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  • [Fun] "Utopia" - book recommendation for Disneyland fans!

    I'm not sure why it took me so long to think of making a thread like this, but better late than never, I suppose! Anyway, I simply MUST recommend [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Utopia-Lincoln-Child/dp/0345455207/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1259774539&sr=8-8"]Utopia[/ame], a 2002 novel by Lincoln Child. It's perfect for theme park fans. I stumbled upon it by accident in my local Barnes & Noble years ago, and I'm currently re-reading it for perhaps the third time. You won't find anything particularly profound in it - it's a lot like a Michael Crichton thriller in a fantastic, fictional theme park - but it's a really fun read. Although I don't think Child was trying to create a detailed allegory for Disneyland, it's interesting to read about some of the parallels, and the book does a really nice job of immersing you in this imaginary world while also delivering some pretty sweet thrills.

    WARNING: Mild spoilers to follow.



    Utopia takes place mostly in a theme park called...you guessed it...Utopia. The six-month-old brainchild of a late magician called Eric Nightingale, it's located in the Nevada desert and makes use of holographic techniques and artificial intelligence to complement its more traditional theme park elements. It's got four "lands", referred to as Worlds. One is a lot like a next-gen Tomorrowland, and another is a lot like the way Paradise Pier should have turned out; the other two are called Camelot and Gaslight. A simple, unthemed "Nexus" runs down the middle, acting as a buffer between the Worlds. Of course, something goes horribly wrong with the computer network, and they bring in an expert, through whose eyes we see the park for the first time, including its backstage operations as well. But it soon turns out that it's not just the computer system that's problematic, and the action gets more and more intense through the end.

    If you saw Jaws in the 70s and haven't been in the ocean since, this probably isn't the book for you. After the initial wonderment, there are some calamities that could ruin your perception of theme parks. But if you can appreciate that it's just fiction, I think many of you would really, really enjoy this book. As I said, I'm currently re-reading it yet again, and I just love the way Child immerses you into his imaginary theme park, which itself excels at immersion by all accounts. It's only 8 bucks on Amazon...what have you got to lose?

    And if some of you have already read it, I'd love to hear your opinions on the book!


  • #2
    Re: "Utopia" - book recommendation for Disneyland fans!

    I accidentally came across this book too! I saw the roller coaster on the cover and the title "Utopia." At first glance I was thinking it was a book about teenagers or kids in a themepark like "The Beast," but no, it was a very interesting concept about the futuristic versions of theme parks. It has holograms, servicing robots, A.I.'s and newer technology that we can't imagine today.The book had great twists and excitement from suspense through out. I definitely recommend this book!

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    • #3
      Re: "Utopia" - book recommendation for Disneyland fans!

      Utopia is one of the best suspense storys to take place in a theme park. I just wish someone one would build a park like the one in the book.
      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want!

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      • #4
        Re: "Utopia" - book recommendation for Disneyland fans!

        Is this the Disneyland Forum or the Utopia one???


        Talk about a "theming" violation!!! :lol:

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        • #5
          Re: "Utopia" - book recommendation for Disneyland fans!

          I read this book a couple of years ago, enjoyed it as well - agree that it's a great read for anyone who spends much time thinking about theme parks. (any of those here? )

          Las Vegas would be a logical place for a strong competitor to Disney to emerge. After the economic crunch subsides, it wouldn't be a particular surprise to see a company like MGM Mirage take a stab at building an immersive multi-day park/resort. They have a strong interest in continuing to diversify away from gambling, and they have many many hotel beds to fill mid-week. Plus a big new airport is on the way.

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          • #6
            Re: "Utopia" - book recommendation for Disneyland fans!

            This was tried in Vegas not too long ago. They really tried to get away from the city of sin image and become family friendly. There was a movie type theme park built there (but I can't remember the name of it). It didn't last very long and died out. Obviously it wasn't on the same scale as Disneyland, but it did sound pretty cool and I was always sad that I didn't get to experience it.

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            • #7
              Re: "Utopia" - book recommendation for Disneyland fans!

              aha, found the info on it.

              MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

              and here's the old micechat thread from 2006 where I first heard about this.

              http://micechat.com/forums/other-the...dventures.html

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              • #8
                Re: "Utopia" - book recommendation for Disneyland fans!

                Oh sure...I should have mentioned this, along with the very well-done (and now defunct) Star Trek attraction at the LV Hilton. The diversification logic for the big LV hotel/gambling interests is not really new...but it is still compelling. The problem is doing it right, and with the right kind of scale. There is also a challenge in getting the right kind of physical/mental separation between the adult areas and the family areas.

                Personally, I think this will require a park NOT on the Strip...although it would be awesome if there was a monorail connection.

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                • #9
                  Re: "Utopia" - book recommendation for Disneyland fans!

                  Not to be confused with [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Utopia-Thomas-More/dp/1599869314"]Utopia[/ame] by Thomas More.

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                  • #10
                    Re: "Utopia" - book recommendation for Disneyland fans!

                    Thanks for the heads up Data, I'm going to check it out for sure.

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                    • #11
                      Re: "Utopia" - book recommendation for Disneyland fans!

                      I borrowed this from the library a few years back when my sister and I were on a Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child fiction kick. Definitely, as Data said, it's a basic thriller and suspense novel. The setting is what sets it apart as unique, though. You know how people joke about Disneyland having a weather dome? Well, this park has one -- sort of. The whole place is built in a huge, airconditioned dome. Can't have the tourists get too hot, can you?

                      Mild spoilers: The details of the plot I don't remember so much (again, it's sort of a basic story), but the part that horrified me the most was the way that some of the tourists died. Let's just say that in one case, the dome wasn't able to keep a poor group from getting too hot...

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                      • #12
                        Re: "Utopia" - book recommendation for Disneyland fans!

                        This sounds vaguely like something I meant to get around to reading and never did. I'll try and check it out.

                        A perhaps similair book which I enjoyed is "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" by Cory Doctorow.
                        My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

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                        • #13
                          Re: "Utopia" - book recommendation for Disneyland fans!

                          I cant help but think of the Westworld / Futureworld connection when reading your synopsis. How off base is that train of thought?

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