I’m so excited to be a part of the tour for Gina Damico’s WASTE OF SPACE! See below for information about the book, and a guest post from Gina!
About the Book
Title: WASTE OF SPACE
Author: Gina Damico
Pub. Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Cram ten hormonal teens into a spaceship and blast off: that’s the premise for the ill-conceived reality show Waste of Space. The kids who are cast know everything about drama—and nothing about the fact that the production is fake. Hidden in a desert warehouse, their spaceship replica is equipped with state-of-the-art special effects dreamed up by the scientists partnering with the shady cable network airing the show. And it’s a hit! Millions of viewers are transfixed. But then, suddenly, all communication is severed. Trapped and paranoid, the kids must figure out what to do when this reality show loses its grip on reality.
Gina Damico is the author of Croak, Scorch, and Rogue, the grim-reapers-gone-wild books of the Croak trilogy. She has also dabbled as a tour guide, transcriptionist, theater house manager, scenic artist, movie extra, office troll, retail monkey, yarn hawker and breadmonger. A native of Syracuse, New York, she now lives outside Boston with her husband, two cats, and one dog, and while she has never visited hell in person, she has spent countless waking hours at the Albany Regional Bus Terminal, which is pretty darn close. Visit her website at www.ginadami.co.
3 winners will receive a hardcover of WASTE OF SPACE! US Only.
And now, here’s Gina’s guest post!
Q: The premise of Waste of Space seems like the concept for the movie The Truman Show. What inspired you to write a book with a concept similar to that movie?
Think about the last few times you’ve used a public bathroom. Was your behavior different depending on whether there were other people in there too? Did it change once they left, or if someone new came in? How do you act when you’re all alone?
We are different people when we are by ourselves versus when someone else is listening and/or watching. The bathroom example, while gross, nicely illustrates this duality. And I think there’s a certain fascination with this concept, which is why reality television has taken off so much in the past couple decades — along with all the controversy and debate surrounding it. Is reality TV real? Of course not. Once people are observed, and know they’re being observed, their behavior will never be the same as it would be if they were truly unwatched and alone. But there is that sheen of performance that these regular-people-turned-into-cast-members put on that is so fascinating for us, the audience, to watch.
A truly amazing example of this is what happened this past spring on an episode of Survivor. (Yes, I watch Survivor and you should too. It’s SO GOOD.) During Tribal Council, one of the contestants outed another as transgender — which is, needless to say, a horrible thing to do to another human being, game show or not. But you could tell that this guy had gotten so swept up into the game, so focused on winning, that he forgot he was on camera and that his words would be broadcast to a national audience. He let the “I’m always being watched” front down for a minute, which is pretty remarkable, when you think about it; after twenty years of reality TV, participants have been all but trained to keep up the façade and watch what they say. Which is what made this moment so bizarre, and so rare.
(Side note, for those who didn’t follow this story: Zeke, the transgendered person in question, was unbelievably measured and calm during the whole debacle, then used the experience to speak out publicly about transgender rights and turned it all into a very positive conversation. And while he certainly wasn’t thrilled with the guy who did the outing, he did grant him some measure of forgiveness. Long story short: Zeke is a friggin’ rock star.)
All of these questions that swirl around the on-versus-off-camera debate have fascinated me for a long time, and thusly inspired the plot of WASTE OF SPACE. In the book, ten teenagers are stuffed into a rocket and sent into space, and their entire adventure is aired, live, for the whole world to see. All the reality show stereotypes are there: the party girl, the shy guy, the villain, etc. But how much of these characters are their true selves? How much will they change once the cameras are turned off, once they no longer need to present a certain version of themselves to the world?
Spoiler alert: A lot.
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