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Die Famous! (R. Daniel Lester)

‘Die, Famous!’ surprised the hell out of me.
Found at Goodwill for a whopping $1.99, I bought this novel with no thought that it would be capable of spanning generations as a classic, only that it would be “crappy-goodness”. The cover caught my attention, the synopsis baked the overall premise into my brain. Cha-ching, 2 bucks spent. I figured it cant be worse than actual reality tv, which has a strange magnetism that both sucks me in and nauseates me. .
I was wrong on a number of levels. ‘Die, Famous!’ is witty, well written, epitomizes the reality culture and mind set. I couldn’t stop reading it. It was well approached, giving a perspective to all characters via reality tv confession booths, but the core story follows a single man. He has been given four hours to tell the tale from start to finish, confessing all details. Instead of chapters, you are given a countdown of this four hour period.
The plot centers around thirty-two reality tv all-stars being dropped into a new game with no explanations regarding the end goal. None of them know where they are located. only that they are in a city in a desert. the city is an amalgam of various cities in the world- Paris, New York, San Francisco- with tourist stops miniaturized and typically made of trash and recycled materials. Holed up on the main floors of a building, the players find that non-player areas are filled with old paper and electronics, refrigerators and fridges, rotting food and spilled chemicals. Knocking holes in walls often provides secret caches of viable food or materials, hidden in the trash. Then they start finding weapons along with the food.
This novel is part ‘Battle Royale’, ‘Lord of the Flies’, ‘House of Stairs’ , ‘Jersey Shore’, and MTVs Liquid Television. It kept me entranced, wondering how f*cked things could get, and concerned as I grew to like a number of the characters. There was the right amount of commentary, action, gratuity, and in the end I had not figured out whodunit. It is nice to have something that is just edgy enough that it is uncomfortable, but just familiar enough that one can become fully engrossed and engaged.
It doesn’t hurt the book that it is filled with clever text and descriptions that made me stop and wonder if this novel is being overlooked only because it is independently published and has such a high price tag (a freakish $19.95 for a trade paperback, free shipping only in Canada). See the below excerpt.
Background – Destiny and Sanity are both players in the game, inserted into the world after the other players have been in play for a week or greater. Sanity is a confusing love interest, which spawns the following:
Destiny was a tough nut to crack.
And Sanity, she was elusive.
Because if she wasn’t pulling me close or pushing me away, then I had a moment to think rationally about it, and at those rare moments I felt bad for the way in which humanity callously toyed with the emotions of the yo-yo, a simple creature of wood and string that maybe only wanted to be left alone.

  • Pages: 256
  • ISBN 978–0-9812366–2-9
  • Publisher: Dirt Starling Press (2009)


    1. russell1200
      September 26, 2012 at 8:22 am

      You should write his jacket blurbs. He doesn’t sell his books very well.

      (comment manually migrated)

      1. erisian
        September 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm (Edit)
        That would be nice.
        He might sell more books.

        I need a new job :)

        (comment manually migrated 10/17/12)


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