What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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SOLVED: Adult Fiction > YA - SciFi - Cities shut down and made into seasonal tourist attractions - guy gets locked in [s]

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message 1: by Kinsey (new)

Kinsey Swartz (tvindy) | 131 comments I believe I read this sci-fi, possibly YA, book in the early 80s. In the future, the really big cities in the US have been officially closed and locked up. Every summer they open again for tourists to pay admission and go inside. The main character is fairly young. I think he has just finished college or high school and is on vacation by himself. He goes inside but ends up getting robbed by a girl he hooks up with, and then he has his ID card stolen, trapping him in the city.

He quickly learns that the cities are actually still inhabited. The reason they were evacuated was to deal with the urban poor by trapping them inside while everyone else was allowed to leave. They continue living year-round in the cities, and every summer they have to scramble to earn enough money and supplies from the tourist trade to survive the rest of the year. One way they do this is by robbing tourists.

Since the main character no longer has his ID, he is informed that if he shows up at the gate and tries to leave, he'll be mistaken for one of the inhabitants and thrown in jail. He ends having to stay behind in the city when it shuts down at the end of the summer.

After several months, he is able to track down the person who stole his ID and get it back. Along the way, he has many unpleasant adventures. When the city opens up again, he immediately leaves. I think a guard makes some remark about how he certainly didn't stay very long (since he was leaving the morning of opening day). The book ends with him leaving and swearing to himself that he would make the world aware that the cities were actually prisons for the poor.


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Sounds like something John Christopher would write, but I didn't see any of his books that seemed to fit.


message 3: by Kinsey (new)

Kinsey Swartz (tvindy) | 131 comments Yes, it did have the feel of a John Christopher novel, except that the ending was very preachy.


message 4: by April Ann (new)

April Ann (bloomer) | 516 comments Are you talking about Escape From New York by Mike McQuay Escape From New York by Mike McQuay in 1981?

It was written after the movie came out.


message 5: by Kinsey (new)

Kinsey Swartz (tvindy) | 131 comments No, it definitely had nothing to do with that movie or a mission to rescue the President. Interesting suggestion, though.


message 6: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany  (tiffanyyy_wang) | 12 comments I don't know this book, but when you find it, I really want to read it!


message 7: by Kinsey (new)

Kinsey Swartz (tvindy) | 131 comments Tiffany, it was a pretty good read from what I can remember, even if it did have a few flaws in the logic. (If the large cities are secretly prisons, does it really make sense to open them up to tourists; and if someone loses their ID, shouldn't there be a process to prove their identity, especially with all the theft going on?)


message 8: by Kinsey (new)

Kinsey Swartz (tvindy) | 131 comments Richard, that's it! Thank you. I recognized the title immediately.


message 9: by Kinsey (last edited Jan 04, 2015 10:53AM) (new)

Kinsey Swartz (tvindy) | 131 comments Richard's reply seems to have completely disappeared. For anyone wondering what the solution was, it's City of Darkness by Ben Bova.


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