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Utopia: A Thriller [Hardcover]

Lincoln Child
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 24 2002
Fasten your seat belts–the white-knuckle thrills at Utopia, the world’s most fantastic theme park, escalate to nightmare proportions in this intricately imagined techno-thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lincoln Child.

Rising out of the stony canyons of Nevada, Utopia is a world on the cutting edge of technology. A theme park attracting 65,000 visitors each day, its dazzling array of robots and futuristic holograms make it a worldwide sensation. But ominous mishaps are beginning to disrupt the once flawless technology. A friendly robot goes haywire, causing panic, and a popular roller coaster malfunctions, nearly killing a teenaged rider. Dr. Andrew Warne, the brilliant computer engineer who designed much of the park’s robotics, is summoned from the East Coast to get things back on track.

On the day Warne arrives, however, Utopia is caught in the grip of something far more sinister. A group of ruthless criminals has infiltrated the park’s computerized infrastructure, giving them complete access to all of Utopia’s attractions and systems. Their communication begins with a simple and dire warning: If their demands are met, none of the 65,000 people in the park that day will ever know they were there; if not, chaos will descend, and every man, woman, and child will become a target. As one of the brains behind Utopia, Warne finds himself thrust into a role he never imagined–trying to save the lives of thousands of innocent people. And as the minutes tick away, Warne’s struggle to outsmart his opponents grows ever more urgent, for his only daughter is among the unsuspecting crowds in the park.

Lincoln Child evokes the technological wonders of Utopia with such skill and precision it is hard to believe the park exists only in the pages of this extraordinary book. Like Jurassic Park, Utopia sweeps readers into a make-believe world of riveting suspense, technology, and adventure.

UTOPIA -- Where technology dazzles–and then turns deadly!

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From Amazon

It takes a lot of chutzpah to give your novel the same title as one of the most famous novels in the history of English-language literature, even if the original novel didn't spawn a literary field or two (utopian and dystopian fiction) or become an everyday term for the perfect place to live on Earth. Yet there's a postmodern appropriateness to applying the title Utopia to a novel set in a theme park that uses cutting-edge technology to create Earth's most desirable fantasy place to visit. Like Westworld and Jurassic Park, Lincoln Child's Utopia is a near-future theme-park thriller, and like Michael Crichton, Child delivers an abundance of white-knuckle thrills, chills, and shocks.

Despite its remote location in the Nevada desert, the Utopia theme park receives 65,000 visitors daily. They never dream their lives may be in any real danger. However, some of the self-programming robots are becoming erratic, so park administrators quietly bring the robots' brilliant creator from the East Coast to fix the problem before it gets any worse. Dr. Andrew Warne brings his daughter, for he doesn't believe there is anything wrong with his creations. But on the day of their arrival, a mysterious band of ruthless criminals infiltrates not only the park, but its computerized systems. The unknown terrorists appear to control everything, from the simplest robot to the most dangerous ride. And if their demands aren't met, thousands of innocent park-goers will be killed. --Cynthia Ward

