The Hampton Festival of Killing and Other Thought Crimes

Filed in Archive, Blog by on December 28, 2015 0 Comments

Tim Richards books

In 1997 screenwriter and author Tim Richards published a prescient and darkly humorous novel titled The Prince. Not to be confused with the book of the same name by political theorist Niccolo Machiavelli, published in 1532.

The Prince by Tim Richards, published by Allen and Unwin, tells the futuristic story of the Hampton Festival of Killing, held annually in a bayside suburb of Melbourne to boost the local economy. Each year a committee nominates seven adults in Hampton to be killed. The associated TV rights and publicity around the world generate billions of dollars for Hampton and a unique global market position for this otherwise ordinary suburb.

Keep in mind this novel was published before Peter Weir’s prophetic 1998 film The Truman Show in which Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) was raised in an entire world contrived for reality TV. And this was before the reality TV series Big Brother debuted in 1999. And more than a decade before The Hunger Games was first published in 2008.

Fortunately, the good people of Hampton have only instigated an annual Halloween Extravaganza each October 31. Click the following link to “What’s On in Hampton Street” if you want details of this event.

In 2011 Black Inc published a collection of short stories by Tim Richards, titled Thought Crimes, that peers into the future with more dark humour. One of the stories has since been optioned for screen production by the film director John Michael McDonagh (The Guard, Calvary, Ned Kelly).

If you’d like to try some truly original reading this summer, I highly recommend both books. If the annual Most Underrated Book Awards (MUBA) by the Small Press Network allowed the inclusion of books published earlier than the year prior to the award, I would nominate The Prince and Thought Crimes in a flash.



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