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Dream Park Mass Market Paperback – March 25, 2003

57 customer reviews

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Unadulterated wish fulfillment. -- Locus

About the Author

LARRY NIVEN is the award-winning author of the Ringworld series, along with many other science fiction masterpieces, and fantasy novels including the Magic Goes Away series. He has received the Nebula Award, five Hugos, four Locus Awards, two Ditmars, the Prometheus, and the Robert A. Heinlein Award, among other honors. He lives in Chatsworth, California.
STEVEN BARNES’ first published collaboration with Larry Niven, The Locusts, was nominated for the 1980 Hugo award.  He has also written several episodes for The Outer Limits, Baywatch, and other television shows.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dream Park
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (July 15, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441167306
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441167302
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,429,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Burnett on July 24, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I was a young'n, I discovered "Dream Park" and was utterly enthralled. Gaming was, at the time, in its infancy. Video games consisted of Missile Attack, PacMan and Centipede. The world was at the brink of the first major technological revolution since the sixties and the possibilities were endless. Authors Larry Niven and Steven Barnes took all that information and expanded it, suggesting the marriage of imagination and technology in a way that was new and exciting.
The story is relatively simple. A group of pretend adventurers suit up for a campaign called "The South Seas Treasure Game". As in the early Role Playing Games, there are Dungeon Masters, warriors, magicians and thieves. But the difference here is that they play in an artificial enclosure that has been enhanced with special effects, holograms, actors and a clever storyline. The players get as close as possible to truly living their adventure.
The plot thickens when a security guard inside the park is murdered and the main suspects are those playing the game. The park's head of security, Alex Griffin, joins the game to find the killer, but finds new meaning in the games he helps keep alive.
In my youth, this was all fascinating, thrilling stuff. I wanted nothing more than for Dream Park to become reality. The game was deftly plotted and there was a good deal of humor throughout. The characters, except for Griffin, were not rendered well, but I didn't care. They did their jobs as fodder for the game master's trickery and that was all I needed. The authors' real genius lie in the descriptions of the workings of the park and of the game.
I recently reread Dream Park. At the age of 40, the adventure still stands strong. It's not exactly an adult's book, but neither is it strictly for young adults.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Carlton on July 24, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First of all, it's OK to read this review without spoiling the story for you (I really hate when people do that).
If you read the other reviews you will quickly see that there are many of us who have read Dream Park numerous times and consider it among that small band of visionary science fiction tales. Niven has several books on my short list (Mote In Gods Eye is at the top).
Although gamers will love the story, it is a well written science fiction piece, and also works well as a murder mystery. Some of the technical innovations are now showing their age (fan fold computer paper, etc.) but with the incredible growth of both e-gaming and the huge multi-million dollar amusement/game/fantasy complexes in Orlando, there is a natural symbiosis just waiting to happen. This is not Jurrasic Park or anything like that....this is a classic science fiction approach to what could become.....and as Niven is one of the great SciFi writers of all time.....as well articulated as you will find in any great literary work.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Evan Waters on August 5, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
DREAM PARK is a favorite book of mine- though it's hardly a true literary classic, it's a remarkable achievement in the "pop" fiction world. Here is a high-tech thriller that's not just exciting but thoughtful, detailed, empathetic and charming. It's a little epic that's more rewarding than it looks.
The setting is Dream Park, a futuristic fantasy theme park full of holographic attractions and the latest in VR technology. A team of players enters the South Seas Treasure Game, one of the Park's frequent live-action high-endurance fantasy role-playing spectaculars, facing off against the diabolical designs of Gamemaster Richard Lopez. All's fun and games until a Park security guard is murdered, a valuable research property stolen, and all evidence points to someone inside the game. Security chief Alex Griffin goes undercover into the game to unmask the culprit. Unfortunately for him, Lopez believes in fair play, and if the Griffin wants to stay in the game long enough to catch the criminal he'll have to overcome the same obstacles as the rest of the team.
Dream Park is in and of itself a fantastic setting, with enough combination of whimsy and high-tech that I wished I could go (and I'm probably not the only one.) What makes the plot work so well is the combination of the mystery-thriller element with the high fantasy adventure of the Game. The players in this game are just as serious about winning as Griffin is about solving his case- there are no prizes at stake, no salaries paid, it's a matter of them doing their best. Their dedication is actually quite touching, and the descriptions of the adventure are so vivid that they're impossible to separate from the "reality" of the Park.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "ms_maul" on August 16, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is seriously one of the greatest books i have ever read.
Seeing how I LOVE RPGs and role playing a character, feeling as you are another person, in another world, I always thought 'Man, it would be so cool if you could do it in real life.' I think it's obvious why I loved this book!
In 'Dream Park', Dream Park is a theme park...but not your ordinary theme park. Sporting technology we can only dream of, such as holograms, Dream Park revolves around it's main attraction: the Games. Players represent a character, may it be a Thief, a Warrior, a Magic User- and use real or holographic weapons against hologram monsters and living dead, mixed with actors such as the female sacrifice and the guide. However, 'It's all fun and games until...' a Dream Park employee is murdered, and all clues point to a game member. 'Griffin', head of Dream Park security must enter the game and try to figure out whodunnit while trying to not get beheaded by zombies, birds, and other Game creatures. I HIGHLY reccomend this book to anyone who has played RPGs or likes role-playing, but I think others would like it as well. This book kept me guessing to the end as far as the mystery went, and the characters were fun, enjoyable, realistic, and sometimes not-so-nice. (Draeger, anyone?)
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