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Dream Park (Dream Park #1)

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  2,428 ratings  ·  103 reviews
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. The difference? At Dream Park, a futuristic fantasy theme park full of holographic attractions and the latest in VR technology,they play in an artificial enclosure that has been enhance ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Tor Books (first published 1981)
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First of all, Kudos for the incredible cover art by Rowena on the Phantasia Press first limited edition...

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You can be forgiven if you think the cover art is a bit campy, for Dream Park is a campy novel. Written during the height of the Dungeons & Dragons craze, it depicts an amusement park in which the participants role-play in an incredibly technologically advanced environment. There's a murder involved but the fun for the reader is in escaping into this world and wishing such a park actual
This book is pure wish fulfillment for the D&D/fantasy crowd. (Darn it, the back of the book review quote is "Unadulterated wish fulfillment". No originality points for me.) The Dream Park setting is an Xtreme Disneyland. Instead of amusement rides, they have full scale D&D type adventures, thanks to liberal use of special effects and holograms. If you are good enough at winning these adventures you can become a star and make a living off the videos of your games.

I can't say anything els
I wouldn't rate this book as high as I did when I first read it a little over thirty years ago, because now I notice more of it's flaws particularly some of the early dialogue between Griffin, Harmony and Skip being horrendous. It reminded me of cheap 1950's SF movies. Also long ago it was one of the first novels I'd read about fantasy gaming something I was very much into. I've since read many more novels on the subject that I feel are much better, last year's Ready Player One is a prime exampl ...more
P. Aaron Potter
This book is not very deep. It has little artistry. It will not make you a better person. It will not attend our sorrow. It will not console our children. It will not be able to help us.

But holy crow is it fun.

This is, for my money, the most sheer fun I've ever had reading a book. It's absolute popcorn fare for the dorkiest gamer, trekkie, cosplayer, or other form of geek with which you might be familiar. It's pure fan service. In addition to the sheer indulgenece of the setting (a nerdtastic mi
An odd book, re-read recently during a moment of nostalgia. Dream Park was written in the early 1980s, and its age shows in a couple of different ways. There's the obvious - people smoking indoors in the workplace – and the subtle.

Dream Park was written when RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons were relatively new, and it was inspired by those games and by the Society for Creative Anachronism. But it doesn't have the feel of something written by actual gamers. The titular Dream Park is a Disneyland
I was a bit worried re-reading Larry Niven's and Steven Barnes' "Dream Park." I initially read the book way back when it was release around 30 years ago and really like it. Because of the nature of the book, I was very worried that the advances in online gaming and computers over the intervening three decades would have made the book seem silly. Thankfully, that's not the case. The story has actually weathered the time fairly well. Oh, there are some small things that Niven and Barnes missed the ...more
Doc Bedlam
As a murder mystery, it's okay. As science fiction, it's all right. The most bizarre thing about it is that when I first read it in 1981, it was SCIENCE FICTION! Wowsers!

Having finished it tonight, though... it's not science fiction any more. It's a murder mystery set in a high tech move/TV theme park that also runs a televised LARP reality show. With technology that exists today. A lot of it was sci fi back in the early eighties, but now? Robots in theme parks... actors in special effects makeu
I read this book the first time right after the book was released, and loved it. I have been meaning to go back and read it again in the past 30 years, but never quite got around to it. Funny, that in my memory of the story, it was very similar to Jurassic Park, and I was quite surprised to realize that the premise was a actually a gaming fantasy park (as in Dungeons & Dragons) and not prehistoric dinosaurs!

That makes sense when I think back to what everyone around me was into at the time, a
A fun read with an imaginative view of the future of entertainment and amusement parks. Nothing terribly deep in terms of exploring the human psyche or anything but decent character development and an intriguing murder mystery. Solid, enjoyable read and it fit perfectly in my cross-country flight. I just found out there are more books in the same universe but this story is satisfyingly self-contained if you're not interested in getting involved in a series.
Ian Banks
Serviceable murder-mystery set in a theme park where folks are able to LARP. It manages to predict the mainstreaming of nerd culture as well as the rise of gaming as a spectator sport but falls down a bit in the relationships between adults and the use of security cameras in the workplace. There are also very few technologies and extrapolations that feel really predictive or ahead-of-their-time and are just contemporary ideas turned up to 11. This fits with the hard-SF rep of the authors but it ...more
Chris Jackson
This book was a RPGamer's dream. A vividly told story with good characters, but the setting... oh man. LARP taken ten steps forward and made into a world-wide sporting event that creates "champions" the way pro football does today.
I tripped over this at the library the other day. I remember loving it madly as a teenager, so I thought a re-read was in order. Ultimately, not up to par with my recollection, but still enjoyable.
One of my all time favorite fantasy sci fi books. I wish there really was a Dream Park.
Oct 16, 2012 Michael rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Role-players, young adults, sci fi fans
Recommended to Michael by: Dragon Magazine
I read this book as a young adult and role-player, basically its target audience, and thought it was great, if not quite brilliant. Today, it's mostly serviceable, but still entertaining. It was written by two authors, and in fact reads almost like two books in one, although I’m not certain which of the authors worked on which storyline, or even if the collaboration was divided so simply.

