The Blue Light Project, Timothy Taylor

This novel is strange. It is difficult to ascertain a specific time frame or a locality. The story moves back and forth from one location to another, from one character to another and also from one time frame to another. It does come together at some point, but not all of my questions were resolved.
It seems to be set in a time when the whole world is suffering from ADD, taking risks, almost just to attract attention and dazzle crowds that love meaningless soundbites to which they assign great meaning, street cultures are revered and have taken on the persona of the “gang” in a completely different, almost more acceptable way, it is as if the street sub-culture is all on drugs, spaced out, looking for trouble, yet they are perfectly accepted by the younger generation and media. They seem hyper, and several rival gangs vie for street space, turf, to voice ideas or plaster walls with them. The defiance is justified and applauded, authority is mocked and disrespected, greed and envy are thriving as is schadenfreude! Does this pattern sound familiar yet?
Rabbit, is a major character. After leaving a lucrative silicon valley type job because he begins to question the altruistic value vs the evil value, of the project he is working on, he moves away, drops out and begins to make his mark with artistic statements he paints in public spaces. He moves to NYC from Oregon, and he begins to descend into a state of near-vagrancy.
Another of the major characters, Eva Latour, a gold medal skier, is searching for her brother, a rebel. When she finds him and he is no longer the rebel, she is disappointed. He is a respected member of society. She no longer fully appreciates him. She is part of the culture of discontented people, although she has achieved greatness. She worshiped his free spirit.
She has been offered a job in the entertainment world. Reality shows are the rage. There are no limits to what they present. Even little children are paraded across stages and humiliated. Voyeurism is the fashion. Everyone wants to know how someone else lives, especially those touched by fame and everyone loves to see someone fail at what they are doing, even if they are the best at what they are doing. Society is searching for something but, whatever it is, it seems to have no real value, other than “a nebulous feeling”.
The most evil character is Mov, and yet, is he? He served his country. Is it his fault that he has pretty much driven himself mad with the tactics he was forced or trained to use, the results they inspired and the failures he experienced. This man, who prepped enemy spies for interrogation, has gone over the edge into madness.
An unexpected hero is a reporter who has fallen from grace. Thom Pegg, after winning the Pulitzer Prize, is discovered to have created his sources out of whole cloth. His purpose may have been commendable, but the method was not. His heroism goes largely unsung, in a world where reality shows thrive, while the “real” reality is controlled and contrived by the powers that be, so that only the information that is deemed necessary to know, is allowed to become public. Who would believe his story, anyway; it is the story of a liar. There is little transparency and it sounds awfully close to the way we live today; it makes the premise of the book even more frightening; it is almost too close for comfort.
The book comes together around a hostage crisis. Some of the  children from KiddieFame, a children’s talent show, of sorts, have been taken captive during a “kill” episode, in which one of the contestants is removed from the competition, often the best one, as schadenfreude often does rule. It turns into a real rather than a pretend, game of violence. But, no one knows why, no one knows who is behind this heinous act. Who would capture children, and yet, it is vaguely familiar, isn’t it? It is reminiscent of the Russian hostage crisis, in Chechen, which took place on the same date, years before.
The populace seems to identify with issues far too deeply, to assume too much self importance and a pretense of having influence to change things dramatically in bizarre and unusual ways. Discontent and anger permeate the atmosphere and this novel surely illustrates what can happen when a “world goes mad”, when someone goes mad and tries to infect the world with that madness; in order to achieve redemption for his “crimes” he spreads the feeling of terror, like a disease which moves out into the ether.
We have only to think about the cult of people that arose to follow Casey Anthony, for and against. We have only to think of the bizarre ways in which the lawyers used facts to influence judgment, to know that our time is dangerously close to the time in the book. Society is failing. There is an equal feeling of vicarious pleasure and disappointment, shared by the mob. It comes in waves.
When the hostage taking begins, there are people making frantic predictions, having no idea whatsoever about what they are saying. They are assuming the hostage taker is a terrorist, they accuse a government they don’t trust of orchestrating the event, they think it will blow over, be nothing. They live in a fantasy. They actually seem to enjoy this crisis. They, the people, that is, seem to have been geared up for this. Maybe it is all the reality shows that have prepared them to feel this way. They like being voyeurs, feeling like authority, feeling like they are important. Their values are mixed up. They worship the wrong things, entertainment, video games, ridiculous meaningless art. There is a culture out there that doesn’t work, that simply creates issues, incites or ignites the community to action, even over ridiculously foolish things. There seems to be a lack of ambition, drive, responsibility. Their energies are directed toward pretty worthless pursuits. The street culture is prominent and street art is prevalent. Everywhere are protest signs of some kind. Universal terror appears to be the universal end product they are seeking.
One has to wonder why we are obsessed with the dysfunctional, especially after reading this novel. There are a lot of angry fringe groups and they always find a leader to glom around. There are so many characters who march to the beat of their own drummer, not mainstream, not active participants in improving anything but more in presenting their personal philosophies to the world. They are not producers of anything of value for physical survival but rather concentrate on emotions and feelings.
I think the real savior in the book is Rabbit, whose great achievement, his technological message, would seem to be “Let There Be Light!” Reminiscent of the creation, isn’t it? Is that all that we need? Are we looking for a way back? Is hope the answer? I think it has proven to fall short of the goal. We can’t survive on hope, alone. Humans need more, but they need it in the proper perspective! So, yes, let there be light, let there be understanding but also let there be responsibility for one’s own behavior. We are all going to be held accountable, in some way, at some time.

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About omasvoice

Who am I? I am you. I am everyone out there who loves to read and discuss and voice an opinion!
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Books for Adults, Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

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