July 12, 2016
A reality show is filming out in a remote wooded area. They’re calling it In the Dark, and contestants are in a race to complete tasks set to them by the show’s host. To win a million dollars, contestants are tasked to win the race, but also to survive out in the woods and not give up. The winner could be the first to complete the race, but also might just be the last person standing in the end.
Each character is introduced by nicknames the showrunners have given them, and we follow one in particular–Zoo. As the game wears on, Zoo is wearing out. She has been going without regular food and safe shelter, and the gimmicks and props the showrunners have been springing on her have gotten more gruesome and grim. She sees clues along the way she’s sure are meant for her, letting her know she’s on the right track. She’s just getting a little worried, because she hasn’t seen a cameraman in quite awhile.
The Last One is a study in how one’s hold on reality might be merely a matter of perspective. Partway through the show, a pandemic has hit the US, and wiped out a swath of the population, leaving devastation and scavengers everywhere. Because Zoo has prepared herself for some of the gruesome tricks sprung on her early in filming, it becomes hard to tell when scripted horror fantasy becomes grim reality.
This one was an interesting take on dystopia, and the weirdness of ‘reality’ TV. Oliva also inserts little ‘reddit’ style posts at the end of chapters to give a dimension of what goes on in the audience for TV shows like In the Dark. Inventive and enjoyable.
JL Jamieson is a strange book nerd who writes technical documents by day, and book news, reviews, and other assorted opinions for you by night. She is working on her own fiction, and spends time making jewelry to sell at local conventions, as well as stalking the social media accounts of all your favorite writers.