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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Backlist Not to Miss: Castaways

One of my guilty TV pleasures is Survivor.  Even when I tell my husband I am going to stop watching it with him, I keep going.  I begin each season hating it and by the end, I am totally absorbed. It is the same pattern every season, for 23 seasons.  I know, I should know better by now, but it has become a habit by now.

Brian Keene must also have a similar tormented relationship with the show because in the 2009 novel Castaways he imagines a Survivor like show which urns deadly.  From my original review:

Here is the plot... A television crew and contestants in a Survivor-esque reality show are literally caught in a fight for their lives-- the island they have been left on is populated by an indigenous tribe of bloodthirsty monsters! Castaways is a grisly page-turner.

The reality TV slant in this novel is genius! The contestants are on an uninhabited island and a cyclone is approaching. All but three crew members are evacuated and the contestants are left alone to ride out the storm. That is when the horrors begin. This is a bloody book, but Keene's ability to add humor and his well enough described band of characters makes this novel a good choice for a wide audience. As a warning I should say there are a few brutal rape scenes, but they are necessary to the plot. And even though many, many people die and are torn limb from limb (literally), our main characters make it out alive and live happily ever after. Although, I dare you not to be rooting for the monsters to get a certain Welsh contestant.
Keene uses gore and snarky humor in equal parts.  This is a great read for anyone who loves or hates Survivor.  It is also an excellent choice for fans of the late, great horror-master Richard Laymon, as Keene's monsters here are a direct homage to the devolved monsters of some of Laymon's best work.

So, with another season of Survivor having just ended this past Sunday night, why not give this fun and frightening backlist title a try for yourself.

For more Backlist Not to Miss posts, go to the Features Archive.


  1. I have an old paperback copy of this sitting around somewhere. Never was a fan of Survivor, but I figure I ought to give this book a chance some time.

  2. That's what is so great about this book though, if you like Survivor or hate it, you will enjoy the frame here. It is better if you hate it actually, which is why my love-hate relationship with the show enhanced my enjoyment of this book.