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FantasticLand

Written by: Mike Bockoven
Narrated by: Angela Dawe,Luke Daniels
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Publisher's 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.

What listeners say about FantasticLand

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Great Audiobook.

This book had a very cool concept of having young adults stuck in a horrible situation tuning into a even more terrible situation due to their decisions. The quality of this audio book was fantastic. Having actors use different voices for different characters is what made me like the book more more. There's some parts in this book which I feel they could have changed a bit, but overall it told a compelling story via the interviews. I'd recommend getting this book if you liked World War Z. #Audible1

3 people found this helpful

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Surprisingly good.

It takes a bit to get used to the style, a series of interviews, but it's done well and does pull you in. Worth a listen for sure if you like the premise.

2 people found this helpful

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Fun and Gory

First of all I want to say the narration is top notch.

Secondly, you'll enjoy this book of you don't take it too seriously. Especially the parts that say these early twenty something's turned barbaric because they didn't have their phones and couldn't post to facebook.

It's an interesting plot and the narrative is strung together well as a series of interviews, the only exception being the afterward which seemed out of place, very reductionist, and needlessly guilt...trippy.

Anyway it gets my recommendation

2 people found this helpful

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It's an okay tale.

Well written, well narrated but, really, the whole premise makes no sense because of the timeline. But, I ended up listening because I paid for the book not because it captivated me.

2 people found this helpful

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Very well done all around

Great modern rendition of a lord of the flies style tale. Really enjoyed it, great narration and story.

1 person found this helpful

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A true testament to don’t judge a book by its cover...

I was hesitant after reading about the interview style, but the premise sounded good so I gave it a shot. I loved it! Wished it was longer. The narration was great, the story was great and I’m so glad I gave it a chance!

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Similar style to WW:Z

I enjoy disaster stories so this was decently entertaining. However I felt some of the characters underdeveloped and the authors voice very present throughout. "If I find the person that did X.." or any comment about kids being dependant on their cell phones was pretty much reiterated by each character.

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AMAZING

THIS BOOK IS FANTASTIC!! I could not put down!!! it was definitely worth the read!!

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great book

I could not stop listening to this book. The way it was told was unique and the different voices were a nice touch.

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A great listen.

I found myself wanting to come back in here more as if this was a real new story I was invested in.

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  • T.J.
  • 2017-11-12

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.

152 people found this helpful

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  • Lesley
  • 2018-01-06

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!

61 people found this helpful

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  • Megs
  • 2017-10-02

Brilliant!!!

This is the greatest book I've "read" in a long time. I listened to it at work and found myself stopping, mouth open, just listening to the horror. Brilliant writing especially in today's world with all the hurricanes going on. This took me back to my days working at a theme park which really enforced the creep factor. Everyone should read this book.

52 people found this helpful

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  • Midwestbonsai
  • 2017-10-31

a scarily thoughtful illustration

This book is a series of 20-something interviews conducted by a journalist after a load of young adults go Lord of the Flies in a theme park after being trapped by a hurricane. The interviews are not only with survivors who were in the park but with management staff who left before the hurricane struck, the park's owner and some of the military and police who were first in there during the rescue.

Each 'interview' gives a wide view of what went on, with some overlap between some of the stories but overall it gives you a HUGE view of what went on from a variety of different perspectives. The beauty of this being that you get a whole range of different ideas as to why people would behave in this way - the story itself is pretty simple, the staff split off into groups when they realised they were trapped and then turned on each other. This book considers how little it would take to push even the most civilised human beings into killing each other off, given the right set of circumstances.

It has some moments of goriness, but this book is a scarily thoughtful illustration of that 'right set of circumstances' so you feel yourself being swept up in the panic and violence.

There aren't the words to do justice for the narration of this audiobook - Angela Dawe and Luke Daniels turn this already wonderful book into a performance to be remembered. Each 'interviewee' has their own distinctive voice and characterisation, bearing in mind there are more than 20 characters to be split between them - this is no mean feat.
You can really believe that these are all different people giving an account of their experiences, also making it easy to split into sections to listen to during commutes etc. (I totally didn't do that, I spent all of Sunday afternoon cleaning out kitchen cupboards just so I could keep listening to it).

