|Submitted by Jeff Marsick |
(Sep 20, 2005)
Remember your junior high school days? Back when every day was a new battle in the never ending campaign against the Zit Lords, braces were the best form of birth control, and you quickly learned that playing a musical instrument was SO not cool. Remember field trips to boring places (because they taught you not only to respect the past but to revel in the fact that unlike those suckers of a bygone era, YOU had cable TV!) in those long sardine cans called buses, with no A/C, three to a seat, and "99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall" chanted with exuberant glee by future Honor Society geeks (who, for some reason, always thought wearing the night brace on their teeth during the DAY, was a fashion statement)? Well, just imagine that one of those trips you fell asleep, only to wake up on an island with your fellow busmates, and you were each given a weapon and blessed with the command: "Go forth and kill each other."
Man, how much more fun would those field trips have been!
That's the premise of Koushun Takami's book, "Battle Royale". Originally written in Japanese, this novel caused quite a stir on the Emperor's Isle, so it was translated into English in 2003. (The writing isn't fantastic and typos run galore, but I can't fault the author, perhaps elements are lost in translation. But the novel is an entertaining ride from beginning to end.) It reminded me a lot of Stephen King's (writing as Richard Bachman who wrote in the style of Stephen King) novella, "The Long Walk", from the Bachman Books. In this game, there can be only one, and 42 kids decide whether or not they want to play. Alliances are formed, deceptions abound, and a handful unleash the killer they keep contained within. With a dash of "Lord of the Flies" you watch as nature vs. nurture unfolds on this killing island. But before you think this is just another bang-bang-shoot-'em-up, you should know that not every student is given equal weapons. Sure, the cool one is the machine gun, but how long can you last if you are handed a fork (you'll have to read and see!)?
So if you're looking for some excellent entertainment with some edge-of-your-seat thrill to spice things up, check out "Battle Royale". You won't be disappointed.