Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Media in Captives by Jill Williamson - CSFF Blog Tour

Julie again! So in Jill Williamson's dystopian science fiction Captives, the media is full of "reality" shows such as Big is Beautiful, the masses are inspired by fashion trends from The Finley and Flynn Show, and even ceremonies where people are "liberated" from their life are on ColorCast as compelling entertainment. (And if you'd like to explore more of the Safe Lands, there's an entertaining website at http://thesafelands.com/)

It also sounds like the content on general TV can be at least as bad as anything you'd see on cable now. From the point of view of Omar, who came from the rural village of Glenrock to the Safe Lands:
One show depicted two men trying to kill each other on a stage surrounded by cheering onlookers. On a cooking show, a woman taught Omar how to cook his own strawberry savarin, whatever that was. What Omar assumed was meant to be a beauty program showed fat people--bigger than Mary, Shay, and Megan combined--and how one woman wanted to go back in time and relive her third life to earn better fortune. On C Factor, a man with earrings was having relations with a woman. On TV! There had been a scene like that in the Old movie Titanic, but they hadn't shown it. A channel that seemed to be devoted to displaying things he could buy was selling something called a Personal Vaporizer that could be used to make candy, alcohol, medications, and stimulants--whatever those were--turn into a breathable form. (pp. 126-127)
(I didn't know what a savarin was either, but upon finding it's a cake, I do think it would bring me pleasure in life!)

At first glance, it looks like the old movies--even those that have some objectionable content--are being hailed as something positive. But then, this is Omar's point of view, and he is not exactly the hero. Or maybe it's just being realistic...most Christians (including myself) watch, and even own, media like Titanic that has some redeeming qualities but doesn't have a Christian world view. (And in fairness, the "entertainment" in the Safe Lands doesn't seem to have any redeeming qualities, though I'm biased against "reality" TV.)

And yes, the people in rustic Glenrock do watch movies and even play video games. As I touched on in my review, Levi and Jemma, the "perfect" couple in the novel, love the film "The Princess Bride," so much so that Jemma's convinced that Levi, her "Westley," will save her when she's captured, and uses the codename Buttercup.

I just assumed Williamson was writing this as a sweet, innocent, positive thing, though I didn't see the basis for their romance (except that they were pretty, they loved each other, and presumably liked the same movies). For me, this romance didn't work, and not just because I'm not a sucker for the romance featured in "The Princess Bride." Actually, if Levi had called Jemma his Belle, his Tiana, even his Anastasia, I still would have thought it was much more creepy than cute. 

And in fairness, I'm sure that in real life, people get tired of me quoting TV shows they're not interested in.

I guess a takeaway (whether intended or not) is that we probably should be living our lives in the "real" world. Not that we can't enjoy entertainment, but fixating on ANY media--"wholesome" or not--is at best silly and at worst as destructive as life in the Safe Lands.

Not fixating on media is easier said than done, of course, and I don't know that I can do it. Certainly not on my own.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:11:14, NIV)

Here are the tour participants!

Julie Bihn (that's me!)
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Pauline Creeden
Emma or Audrey Engel
Victor Gentile
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Asha Marie Pena
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Rachel Wyant

 *In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book.


  1. Julie, really good point about culture becoming too enamored with the 'good life' as depicted in media. It's like reality TV. Why watch someone else's life when you can go out and live your own? In the Safe Lands, the Finley and Flynn show dictated the latest styles, and what is "in." By following humans instead of The Lord, we set ourselves up for a fall.

  2. Interesting thoughts about media. Can't say I've watched either of the movies that were mentioned so the Princess Bride references that you mentioned in your post I didn't get until I read your post (My something to learn for today, maybe???)


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