Life is a Carnival: Fiction about Amusement Parks

August 28, 2017 | M. Elwood

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When I was younger the CNE was everything. My friends and I spent days on the midway and nights at the concerts. It was our chance to squeeze every last drop of fun out of the summer and we did our best.

These novels set in amusement parks may help you relive your carefree summer days – particularly if those days involved violence, serial killers and candy floss.

All the lives he led     Alpha      Down and out in the magic kingdom

All the Lives he Led by Frederik Pohl
As the 2,000th anniversary of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius approaches, a virtual Pompeii theme park faces a terrorist threat and the possibility of another eruption. 

Alpha by Greg Rucka
e-audiobook
ebook
Jad Bell, Special Forces veteran, is working in a security role at WilsonVille, the world's largest theme park, when terrorists take over the park and threaten to release a dirty bomb. Can Bell disarm the terrorists and rescue the hostages – among them his own daughter?

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow
ebook
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
In the future, death has been eradicated and work is voluntary. Julius lives at Disneyworld where he helps run the Haunted Mansion. He learns that the group running the Hall of Presidents is trying to take over the Haunted Mansion and perhaps the entire park. Julius must fight to maintain control of the ride, aided by his girlfriend Lil and friend Dan.

England england    Heyday    Joyland

England, England by Julian Barnes
e-audiobook
ebook
In this lively satire, venture capitalist Sir Jack Pitman creates a theme park on the Isle of Wight replicating British landmarks, cultural symbols, and historical and literary figures, in order to attract tourists who want an "authentic" English vacation.

Heyday by Marnie Woodrow
ebook
Parallel narratives set on Toronto Island 100 years apart tell the stories of Bette and Freddy, teenage girls who meet in 1909 on the Island roller coaster and Joss, a photographer who is mourning the loss of her wife in 2006.

Joyland by Stephen King
Audiobook
e-audiobook
ebook
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
Heartbroken college student Devin Jones takes a summer job at Joyland, a cut-rate amusement park in North Carolina. While he is becoming familiar with his new workplace, he learns that the park's haunted house may actually be haunted – by the ghost of a woman whose murder was never solved.

Palisades park     Slayground    Slayground graphic novel

Palisades Park by Alan Brennert
e-audiobook
ebook
Large Print
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
Toni and her brother Jack help their parents at their Palisades Amusement Park concession stand but the carefree summer days are brief as the family is torn apart by The Great Depression, war and societal changes.

Slayground: a Parker Novel by Richard Stark
e-audiobook
After an armoured car robbery goes wrong, Parker escapes with the money to the nearest safe place – an amusement park that is closed for the winter. Unfortunately, some sketchy policemen and mobsters are on his trail and there's only one exit. Also available as a graphic novel:

Slayground: a Graphic Novel adapted and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke
ebook

Something wicked this way comes     Utopia     The Wicked Girls, by Alex Marwood

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
e-audiobook (performed by The Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air)
e-audiobook (read by Kevin Foley)
ebook
Large Print
Mr. Dark and his sinister carnival arrive in a small town and citizens appear to have their deepest desires granted but not without paying a high price.

Utopia by Lincoln Child
ebook (retitled Lethal Velocity)
A series of computer malfunctions in a popular high-tech theme park raise concerns for Andrew Warne, the engineer responsible for creating the programming. He soon learns that the park's computer systems have been infiltrated by a group of criminals who are threatening to cause mayhem if their demands are not met.

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
e-audiobook
ebook
When a woman is murdered in a seaside amusement park, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is sent to cover the story but she does not expect that the cleaner who found the body is someone with whom she shares a terrible secret.

However you spend your last days of summer, I hope you enjoy every second.

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