November 10th, 2002

bowl

Ben Elton - Dead famous (02-041)

Ben Elton - Dead famous (02-041)

Elton is not only a good comedian, he writes for several comedies, most famously The Young Ones, Blackadder and The Thin Blue Line. Next to that, he is a brilliant author. Several plays, but foremost his novels. His first few novels showed us where he stood politically, as was most of his television work in those days. The last years he seemed to have mellowed down, his books are not as deep anymore. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean they are not good, in contrary. Popcorn was a best seller, Blast from the past a sign of the times and Inconceivable much better than the film (Maybe Baby) that was based on it.

Dead famous is the start of a new genre for Elton. It's a classic Whodunnit. However, he wouldn't be himself if his story weren't different. The setting is extraordinary. House arrest is a very popular television show, in which ten people get followed by dozens of cameras all the time. It seems impossible to get away with murder in the house, but it does happen. One of the contestants is murdered and nobody knows who did it. The show obviously draws even more attention than they already had up until then.

The police have to find the murderer, even with a deadline. Because if the show is over, all participants leave for elsewhere and the investigation gets incredibly difficult. I will not even give a clue about whodunnit, you'll have to read yourself. I can tell you that Elton shows an incredible insight into the world of television. He has all conversations spot on. Anybody who ever watches one of the zillions of similar programmes anywhere in the world must recognise the mindless conversations, the so called excitement of the show. More than anyone has done before, he puts reality television in its place, by making it even bigger than it has become. Again, I love one of Elton's books, no surprise. I hope he gets the right recognition, because in my humble opinion he is more than just somebody who can write a good joke. It was nearly impossible to put the book down, nearly 400 pages and still it took me less than two days. Go and read it.
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