Hostage crisis inspires a closer look at price of fame

Author believes our lust for attention has diminished western values

Author Timothy Taylor takes on the topic of fame in his new novel, The Blue Light Project.

Author Timothy Taylor takes on the topic of fame in his new novel, The Blue Light Project.

Timothy Taylor is no stranger to fame. Winner of the prestigious Journey Prize for short fiction in 2000, he wrote two of the three stories shortlisted and is the only author to have three stories published in the Journey Prize Anthology.

Now the acclaimed author of Stanley Park is tackling fame in his third novel, The Blue Light Project, which tells the story of three characters brought together by a hostage crisis that plays itself out on television for the whole city to see.

“The novel is preoccupied by what I believe to be a really strong and almost dominant cultural current at the moment, which is the open aspiration for fame/renown/status/esteem. I sort of clump all these concepts together and I think that it’s safe to say that this is an attitude and belief system of the moment,” Taylor says.

He says the widely accepted common values have diminished and those Western values previously considered as universally good have now thinned, and fame and fortune may be the last men standing.

“We may not be able to agree on a lot of other things, but we seem to be able to agree on this — that we should all be trying to self promote and be as well known as we can . . . reality television is a pretty obvious example.”

The three characters in the novel: a disgraced journalist, an Olympic gold-medal winner and a street artist, are all dealing with their own issues around the subject.

Taylor says he was inspired to write the fictional tale from a real life scenario.

“I had been reading quite a bit about the Moscow theatre crisis and there were a lot of aspects of what happened there that really struck me as significant.

“In a terrible, terrible way, it was sort of the perfect terrorist act of its moment,” Taylor says.

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