I am so enthusiastic about this audio that I see myself recommending it to all my friends for weeks to come, not just forcing my other half to listen to some of the gorier bits.

Audiobook was purchased for review by ABR

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

44 people found this helpful

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  • Ian
  • 2018-03-16

Maybe It's Me, But...

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

As a rule, I find something that has consistently high reviews (and plenty of them) can be relied upon to deliver to some degree. This is the exception to that rule.

FantasticLand is billed as Battle Royale meets Lord of the Flies, and I'm not sure which one of those should feel more insulted by the comparison. It's nothing like as smart and controversial as BR, and falls laughably short of the genius of LOTF.

It's written from the POV of multiple witness testimonies given to the author of a book about what went on in a theme park cut off from civilisation, which stretches the vocal talents of both narrators.

The premise is that an insanely powerful hurricane isolates a theme park that was already remote, leaving the remaining staff (ostensibly to protect it from looters and other such contrivances) isolated for weeks.

During that time, society breaks down. It's gradual at first, but accelerates as time passes and supplies dwindle and... oh, wait. No, it's not gradual. It happens pretty much after one day. Apparently, deprive young adults from internet access and Facebook, and murderous mayhem will quickly follow. Supplies are plentiful we are repeatedly told, food and water both, and yet long-pig is apparently on the menu at some point. So next thing you know, factions are formed, atrocities are committed and before you can say 'well that didn't take long!', corpses are swinging from lamp-posts.

What characters there are seem thin at best, often little more than roughly sketched caricatures whose motivations are equally flimsy.

Also, a flood of the park keeps people from moving out beyond the main contested area, and yet several characters just wade out, one even setting up on his own in a luxury hotel until he's visited by two other characters who also make this seemingly impossible journey. This hotel, by the way, is one of four and, far as I can tell, no-one else seems to think wading through some foul water is a better option that being beaten to death.

The book is full to the brim with such inconsistencies which, even when they are justified, smack of little more than contrived conveniences.

Another example is that no-one is allowed to keep their phones, that they're all stored in staff lockers in a distant part of the park. So distant that early on, two characters go out there and loot the place. No-one else even bothers.

Towards the end, the writer doing all the interviewing asks why all this happened, and why so fast and so violent. His conclusions are half-baked commentaries on social isolation, reliance on technology and how teens left unattended will naturally follow the first psychopath who shows them where the stabby things are.

Honestly, it's just rubbish.

43 people found this helpful

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  • Cee
  • 2017-08-29

Totally Believable

I listened to this audio book during the 2017 Texas Hurricane, Harvey, so to say it felt accurate and extra haunting is an understatement.
This story is told in a documentary style, a reporter shares with us the thoughts and commentary of survivors that stayed in a Florida theme park to care for it after the storm hit. It has a 'Lord Of The Flies' feel, but ... not. Tragic survivors that overreact to their situation in every wrong way possible.
It's very well written and the reason I'd chosen it was because my favorite narrator, Luke Daniels, narrates it. He does an amazing job giving each character their own personal voice, as the writer had given them specifically written personalities. This book is very engaging, supremely eerie, absolutely gross, completely realistic, utterly plausible, and held my attention enough that I listened to the entire book in one sitting. Then I listened to it again the following day.

Two thumbs up, 5 Stars, 10 out of 10, Highly recommend.

32 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2017-10-11

Disturbing... but in a thought provoking way

At first I thought I was gonna be turned off by the interview format but I have to say it worked. Wasn’t too gory so I really appreciated that part. Definitely enjoyed it

27 people found this helpful

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  • TinkerMel
  • 2018-03-30

awesome!

this is a great book! its done in a completely different way then anything I have ever read before. I thought it might be good, but WOW. it was really good! it even starts out at a good pace, them boom! things get crazy! Job well done!


the narration was excellent! there were about 30 or so different voices, and each one was done not only differently, but WOW amazingly.

20 people found this helpful

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  • rachel Mayhem
  • 2017-10-02

So happy I stumbled onto this

This was a great book, now one of my favorites. I love the style and the story. Everything was so unique. I will be reading more from this author.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Brandon N.
  • 2018-01-31

Holy hell.

Absolutely brutal... and Fantastic. I could not stop and now I want to go back.

13 people found this helpful