Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fantasy Park

Jurassic Park imagined a fictional scientific method to bring dinosaurs back to life, for the purpose of inhabiting a for-profit amusement park.

You could imagine the same sort of thing with a "Fantasy Park"--genetic engineering being used to deliberately create dinosaurs, griffins, ents, trolls, and other fantasy creatures of all kinds, specifically for a for-profit park.  Humans on salary could, via surgery or genetic engineering, volunteer to take roles as demi-human elves, dwarves, orcs, etc.

This story could be written as a minor variation on Jurassic Park itself:  Several experts visit the park before opening with some innocent children along for the ride, everything goes horribly wrong as fantasy creatures escape because somehow they're too real and too malevolent to ever be caged in.  I would rate that a fairly interesting story plot, even though an obvious copy.  I'd actually prefer something more original, though.

An improvement would be to make the fantasy creatures somehow real, though still through the power of science.  Perhaps the park designers could use a Stargate-style technological portal into other worlds for the purpose of drawing real creatures from alternate universes with characteristics strikingly like those of realms of fantasy. Them getting out of control could be a simple matter of the creatures not only being real, their magic  proves to be real, too--even in our non-magical world.  Caging real dragons in a park would quite naturally get out of control...

I think a more original variation on the scientific portal idea would be that messing with inter-universe technology opens a doorway into a specific alternate universe, one inhabited by creatures significantly similar to what you'd see in Lord of the Rings.  So in this case, a "Fantasy Park" story would be like going out on safari.  You pay the (hefty) price, get equipped with swords and gear, and going along with a guide carrying a few technological gizmos in case things get out of hand, you go hunting orcs or whatnot.  Responsible people in the fantasy world would soon find out about the inter-universal tourism and either would support or oppose it.

After a long time of this I can imagine a cross-cultural contamination going on--so that industries and goods from our world leak into the world of fantasy.  I find interesting a "Fantasy Park" in which fantasy creatures from an alternate universe are thoroughly drenched in our culture.  Imagine a dwarf tour guide in traditional gear, leading a group through a historic battlefield between orcs and dwarves, stopping to answer his buzzing cell phone ("Just a moment, folks.  I need to take this one.").  Elves take up surfing and eat at McDonald's, somewhat like Kat Heckenbach's story "Dude" in the anthology Aquasynthesis (which happens to contain three of my stories also!).  Trolls have a hankering for KFC, bones and all...people visiting the park see it as a sham but enjoy it anyway--except for young children, of course, for whom everything is real.  A story plot could revolve around a malevolent spirit, thought to be long vanquished, working behind the scenes in the park...

Of all the possible story settings I just proposed, the one just above appeals to me the most.  But I've imagined another sort of "Fantasy Park," one created in the world of the fantastic creatures itself.  A wizard assembles a group of creatures, creating a park, then opens a magic doorway into our world and takes tourists into his universe.  For the proper price.  Imagine such a wizard mysteriously interested in something particularly sinister from our world, such as robot drones or plutonium.  Or anthrax cultures...



  1. Travis, you should check out Karina Fabian's "Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem". There's a gateway to the Faerie world and magical creatures have come here. Vern, a sentient dragon who becomes a detective in our world, has to chaperone/babysit some of the other less-savvy Faerie creatures at a Mensa convention. Everytime Vern sits down, kids assume he's a Disney statue and crawl all over him. While not really a themepark idea, it does mix the two worlds very well and it's hilarious.

  2. Caprice, I've heard the title before but haven't read "Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem." Sounds like I should!