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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.

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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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An amazing listen, could not put it down.

I listened to this after reading Devolution and someone reccommended this audiobook as they had a similar format. This was a willd wild listen. The buildup at the beginning, all the way to watching everything turn to chaos was unlike anything I've read before. At times, it gets really dark so it might not be for everyone. I was thinking this was going to be some type of young adult fiction, but I was so wrong. It was violent and gory, but at the same time you just can't press pause.

The narrators are all incredible at what they do and I felt like their voices really add to the realism. The average Joe dad just sounds like your average dad, and then the young 'kids' sound so young and innocent so it's even more shocking to hear what they say. Overall I hope this gets more hype and praise, and I would even love to see it turned into a movie one day.

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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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.

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.

1 person found this helpful

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AMAZING

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

1 person 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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A Clever Take On 'Post-Apocalyptic' Fiction

Comparisons to 'World War Z' aren't fair - other than the mode of storytelling and the scenario. 'Fantasticland' is a retrospective look at a collapse of Society and what happens afterwards - but it's in a limited setting (a Megapark due to a Katrina-like storm) instead of Worldwide after a Zombie Virus. It's also surprisingly satisfying.. but not of Max Brooks quality.
Mike Bockoven strings together interviews with officials, rescuers, and survivors to relate an incredible descent into anarchy among the staff trapped in the Park for six weeks. The scenario is laughably implausible, but Bockoven's narrative is undeniably gripping. The prose is realistic, the setting is established nicely, events are described very well (albeit manipulatively violent/gory), and the interviews include plenty of foreshadowing (e.g. "The Cannon"; "The Council Of Pieces"; "Elvis"; etc.). I was stimulated to keep listening just to hear what they're talking about.. although the technique is a little overdone.

The performances from Angela Dawe and Luke Daniels are peerless. Daniels, in particular, is able to make each interviewee sound like different people - but both succeed marvellously at bringing the story to life.
This book - made up of interviews - is *made for* the Audiobook format - it's set up to be better than a text version.. and it is. Using dozens of readers (as for WWZ) may have been a better choice from Brilliance Audio, but Dawe and Daniels are brilliant.

I was prepared to not like this book - reviews are pretty mixed - but it was offered as part of my membership as part of the 'Plus' catalogue, so I decided to download it. I'm happy that I did - it's worthy of 8.5 stars out of 10. Even were it not free, this audiobook would merit a Credit for fans of Zombie Fiction, 'I Am Legend', or even 'Lord Of The Flies'.

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A great listen

A super gripping story that is performed very well. Hearing what happened from different perspectives was a very interesting way to learn the story. I'm definitely suggesting this title to my friends.

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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.

132 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.

41 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!

46 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.

15 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.

27 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

24 people found this helpful

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  • Hickabilly
  • 2018-11-22

Best book I have listened to this year

I listen to books while driving in traffic. Most books have interesting parts and then time in between where it just fills in back story and I find that my mind wanders. But this book held my attention from start to finish. This was just a huge surprise. I got it on one of the sales for $5. It was better than most books that I have paid full price for. Just pure entertainment while driving. My blood pressure thanks the author and narrators for this performance.

9 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.

9 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!]

38 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