Storyline #1 is The Adventure Story. Dream Park is a future (2051) amusement park based on holography, wherei
Scott Rhee
I've never been into gaming, both computer or role play. I used to play the occasional Dungeons & Dragons game with friends, but I never really got as excited about it as some of my friends. I did like the concept of role-playing games, creating one's own character and destiny, even one's own universe. I always admired the imagination and thought that went into preparing and playing a D&D game. I know, too, that there are some pretty intense video games out there that have attempted to s ...more
It's just not that great. And in fact why it gets so many 4 star reviews is beyond me. I remember eyeing the paperback version in a bookstore back in the mid-80's and was greatly intrigued by it's premise. I think I even read the first two chapters in the store way back then. I finally checked it out of the local library just recently, read the whole thing, and was utterly unimpressed. The writing is pretty solid from start to finish. However that leaves two pretty big flaws - the "adventure wit ...more
Angela Blount
Dungeons and Dragons meets Disneyland...somewhere in the mid 21st century.

For the most part, this is a speculative murder-mystery, too clean to really be considered 'noir.' While there's plenty of gamer frolicking, there's nothing too graphic...particularly by today's standards 25+ years after this book was initially written. (I've decided the emphasis on an earthquake having destroyed much of California in the mid 1980's can best be explained away by considering this story to be set in an alter
Scott Radtke
Dream Park is a decidedly uneven but ultimately likable affair.

While I thought the concept was solid, if a bit cute, some of the characters are a bit one-note (at the beginning of this edition is a list of characters that I found sadly necessary) and some of the dialogue is cringeworthy. The murder mystery at the heart of the book gets positively steamrolled by the gaming narrative. The women are a geeks dream, comely tarts who can swing a sword but always need cuddles and reassurance at the end
I honestly don't understand the positive feed back this book is getting from so many readers. But this might be since I read a since fiction book that was written a couple of decades ago.
The concept is that in the year 2053 at dream park fantasy role playing (a concept I'm not really involved in)is enacted in a holographic, computer supported environment. This lets the players literally plunge into the fantasy world. Those games are played with tremendous seriousness and a lot of money is involv
Lori Garside
I bought this book when I was in college (around 1982) and have re-read it many time. My copy was destroyed in one of the hurricanes, but I've never forgotten it. Intriguing, fascinating -- this is a thrill ride that had me holding my breath at times. SciFi Fantasy meets who done it.
Julie Davis
Dream Park is like Disneyland, if Disneyland had role-playing games with amazing holographic effects. I read this soon after it came out in 1983 and wished I could go somewhere like Dream Park. It soon turned into a book I loved to reread and also began my exposure to the sf writing team of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

This has a murder mystery behind the scenes among the park personnel. To solve it, Alex Griffin goes undercover in the midst of the newest, high profile game being played in Dr
This is the novel that got me into fantasy gaming - a tremendously exciting yet thought-provoking look at the psychology of game playing, packaged in an adventure novel. Throw in a murder mystery and you've got a little something for everyone. I've read this three times over the years, and appreciate it more with each subsequent reading.
Brad T.
I love this book. I read it the first time right after it was first released in 1982 and I think I have read it about every five years since. I want this place to exist. It's what I want Disney to be but that always falls way short. I would kill to play in Dream Park!
David Richards
I loved the mixture of Fantasy, Science Fiction, Thriller and RPG in this book. In fact I liked this book so much I find it dificult to determine whether I liked the character in the book, or the RPG character they played in the book! Of course, me being me, it is the female characters I latch onto. And there is nothing quite as exciting as a female Slayer. But as I said, that's me. Dream Park has everything you expect it to have as a traditional Fantasy and RPG, but with extras thrown in. And a ...more
fun diversion

The writing could be better, but the combination of scifi, gaming, and mystery makes for a wonderful diversion. If you like RPGs, you should like this.
Melissa Miller
I have read and re-read this book several times both before and after getting into gaming and it stands up as great read from both sides. Engaging characters and good plot. Still love it!
Patrice Sikora
The chance to run around on front of, and behind the scenes of an interactive theme park was fun...even in print. I learned all about the cargo cult.
Anne Kaufhold
There is a reason this book has never been out of print. I just read it again, twenty years after my first reading. It holds up.
Have read this classic many times, excellent fun, a little "Heinlein" at times, but what's so wrong about that?
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Larry Niven and Steven Barnes Appearance 1 13 Jan 26, 2010 04:24PM  
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Laurence van Cott Niven's best known work is Ringworld (Ringworld, #1) (1970), which received the Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics. The creation of thoroughly worked-out alien species, which are very different from humans both physically and mentally, is recognized as one of Niven's main strengths ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Dream Park (4 books)
  • The Barsoom Project (Dream Park, #2)
  • California Voodoo Game (Dream Park, #3)
  • The Moon Maze Game (Dream Park #4)
Ringworld (Ringworld, #1) The Mote in God's Eye (Moties, #1) Lucifer's Hammer The Ringworld Engineers (Ringworld, #2) Footfall

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