Summary

Since the 1970s, FantasticLand has been the theme park where "Fun is Guaranteed!" But when a hurricane ravages the Florida coast and isolates the park, the employees find it anything but fun. Five weeks later, the authorities who rescue the survivors encounter a scene of horror. Photos soon emerge online of heads on spikes outside of rides and viscera and human bones littering the gift shops, breaking records for hits, views, likes, clicks, and shares. How could a group of survivors, mostly teenagers, commit such terrible acts?
Presented as a fact-finding investigation and a series of first-person interviews, FantasticLand pieces together the grisly series of events. Park policy was that the mostly college-aged employees surrender their electronic devices to preserve the authenticity of the FantasticLand experience. Cut off from the world and left on their own, the teenagers soon form rival tribes who viciously compete for food, medicine, social dominance, and even human flesh. This new social network divides the ravaged dreamland into territories ruled by the Pirates, the ShopGirls, the Freaks, and the Mole People. If meticulously curated online personas can replace private identities, what takes over when those constructs are lost?
FantasticLand is a modern take on Lord of the Flies meets Battle Royale that probes the consequences of a social civilization built online.
©2016 Mike Bockoven (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Gillian on 02-02-18

Excellent!

When I started listening to this book, I was unsure about its format. I’m so glad I stuck with it. The whole premise is scary and disturbing in that it doesn’t stretch the listener’s credulity. The author has been very skilled at exploring several themes, such as climate change, the need for humans to feel like they belong, the effects of losing technology on young adults, violence and dereliction of duty, none of which is rammed down the listener’s ears. There are several narrators, some of whom are a bit irritating, especially the one who reads as if he’s in Bill and Ted’s Big Adventure. However, it is an American story so I’ll just have to get over myself! There is a lot of violence but the whole book is well written, well structured and is one that I won’t forget any time soon. Highly recommend.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By sharon wharton on 30-09-17

fantastic!

i really enjoyed this book! i couldnt stop listening i needed to hear everyones stories from fantastic land! i was so realistic and pulls you right smack bang i the middle of it all... loved the narration too as this made it even more believeble! one of the best books ive purchased in a long time!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By T.J. on 12-11-17

Absurd...But awesome

This was one strange story- Performed in a 'mock interview' style, akin to 'World War Z' it was an attempt to piece together the events that happened at an amusement park that was cut off from society after a hurricane. When the rescue teams arrived they found carnage, and a place known for family fun was a complete warzone

I'm not going to bother with any particular details other than to say that it was absurd but totally fantastic, pretty well written and the performance by the narrators was some of the best I have ever heard- The Female narrator did an especially outstanding job in conveying emotion and creating different personas that were believable and so well 'acted' that it 'felt' like a real interview was being conducted.

I say this was absurd because it is- But not in a way that is unbelievable or way over the top. The fact is, I loved the story. My wife and I literally laughed at parts and cringed at others and felt emotion when it was merited...This book was made for audio, and I'm not sure how good it would have been in book form but the narration here was mind blowing, the story really draws you in and at the end you are left wanting more.

This is one of those books ill be able to listen to again and again- Which is rare for me even if I enjoy the story. I was reluctant to buy this tbh and this has quickly moved to one of my favorite audible titles.

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47 of 47 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Lesley on 06-01-18

Scares are guaranteed!

I thought I'd enjoy this book based on reviews. I ended up loving it, and I'm sure it will get a second listen. In the wake of natural disasters like Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, and Maria, FantasticLand felt close to home, and it gave me more to think about than I originally anticipated.

FantasticLand is an amusement park on the Florida coast. When Hurricane Sadie hits, several hundred employees are stuck there with plenty of food, water, and shelter--but no power, and no way to communicate with the outside world. Almost immediately, the situation begins to decay, and within just a few days, the survivors have gone full Lord of the Flies on each other.

The 25 or so "interviews" with survivors and other involved parties are presented as an attempt to piece together what happened and find out what went wrong. From one standpoint, it's a brilliant way to tell this story: with so many unreliable narrators, Fantasticland is one big terrifying puzzle. Who's telling the truth, if indeed anyone is? Who were the heroes, or the villains? How did this even happen? Figuring it all out would take multiple listens and maybe even a spreadsheet.

One limitation of this form, however, is that we don't get to spend much time with each character. In some cases, that's just fine--yikes!--but in others, it seems like a missed opportunity. There are also a few extremely intriguing story elements that surface briefly and then vanish with the next interview, only to pop up later on. That can be great fun, or frustrating, depending on how much we want to know, and sometimes I wanted to know more.

I was a bit afraid FantasticLand might turn out to be a fable about The Evils of Social Media, and there was some of that, but luckily not too much. The author is generally kind to his characters, who are mostly twentysomethings, and wisely avoids painting them all as completely incompetent while pointing out that some of them were better equipped than others to survive. The narrators both do a great job with their many roles, sounding by turns scared, angry, cocky, regretful, happy, and plenty of other emotions. I was impressed at the sheer variety of voices and accents.

Overall, this was a really good listen. Without being preachy, it gave me a lot to wonder about--violence, how important communication is in human relations, why we as news watchers dwell on every detail of every disaster. Highly recommended!

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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