Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Literary Fiction
Approximate word count: 15-20,000 words
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Information about the author, L.N. “Bert” Smith is skimpy other than he has two other books available, Sunrise Over Disney (which appears to share some aspects of this book) and The Evolution of Human Intellect which, hard as it may to believe, also does as “the material is presented in the form of two amusement park attractions.”
"The world of tomorrow exists today, but only for those who can spot the true experts."
“And never before in human history has it been so crucial to spot these experts sooner rather than later. ... You see, ‘progress’ is accelerating---our technological advance is rocketing toward a flashpoint of alarming and breathtaking change. People need to recognize what is happening and take action before it's too late. ... But can they? A legion of false experts stand in their way.”
I’m not sure what to make of this book starting with the most basic (what genre is it) and continuing on to the actual content. The author calls it literary fiction, but it could just as easily be called science fiction, speculative fiction, maybe even fantasy, although it doesn’t fit what a reader would expect to find in any of those all that well either. I think there is even a case to be made for calling it non-fiction (not 100% of every non-fiction book is literally true, right?)
The premise is that the author has “redesigned” Tomorrowland at one of the Disney properties with rides, shows, and other attractions that show or teach us about where the world is headed, at least in the opinion of various experts or the author’s interpretation of them. At various points a “ride” covers different topics in science, technology, and politics.
The goal, as I’ve interpreted it, is to provide an easy introduction or exposure to ideas and concepts that most people need to understand better, and whet their appetite. Maybe even inspire them to investigate more, prepare for the changes, and possibly take action to encourage a change in course. The goal is laudable, but the execution didn’t work for me. The plot device of the redesigned Tomorrowland felt forced much of the time and too often got in the way of understanding the point the author seemed to be trying to make.
Using fiction to provoke thought and possibly inspire people to reconsider the direction the world is heading as part of a story is nothing new and if done well can have a positive effect. (Orwell’s 1984 is one obvious example.) But in The Redesign of Tomorrowland, there isn’t really much of a story. Ultimately, what fiction was here only served to obscure the facts, while doing little to make the learning more palatable.
No significant issues.
Rating: *** Three Stars