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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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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

59 of 60 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lesley
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 01-06-18

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!

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • diane
  • NEW WATERFORD, OH, United States
  • 12-09-17

Fantastic. Land.

Lord of the Flies meets today’s young people! Awesome book. Kept me interested to the end.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Exceeded expectations

No need to mention the similarities with other books or the writing format as that is well covered by other reviewers. The first 3-4 chapters were slow and I was thinking DNF. Understand, I'm a Florida native, which means I've ridden out my share of hurricanes (including a 5 cat) and visited the parks at nauseam. Therefore, the first few, set-up chapters were a boring and not exactly accurate. Putting aside a the disbelief and getting past those first few interviews, wow, I couldn’t put this book down. Again, I’ve seen hurricanes bring out the best and the absolute abhorrent attributes in people. This was that scenario played out in a playground with kids. What really pushed me to give this 5 stars, because I certainly wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, is the intense creepy factor. There’s plenty of gore, but man, there were 1-2 chapters that left me doing that little shiver-shake, covered with goose bumps. Another plus, in comparison with the other YA books, little to no annoying teenage angst. Consequently, if you love your Stephen King this will be a light read and if you’re a fan girl/boy of dystopian YA this may push your envelop a little. It exceeded my expectation either way.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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If anything can happen, who cares what happens?

This book started out really promising for me. I've lived my whole life in the Orlando area, and loved the bizarre take on Walt Disney meets Lord of the Flies. But about halfway through, it seemed to run out of clever ideas. The huge suspension of disbelief needed for the first half was fine because it made sense, in a deliciously twisted way, but then it just kind of fell apart. All the characters began doing such shocking things in such quick succession that the I was numbed to the shock value and actually bored enough to begin skimming ahead. If it was a film rather than a book, I'd say that it morphed from being a bizarre thriller to just being a B-movie slasher film.

2 of 2 people found this review 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Honeybear
  • 11-13-18

Great story

I really enjoyed this book. The performances were excellent and really added to and assisted the atmosphere and narrative. My only caveat would be that there are some pretty graphic descriptions of violence, some of them early on which could be upsetting - if you’re of a sensitive disposition it might not be for you. That’s why I’ve given it 4 stars.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ms. J. Stewart
  • 09-29-18

FANTASTIC!

I found this to be very clever story telling. I just hope this never happens in real life!!!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kat Taylor
  • 08-17-18

Like nothing you'll EVER read again

So utterly different from anything else I've ever read. FANTASTIC LAND documents, from several different interviews with park "survivors" what happens when society breaks down and the fight for survival kicks in.

After hurricane Sadie hits, the employees find themselves stranded in a flooded theme park and all semblance of conventional order quickly crumbles. To survive, they form groups, but as they find themselves abandoned they turn on each other, with a frightening realism that we as readers can not only understand but empathise with.

This book is gory and horrific in places, and has a gritty realism about it that you can feel in your gut as you listen to the unfolding chaos.

Hats off to the genuinely spectacular narration; two narrators who not only gave convincing changes in accents but managed to convey totally different characters.

PLEASE READ THIS BOOK. From It's unique interview style and it's gritty realism, to the horror and emotions it invokes in its listeners, Fantasticland paints a very beleivable picture of what could happen to anybody when you're desperate to survive.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • M. Moller
  • 08-01-18

Great story!!

I really enjoyed this story, a bit Stephen King esque which is a good thing. Great narration too

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Drakspook
  • 07-26-18

Great book

Loved the format, loved the story, try it if you have a credit, you won’t regret it

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rebecca
  • 07-24-18

Hauntingly entertaining

The performances in this book made it all feel so real. I was utterly glued to this book and finished it in less than 24hrs. It was as my title says hauntingly entertaining, beautifully written and just heartbreaking at times.

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  • Debra Camby
  • 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.