Dear readers, tonight we reprint a media interview with a near-future reality-TV show’s host — a show all about finding the greatest victim of the modern world; the worst life the 2070s have to offer.
[Connecting with live feed already in progress] —And that, folks, is why you never get into an argument with your delivery drone. [Pause for canned laughter] Our next guest is the host of 2072’s hottest new reality feed, our very own RedCorp Entertainment’s The Grass is Greener. So give a big round of applause for Mr. Liam Argyle!
[Equally canned applause as a lanky, jug-eared man in a slightly rumpled suit strides into the feed, grinning and waving to the inexistent crowd.]
Thanks for coming on the show, Liam.
Thank you for having me. I’ve been a fan for years, and it’s a real honour to finally meet you in person.
Aw, you’re too kind. And very busy, too, given what a huge success your show, The Grass is Greener, has turned out to be. Now, a lot of viewers out there might not remember, but this is your first job hosting a show, right? What was it you did before this, again?
*cough* I presented the weather on Stream 2. Rain or shine.
A weatherman, yes. That was it. Lovely. Was that something you’d always wanted to do?
Well, actually, I never thought I’d end up presenting anything — let alone a massive, global reality show like The Grass is Greener, don’t forget to tune in to the next big weekly elimination show this Sunday at 8pm UTC. In fact, I always thought I’d be working in academia. You know, Universities, back when those were more of a thing. That’s why I studied philosophy at Uni.
Well, you really dodged a ‘taser bolt there! [Pause for canned laughter] I bet you couldn’t believe it when RedCorp offered you the job hosting The Grass is Greener.
I’m still pinching myself, Dawn. It was finally a chance to do some good in the world, you know? Helping the contestants get their stories out there, so they can show the whole world how bad they have it, and get the recognition they deserve as victims of modern society.
And did it? Do any good, I mean?
cough Well, those viewing figures don’t lie, do they? Billions of people seem to like the show. So we must be doing something right! Right?
[Pause for different, slightly mocking canned laughter] Oh, you are a treat. Let’s talk about the show itself then, shall we? What have been your most memorable experiences so far?
I’d have to say getting to meet all of our amazing candidates, Dawn. It takes a very special sort of person to own their suffering and their injustices so completely, they’re strong enough to invite the world in to experience them through their own eyes.
And that isn’t a figure of speech, of course, as I’m sure all your viewers out there are well-aware. Our proprietary Grass is Greener lens implants let anyone in the world tune in to experience life through our contestants’ eyes, 24/7, 365 days a year. 366 on a leap year, for that matter.
And some of those experiences have been particularly juicy, haven’t they? What are some of the most exciting bits so far, in your front-seat opinion?
Well, I’m not sure exciting is the right word. After all, the show is all about finding the greatest victim of the modern world; the worst life the 2070s have to offer. When we’re following Jill, our industrial suicide scene cleaner, or Spike Bighorn, the last human porn star amongst all the robot performers in Hollywood, things can get gruesome pretty fast. It’s hard to stay objective and professional as a Host when your contestants are suffering, you know.
Oh, I’m sure. But come on. Don’t hold out on us. What were the best bits, the behind-the-scenes secrets the viewers didn’t even get to see?
The whole point of The Grass is Greener is full transparency. What you see is what you get! So when the viewers follow our live contestant feeds and tune in to our weekly feature elimination shows, they can rest assured they are getting the full, unadulterated experience. Of course, I can’t speak for what happens when I’m not around — or when I’m unconscious, like after that unfortunate incident with the chair on last week’s elimination show.
That clip is the hottest item on the Red video streaming service right now, by the way.
Ah, well, it’s like I said. A full, unadulterated experience. The only thing going on behind the scenes is me and my production team working hard, day and night, to make the best show for our faithful viewers out there, all around the world.
It must be hard, running a show that broadcasts multiple feeds live, 24/7. It’s not too stressful on the team, is it?
If that’s okay with you, Dawn, I want to thank all the production team for their awesome work. From our ever-vigilant Editor all the way down to our field agents, Norma Lee and Zack Carpentiere, and our technical wizard, Barry Fletcher, none of it would be possible without them. Oh, and I nearly forgot our agency worker, Mary. Makes the best damn yeast-paste sandwiches in Greenwich.
I bet you guys have to pull a lot of all-nighters. I hope it doesn’t put too much of a strain on your social life. Especially now that you’re a household name! How do you wind down?
Oh, well, you know what it’s like. There are certain functions you just have to attend, it’s part of the job. But other than that… well, I still love curling up and loading a good book onto my lenses, with a G&T or two.
[Sotto voce] Or ten, from what I hear.
Sorry, what was that?
Oh, nothing. Carry on. You were saying?
I was just going to add that, otherwise, my favourite thing is to meet up with my friends for an evening of RTS video games. But that’s been a bit tricky, lately, what with work and all. I’m sure you know how it is, Dawn.
Yes, you’re a busy, busy bee, Mr. Argyle. Not even any time for romance? A bit of an office tryst, even? You know how much our viewers love to gossip!
Sorry to disappoint everyone, Dawn, but no. And if they’re not happy, they can call my Mum. I’m sure she’d love to become President of the “Get-Liam-To-Settle-Down-And-Start-A-Family” Club.
Ooh, is that why you spend so much time at work? To stay safe, where you can control things, and avoid family you don’t want to speak with back home?
Hey, don’t start putting words into my mouth, now. I love my Mum. And if you think I’m in control on our set at Tantamount Mews, think again. Not with my Corporate-assigned Editor constantly breathing down… err… constantly sharing his wisdom to make sure we produce the very best show for our loyal viewers, out there. That’s what I mean.
Right. And that reminds me: When I want to be at my best, I drink Sinner-G caffeinated water. Sinner-G: It’s the future. And speaking of the future, what does it hold for The Grass is Greener, and the remaining contestants?
Only time will tell. And remember, it’s the viewers out there who vote, like we always say, “to find out who has it bad, who has it worse, and where The Grass is Greener”. Their votes will decide who the greatest victim of 2072 truly is, and who deserves our ultimate prize of a life of luxury up with the Corporate elites on Paradise Mars. So you’ll have to tune in to find out, Dawn, just like everybody else!
Oh, come on, Liam. There must be something, some juicy secret you can share, just between you and me?
Weeeell… Maybe I can tell you that we have something really awesome planned for our first season Finale. Something out of this world, you might even say. And after that? We’ve already been renewed for at least two more seasons, so you can soon look forward to a fresh batch of contestants. Another whole year of wholesome, global fun searching for who really has it the worst, out of all of us. And hey, maybe it’s one of you, watching right now! We’ll be sending out the call for candidates soon!
I’m sure our viewers out there are already polishing their applications. Thank you for joining us Liam, and stay tuned everybody because next up, we have our regular segment, “Ten More Ways To Get A Leg Up Over Your Neighbour”. But first, a word from our sponsors!
J.R.H. Lawless is an award-winning SF author from Atlantic Canada who blends comedy with political themes — drawing heavily, in both cases, on his experience as a lawyer and as Secretary General of a Parliamentary group at the French National Assembly. A member of SFWA and Codex Writers, his short fiction has been published in many professional venues, including foreign sales. He is also a craft article contributor to the SFWA blog, the SFWA Bulletin, and Tor.com. His debut novel, Always Greener, is out now from Uproar Books, and the sequel, The Rude Eye of Rebellion, comes out in Fall 2020. He would love to hear from you on Twitter, over at @SpaceLawyerSF!
You can find Liam on the pages of Always Greener.
Join us next week for an interview with a travelling storyteller, who met many a wondrous sight. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.