Publication Date: December 1, 2013
What can a network do if its best-rated show starts to plummet in the ratings? Channel Blue’s highest rated program is a Big-Brother-esque show featuring Earth. When the ratings make it unprofitable to stay on the air, the series finale will be explosive … literally explosive.
Channel Blue is a story you’ve seen many times. A valued alien demographic can’t get enough of the hottest reality show in the universe…watching the lives of Earthlings. The “cast” have turned arrogant and their alien fans find themselves no longer interested in the show. The decidedly Douglas Adams-esque producers see their only option as in blowing up the Earth. Perry Bunt, a professor, is the only human that really knows what’s going on and a former student gives him the challenge of saving humanity. Perry is faced with an impossible task and on a deadline.
The idea of humanity as a minor cog in a greater machine is not a new one. It has been seen in film and fiction many times. Martel’s approach to the subject is promising. A brutal corporate giant reminiscent of Vogans in mindset (though decidedly human-like in appearance) no longer has use for Earth and so sees no reason for it to continue to exist. They decide the best business decision is to give the show one last big bang that everyone in the universe will watch. Martel’s version of this well worn idea doesn’t quite deliver on the promise of the approach.
Channel Blue is unusually faced pace. Once the story starts going it proceeds at a heady pace fitting to the urgency of the situation. Because of the pace there are points that feel as though they should be fleshed out more that are glossed over. As a result, the satire isn’t as subtle or funny as it might have been. Channel Blue may share the spirit of the work of Douglas Adams, but it misses the mark on elegance.
Perry is the Eeyore of fantasy fictional characters. If self-pity were an event in the Olympics, he’d be a gold medalist. He is a human in the spirit of Marvin the Paranoid Android but not as interesting. Because of the self-absorbed nature of his behavior, Perry is a very difficult character for readers to get to know. He is the unlikeliest of heroes and, really, readers will have serious doubt that he’ll succeed in his challenge in the course of the novel. Though it’s the first book in the series, the universe is vast and Earth may not be needed as it carries on—so don’t take the series concept as a guarantee of success.
There are several controversial send-ups in Channel Blue. Religion, corporations, mankinds inhumanity to man and government, to name a few. While the commentary sometimes was dealt with a heavy hand, it was not cruel or dismissive. Amanda, the executive that gives Perry the task of saving Earth, has a fondness for humanity and is a shining light of optimism (though optimism may not be the right word), in the story. We can change and in changing we can make the world a new place that everyone will want to share but we are on a time crunch.
If you have never read or seen anything like Channel Blue before, you might enjoy the work. It is technically well written (though there are a few minor grammatical errors). The book is highly rated on Amazon it has a fan audience that feels strongly that the novel was for them. If Channel Blue sounds like a novel for you, pick it up and let me know what you think.
Read an excerpt and buy Channel Blue by Jay Martel on