Everyone has heard by now about the Harry Potter theme park (warning: website has looping music and no mute button). It's an intriguing notion (for some; a pointless gimmick for others). At the Guardian, Alison Flood took the optimistic view, offering readers to come up with a few more book-based theme parks (forgetting for a moment that Harry Potter has moved far beyond "mere books" and is massively popular as products of all kinds...). Pondering the goings-on of the "Potterland", Flood suggested that perhaps it would be better to plan theme parks based only on children's books, saying, "[T]he thought of cockroaches parading around in Kafkaland, or the car crash experience at Ballard World, is giving me shivers." Flood's immediate idea is the perfectly plausible "Alice in Wonderland"-land. But must they all be from books geared for children? Absolutely not. Some other theme parks built around fun for the whole family:
* Monte Cristo - escape from prison, fencing lessons, a large playpen full of foam balls and a few buried treasures, and villain laser tag.
* The Odyssey Experience - a frenzied boat ride through Poseidon-infested waters, souvenir shops that sell "I destroyed Troy! ...but lost my way home..." merchandise, and Odysseus vs. suitors teamed laser tag.
* Enderland - do battle with buggers, maybe have a few internal conflicts about it, fly around in a giant space station. And laser tag.
Just about any fantasy, science fiction, or adventure story can be transformed into a fun, exciting theme park. We should expect to see others like this very soon. All you need is time, good planning, publicity, and a whole lot of money... oh.