Reality television, 10 teenagers, and an opportunity to go to space. In Waste of Space by Gina Damico, it seems as if this very premise is a chance of a lifetime and that nothing could go wrong…but it can.
Ten teenagers are presented with the opportunity to travel to space for a reality television show, Waste of Space, vying for a grand prize of one million space dollars (…whatever that amounts to in currency on Earth). The kids (or at least most of them) believe that they are actually in space while they are actually in the Arizona desert on a soundstage in a “space plane” built by both a special effects company and scientists of a lesser known governmental space agency. When communication to the kids suddenly is severed, the producers realize that the scientists have taken over and strange things begin to happen on the ship, making those who think they’re on Earth question if they might somehow actually be in space.
An incredibly quick-paced read, the story unfolds before us as a series of evidence compiled from phone calls, video recordings, emails, and aired and behind-the-scenes transcripts of footage. The writing is infused with plenty of humorous quips and references to both build upon and counter some of the ridiculous events of the story. Each of the characters did serve a specific purpose in the narrative but it seemed as if their primary role was fulfilling the quota of stereotyped reality show characters, which was ultimately understandable though groan-worthy in its own right. This was a light, entertaining read that poked fun at the reality television racket.
Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.