The Barsoom Project
Copyright 1989 by
I first read this in 1992 and most recently on the 21st August 2003
Dream Park is a theme park of the near future. It's chock full of fascinating
technology and gives the customer the chance to participate in exhilarating
This is the most important time in the company's history. The Dream Park company
is attempting to generate financial interest in a real Barsoom Project, a real Mars
expedition. So it is absolutely critical that Dream Park operates smoothly, that
nothing goes wrong.
Alec Griffin, security chief of Dream Park, finds
that the park is under attack. A saboteur is loose in the games and
an evil business empire is attempting to take over the company.
Still he'll probably sort them out.
This was an upsetting disappointment, and I wasn't even expecting much since
this was advertised as "Return To Dreampark..." as if anybody had ever wanted to
return to "Dreampark" in the first place. I should confess
something: I absolutely loathe Disneylands, except of course the dancers in the News Year's
Eve parade at Tokyo Disneyland.
I enjoy those centrifugal force things that spin you round
and hold you against the wall while the floor slips away
and where you realize, just as your jeans start rising up your legs as you slide a
little down the wall, that you're wearing mismatched socks. I also enjoy a rickety
old roller coaster.
But I absolutely loathe the sanitised, commercialised vision of the alternate yet
banal world that is presented in the theme parks to which I've been. Admittedly
I've been to only two, both in the dead of winter and in the bitter cold.
Both under extremely arduous conditions, both almost completely without
alcohol and tobacco. In Tokyo Disneyland I sat on cold concrete for
five hours in near zero temperatures, heating pads plastered over my body.
In Paris Eurodisney, I walked, shivering in arctic conditions, across a
storm-swept footpath to a solitary, dismal, ride. Of course, they may be
better in summer.
And returning smoothly to the novel, the only point of the guest from the
Falling Angel orbital lab, is that Niven (or Barnes)
can talk about her knees hurting. There is no other significant use made of her
character that couldn't have been more conveniently supplied by one of the
other protagonists or not supplied at all if Niven and Barnes had more wisely
decided not to write this awful book.
And it should not be entitled "The Barsoom Project". If anything, it should
be called "Fimbulwinter", the game in which our protagonists compete.
There is absolutely
no need for any Martian connection. It's misleading madness.
Not a favorite.
Loaded on the 5th May 2004.