FantasticLand

A Novel
Narrated by: Angela Dawe, Luke Daniels
Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,566 ratings)

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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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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.

83 people found this helpful

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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.

18 people found this helpful

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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!

28 people found this helpful

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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.

17 people found this helpful

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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

15 people found this helpful

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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.

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30 people found this helpful

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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.

14 people found this helpful

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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Holy hell.

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

4 people found this helpful

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  • Gillian
  • 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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • sharon wharton
  • 09-30-17

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!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Colonel Failure
  • 03-19-19

World War Generation Z

You can't really review this book without a quick nod to WWZ as its interview format is near identical. Not that this is a bad thing, and it really allows both Luke Daniels and Angela Dawe to put in some very distinct performances as the array of characters they take on.

The concept is excellent, built on the premise that society is 3 days' food from collapse at any given point. Take a group of 200 young people, isolate them from the world for the first time, split them into groups with no centralised leadership... yup, I can get onboard with this reality.

Well written but might benefit from a slightly slower pace in the first instance. All the killings are thought out in terms of cause and effect, but things shift from isolation and suspicion to full on tribal warfare a little quickly, maybe one more interview to bridge the gap early would have accomplished this. Then again, maybe I'm being picky.

Well worth your time if you enjoy the apocalypse for some light reading.

1 person found this helpful

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  • victoria
  • 06-23-20

Couldn't put it down

Really enjoyed it and the performance just made it better. One of the best audiobook I've listened to in a while

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  • Laura M
  • 10-13-19

Perfect for audible

The story was really interesting and the voice acting was fab from both narrators. I listened to it over the course of 2 days whilst unpacking from a move, I would recommend a binge although the interview style might also lend well to dipping in and out. There’s lots of unanswered questions but not in an annoying way, it was just the right level of mystery.

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  • Cat
  • 06-15-19

The best book i’ve listened to in a long time

This was an absolutely FANTASTIC listen. The characters individual stories are so compelling, listening to it all come together to create this horrific sensational event hits home. I especially love how the author addresses the fascination we as a society hold for tragedies, how such horror is trivialised into quizzes and merchandise and people wanting to somehow simulate it for enjoyment. We would all like to think we would act differently while taking some kind of sick interest and entertainment from savagery, we aren’t that far from the edge as we might like to think.

I can’t stress how much I love this book. It’s original, thought provoking and heart breaking. I loved every second.

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  • More Wine Please
  • 03-15-19

Gripped from Start to Finish

The way this story is written as a series of witness accounts lends itself so well to audio format. I was really impressed with the range of voices and personalities that came out of just two voice actors. Often, when there are too many perspectives in a book I find myself annoyed because it feels like they jump to a new person's story just as you're getting invested in the one you're reading but this book does it so well. The only frustration I have is that there isn't more of it. I would love to hear more perspectives and find out who a couple of the characters were (not knowing is going to annoy me for a long time!). There are definitely some questions left unanswered which, given the non-fiction style, is to be expected but frustrating none the less! I guess that just means the author did a good job though, always leave them wanting more. I've thought about who I would be and I could easily be Jason or a circus freak. That's another great thing about this, you will be able to identify with someone in the park because all types of personalities and tactics are covered.

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  • Mark Renny
  • 01-19-19

Cracking...just superb. Will listen again!

I don't think that i've listened to such a long audiobook in such a small space as this one before.
Told via a series of interviews with two actors providing the voices of the narrators, this gripping story plays out like a modern 'Lord of the Flies'. A hurricane cuts off a theme park from civilisation and the staff trapped there under the park management's crisis plan splinter into tribes based on the themed areas of the park. To say any more would really spoil your enjoyment of this unknown (in the uk imho) classic.
Mike Bockoven has created a truly believable environment and characters where the story criss-crossed via the structure of the interviews.
I came across this novel via the 'Shock Waves' podcast episode 127 where the podcasters were relating their favourite horror films and 'things' from 2018. Thank you Rebekah McKendry for this suggestion as it really has gone into my top ten of 'all-time' favourite audiobooks!

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  • Angela
  • 12-11-18

Creepy and Original

I was recommending this book to people before I'd even finished it.

The concept is great and quite original. Very creepy elements and questions over the montrosity of human nature. Reminiscent of the marvellous Warriors (but modern, and amazingly more violent), I loved the gang aspect to this book. The Warthogs were by the far the scariest.

I wasn't sure whether this would work as an audiobook, but the narrators have done a really good. Would like to read it properly as a comparison.

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  • mike fay
  • 11-15-18

Fantasticland

Wow, never has a book been more suited to being narrated. The interview style of writing leads itself brilliantly to Audio, and whilst the story does require some significant suspension of disbelief, along with the ignoring of a couple of plot holes, the acting and subject matter make this an engrossing listen.
thoroughly enjoyable

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  • Hebby~Bookworm
  • 01-27-19

Absolutely amazing!

The narrators were top notch. They gave each character their own voice and did a great job!

The story was very good, and even though I wasn’t sure about the interview-style format to begin with, I was won over after a couple of chapters.

It was really well written and had some really exciting moments, lots of action and interesting characters.

I listened to the whole book in one day, I just wanted to find out what happened.

Five stars for sure!

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  • Debra Thornley
  • 04-20-18

Brilliant

Absolutely could not have enjoyed this book more.
Do yourself a favour and give this a go. You won’t be sorry.