on technology. I appreciated his brevity with this story. Short and punchy was definitely the right choice, I think if this was to be any longer it would have been too much. Themes like pride, selfishness and self-absorption combined with panic, fearing the unknown and shady dealings makes for an interesting read. Check it out and let me know what you thought.
About Liam Brown
Author of REAL MONSTERS (2015), WILD LIFE (2016) and BROADCAST (2017)
Liam Brown is a writer, filmmaker and former-life model. His debut novel Real Monsters was published in 2015 and long-listed for the Guardian’s Not the Booker prize. He lives in Birmingham with his wife and two children.