This is a future US where violent criminals become idols and sex symbols and compete for freedom in Hard Action Sports. Physically and mentally tortured, they must kill or be killed in televised matches. Broad in scope and told from multiple perspectives, this violent novel packs a punch as it examines sin, redemption, prejudice and privilege. It’s a discomforting read interspersed with factual footnotes that show injustice is a reality.
More than a sports program- it was the most real of the reality casts. There were stakes in this show so deep audiences were addicted to outcomes. But that always had been true. What he'd done was twofold: He'd introduced Blood Points, the currency that is had entire podcasts dedicated to its use, and he'd also realized that when you emphasized the fact that everybody involved in the Chain-Gang Circuit was a criminal, companies became more and more willing to advertise with the organization. Once they'd started identifying each Link by their crimes, their deaths no longer held the same weight to the viewers. The nut to crack in any criminal-justice sport was to separate the criminal from the human. When humans saw other human humans, they felt 'bad' for whoever had gotten sliced up that week. When humans saw a criminal die, well that was different.