Who would have thought 12 years ago, when Survivor, the popular reality television program premiered on CBS, that its premise—a group of people marooned in an isolated locale, competing for cash and other prizes, trying to eliminate the other players—would spin off into contemporary literature? First, there was Suzanne Collins’s YA Hunger Games trilogy, which became a blockbuster bestseller and spawned the film version, which drew record crowds to movie theaters. And now Cypress House has released under its Lost Coast Press imprint Show Time by Phil Harvey.
It’s a tale that’s bound to make readers shiver, both literally and figuratively: seven men and women are deposited on an island in the middle of Lake Superior in early autumn; any of them surviving seven months of their televised ordeal, which will be broadcast around the world, will receive $400,000. (As an aside, this reporter lives on the shores of Lake Superior: snow has fallen there as early as September. And bears run wild.) These characters are in for a very long seven months. Joe Shaw, Cypress House editor, points out that readers initially may be taken aback at a world in which television audiences are totally desensitized to violence and dependent on sensation to escape the drudgery of their daily lives—until they realize that the fictional world of Show Time isn’t all that different from our own real world after all. Harvey, who is the author of Let Every Child Be Wanted, Government Creep, and The Government vs. Erotica, will sign copies of Show Time in the autographing area today, 4–5 p.m., at Table 13.
Cypress House is also promoting another tale of survival against overwhelming odds: Proving Ground. Only Proving Ground isn’t fiction; it’s the memoir of W. David Tarver, an African-American who grew up during the civil rights era in Flint, Mich.—which, while not as remote as an island in Lake Superior, was still a tough place to live, especially for people of color. After working at AT&T Bell Labs, Tarver, an electrical engineer, launched his own company, Telecom Analysis Systems, which he sold in 1995 for $30 million. Tarver then went on to launch Spirent, a telecommunications equipment business, before leaving that in 2001 to pursue community service and founded the Red Bank Education and Development Initiative, which provides academic opportunities to children in that New Jersey town. Let’s just say, if Tarver were a character in Show Time, he would win that $400,000. Tarver will sign copies of Proving Ground in the autographing area, today, 3:30–4 p.m., at Table 11.