BBC Radio 4, June 15 (and for 7 days after on iPlayer)
The tale of the rise and fall of a reality star who is really connected to her audience…
Like the best short stories, Lauren Beukes’ tale – the first of three such readings which form part of the Dangerous Visions strand – provides a window on the world about which the author is writing, allowing the reader/listener to extrapolate considerably more detail in their own heads. As Chipo Chung recounts the travails of Talitha Calix, you can almost feel the many forces at work around her.
Imagine not just seeing and hearing the exploits of the TOWIE stars or their worldwide brethren every time you opened a newspaper or switched on the television, but that you were connected to them pretty much 24 hours a day, and you felt everything they did – including the most intimate moments. Forget your Paris Hilton sex tapes: you are there as Talitha orgasms. Where do you go from there?
Beukes’ story is a cautionary tale. There are those who want to ‘save’ Talitha; others who want to exploit her further. Talitha herself gets a chance at some form of freedom, but then inevitably those around her are drawn into the freakshow that her life has become. And then…
Verdict: A frightening look at this element of our ‘culture’ taken to an extreme. 8/10