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Surviving Antarctica : Reality TV 2083 Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 1, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, April 1, 2005
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From School Library Journal

Grade 6-10-In 2083, all education in the United States is conducted through television. Shows re-creating historical events like the Battle of the Alamo are used to teach history, and also to give losers in the educational dice roll a chance to earn fame and money. The Secretary of Entertainment, worried about falling ratings, has come up with a splendid idea-re-create Robert F. Scott's 1912 expedition to the South Pole, using 14-year-old kids, most of whom have never even experienced snow. And make sure they are completely isolated by implanting tiny digital cameras directly into their corneas, thus avoiding the need for pesky camera crews who might interfere with the drama. The five participants are the usual band of misfits, including Grace, an Iñupiat Eskimo transplanted to Arizona after Alaska is turned into a nuclear waste dump, and Billy, who desperately wants to be voted MVP, but hides snack food from his starving companions. There's also Polly, who has an amazing memory and a surprising capacity for leadership; Robert, great with engines and sheer determination; and Andrew, searching for his special talent and finding unexpected depths of courage. Back in the television studio, a few brave employees surreptitiously help the kids and try to figure out a way to stop the madness. Brisk action, interesting characters, and intriguing (sometimes gruesome) details make this a compelling story, while television's pervasive presence in our lives and the undeniable popularity of the "reality" format give a rather frightening timeliness and believability to the tale.-Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. In a future where the government plies the public with nonstop reality television to provide distraction from the rampant poverty, and higher education is won or lost on a dice toss, Historical Survivor is the most popular program on the tube. Teens Andrew, Polly, Robert, Billy, and Grace have been chosen from a pool of thousands to reenact Robert F. Scott's fatal 1910-13 expedition to the South Pole in Antarctic Historical Survivor. Like Scott, they will face hidden crevasses, mechanical failure, and frostbite. But while Scott's calamities occurred naturally, the Secretary of Entertainment has made sure the teens' perils are written into the script. Luckily, there are those working on the production determined to save the kids--at any cost. While the writing in this debut novel is fairly pedestrian, the pacing is excellent, and the story swings from one cliff-hanger to the next as the five characters develop in predictable but satisfying ways. A real page-turner, this novel will give readers pause as they ponder the ethics of teens risking their lives in adult-contrived situations for the entertainment of the masses. Jennifer Hubert
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Eos (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060554541
  • ASIN: B000EUKR9A
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,285,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Reality TV is dominant in the world of 2083. Schooling is provided through EduTV until age 14 when institutional schooling costs $10,000 per year. This is a time of haves being havier and have-nots basically starving. For the poor a contest called "the Toss" determines which lucky person has a scholarship. Five of the main characters lose the toss.

"Anarctica Survivor" is created for five 14-year-olds to follow Robert F. Scott's exact path to the South Pole in Antarctica. Never mind that he was an adult and experienced professional. Each teenager to succeed wins the cost of one year of schooling. The Secretary of Entertainment has one goal only: to raise ratings at any cost.

Call it a suspenseful adventure, a dystopian story (society run amuck--viewership of this reality show reaches 99.6% when death is imminent) or speculative fiction or all of these--its coming-of-age of all the major characters is the thread that holds all the parts together. Not all who go on the quest survive, but those who do, come out changed for the better: stronger, wiser, and much more mature.

Another major character is Antarctica herself. A shape-shifter, this continent presents bizarre and hazardous obstacles from breaking ice floes to icy crevasses to white-out blizzards and obscenely low temperatures.

While I enjoyed this story very much, I am most annoyed at the artist who created the cover. Although it looks great to the unknowing eye, at no point in the story did the five rope together nor did they walk.

What they did re-enact was the use of ponies, dogs, and motor sleds that Scott and his men used in 1912. Excerpts from his diaries are also interspersed at appropriate points in the story for authenticity. The five ate the same provisions, used the same kind of equipment, and wore the same kind of clothes. Only the outcome differs. No one in Scott's party survived.
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Format: Hardcover
The year is 2083, and television rules the world (even more so than in 2005). Kids don't go to school anymore; they stay home and watch EduTV for their education. At least until they are 14. Then the rich kids go on to high school and college, while the poor attempt to find a job, any job, though there isn't much available. They live in crowded shack towns and eat processed food chips with flavors like broccoli and chicken. Life is hard and bleak for these kids, with few comforts and fewer opportunities. The only possible happiness has to come from within (which everyone knows is where true happiness comes from anyway), because there's certainly not much pleasure otherwise. The poor kids do have one, very slim chance of getting to college and finding a good job, and that's through the scholarship lottery system. A very few get lucky; most don't.

So when a reality TV show offers 14-year-olds an opportunity at a big money prize, thousands jump at the chance to apply. "Historical Survivor" is a favorite program on EduTV. Contestants participate in recreated historical situations like the Civil War and The Alamo, right down to every dangerous detail, including the risk of injury and even death. This special teen edition puts five teenagers in Antarctica on a remake of Robert Scott's race to the South Pole in 1912.

Polly, Grace, Robert, Andrew and Billy all apply for different reasons, with different hopes and dreams. Each is chosen because of a specific and special talent he or she possesses. Then they ship out to the frozen and hostile world of Antarctica armed with the same supplies and equipment that Scott's expedition had back in 1912. Scott's men didn't survive. Will this group of 14-year-olds be able to?
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Format: Hardcover
I thought this (new genre to me) Hi Sci adventure would be perfect for my nephews (9, 10 & 15). Then, I read it and was surprised to find myself: a) so won over to a genre I'd had no interest in (shamefully, I admit I read no history nor science outside of my field of child psychiatry); b) caring tenderly about fictitious characters in a made-up future, with whom I had little in common (but I did! I welled up with their need for each other, their compassionate, reaching-across-chasm-like sacrifices and their flow of spontaneous gratitude in the end); and c)laughing out loud (like at Hot Sauce's promised congressional interrogation-ad-infinitum or that black market t-shirt!).

Because of the superb pacing of the second half of the book, and that great, swooping (I should have expected that sudden appearance at page 292, but I didn't) accelerated climax, I submit that Ms. White has pioneered her own genre "My Sci Fi." It reads like a Mystery; only with the murder not at the beginning, but looming. Or is it a "cautionary tale" with a warming balm of hope? Can hot-headed indignation plus goodness plus empathy plus The People really be the formula to save us from The System?

How ironic that Ms. White skewers EduEntertainment while producing a paragon of that hybrid! She insinuates such a (modern) virtuous lesson without a whiff of sanctimony or naivete. Reminding us of the essentials of hope and interdependence and the (undeniably, ultimately Real) yearning to bridge out of our existential aloneness. Ms. White, (like her Steve),makes a difference. I think she's given kids such a palatable tonic they'll gobble it up like Chocobombs.

Mark Leifeste,MD Boulder, CO
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