From Publishers Weekly

A fantastic near-future amusement park is the setting for this techno-thriller by Child (coauthor with Douglas Preston of the Preston/Child bestsellers) in his first solo outing. Utopia, a Nevada amusement park extraordinaire, features several elaborate holographic theme worlds (like Camelot and Gaslight, which meticulously recreates Victorian England), all run by an ultrasophisticated computer system and serviced by robots. When a series of fluke accidents culminates in the near death of a boy on a Gaslight roller coaster, the Utopia brain trust calls in the original computer engineer, Dr. Andrew Warne. Warne arrives with his bristly 14-year-old daughter, Georgia, and sets to work solving the Gaslight problem, though he can't believe that the system is willfully malfunctioning, as the evidence seems to indicate. To complicate matters, Utopia's manager, Sarah Boatwright, is Warne's ex-girlfriend, and an obvious mutual attraction exists between Warne and Utopia systems controller Teresa Bonifacio. Just as Warne gets to work, violent attacks erupt all over the park, masterminded by an impassive psychopath known as John Doe and carried out by his cadre of henchmen, including a computer genius and a crack marksman. For three hours, Doe holds the park hostage, and Warne, Boatwright and Bonifacio race against the clock to foil his plans. Child creates a convincingly self-contained world, populated by amusing creations like a cyber-dog called Wingnut and clever descriptions of futuristic amusement park rides. Sluggish prose and an overload of technical detail slow the pace, but Child proves he is capable of fireworks (literally) at the rousing conclusion.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good story. 4 1/2 stars, I rounded up. July 5 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Utopia is a 21 century amusement park, the most advanced park in the world. Utopia is made up of four (a fifth to open soon) different "worlds" under a dome. Camelot, a midieval world; Callisto, a futuristic space-station world; Gaslight, a turn-of the century London themed world; Boardwalk, themed after those turn-of-the-century parks located near a beach; and soon to open Atlantis, themed after the lost-continent of the same name.
The story takes place during one day. The park is running smoothly, when terrorists quietly let themselves be known to the big-wigs, making demands or causing terror. Dr. Andrew "Drew" Warne, a robotics expert from Carnegie-Mellen University, visiting the park as an external-specialist, finds himself doing more than what was expected, but instead leading the way to saving the park and it's visitors.
Utopia is a beautifully written book, sometimes the descriptions and thoughts written within the story will remind you of a good-piece of fast moving literature. I very much enjoyed reading this, and found it exceptionally hard to put down and I actually cared about the characters. Even some of the terrorists were intellectual and fun to read about.
There were just a few problems with the book, however. The character of Georgia, Warne's daughter, seems, for 14 years old, to act both too young and too old. Also I truly hated Sarah Boatwright, the Chief of Operations of the park, and past girlfriend of Warne. She was just an egotistical, annoying and irresponsible person, and I have no idea how someone like Warne would have ever loved her.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading but not remembering June 24 2004
By Beamer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hard to rate this book, honestly, especially without half stars.
I disagree greatly with several of the reviews here. For one, comparing it to Die Hard is a completely unfair way to sell this to a potential buyer. Die Hard was a game of cat and mouse, full of action. There isn't much action in this book, nor any hiding. In fact, there's only one true gunfight, and it lasts 3 bullets. More bullets are fired in other areas of the book, but it's against unarmed, unknowing people.
It's also unfair to compare this book to Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park was a book about technology and action within a theme park of sorts. This is a book involving some technology and action within a true theme park, but it's a different breed. The action is limited, and the technology isn't explained or even described much, just presented as something that exists.
There are also some groaners. Most notably is the Wingnut character mentioned in other reviews. From his first appearance you know here's there simply to be sacrificed. No surprises there, but to the authors credit he downplays the convenient behavior trait that leads to his usefulness, and incorporates it more as part of a whole rather than a way to exploit. You may see Wingnut's usefulness coming, but Child doesn't get lazy and leave it at that.
Another issue is the terrorists themselves. At one point it's mentioned that people would be shocked if they knew the true face of the ringleader, yet nothing comes from it after he's stopped. A shame, but only due to that line.
So I've told you what this book isn't really, and that it has problems. Is it worth reading? Yes. The book is essentially a crisis book within a theme park, a difficult concept to make realistic.
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If you are old enough, you may remember a movie named Westworld as well as the sequel. In the movie, a theme park had been created allowing park visitors to experience the past thanks to fully functioning state of the art robots. Robots so real that they passed for human. Everything worked wonderfully and the park was a success until the robots started malfunctioning, attacking and killing guests.
If Lincoln Child had stopped there with his idea of the novel "UTOPIA" the book would have been nothing more than an average read. While he did use the idea and often seems to be making homage to the past, he also added a modern day problem in the shape of terrorists. Terrorists that manage to take over the park with none of the guests being wiser in an effort to extort millions of dollars and state of the art technology. Add in a love interest and a couple of other plot goodies and Lincoln Child shows once again while he is so very good in the thriller genre.
Built in a rugged canyon in Nevada, Utopia is a state of the art theme park. Featuring four worlds with a fifth under construction, each depicts a different place and time as realistically as possible while providing thrilling rides for those so inclined. Using the latest in technology, including machine learning where robots learn from their environment and adapt, the park is incredibly successful. But the system is beginning to sporadically break down and when no one on staff can explain why robots and safety systems are malfunctioning, the original designer Dr. Andrew Warne is brought back in to fix the problems.
But Dr. Warne arrives a week early and on the same day that a band of terrorists have infiltrated the park.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Sounds Familiar
The story of this book is good, but the desciptions of Utopia sounded so familiar to me until it dawned on me that it sounds a lot like Disney World. Read more
Published on June 13 2004 by Kristy Lee
2.0 out of 5 stars Three Painful Weeks to Read
I usually tear through a good book in a day--it took me three weeks to get through Utopia. It was a great story idea and I wanted to like it--didn't want to give up on it because... Read more
Published on April 15 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun well-written adventure
I bought this book simply by the description but I thouroughly enjoyed it!
This is an inventive world that the author places you in w/ engaging characters. Read more
Published on March 24 2004 by J. A Carty
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun and entertaining work
Utopia is one of the most advanced and realistic theme parks in the world. It has four separate divisions each offering their own thrills as patrons are immersed into the future,... Read more
Published on March 2 2004 by Larry
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun place to visit.
I have only read one other book by Lincoln Child, and that was his collaboration with Douglas Preston, "Relic," which I thought was okay. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2004 by Eric S. Bauman
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best reads I've had in awhile...
Because I can't stand to travel without reading material, I had to stop at the Orlando airport before the flight back to Portland and find a paperback "just in case" I... Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2004 by Thomas Duff
4.0 out of 5 stars For a thrill ride!
Just finished reading Utopia written by Lincoln Child, 1/2 of the co-writing team (the other one being Douglas Preston) that brought us the excellent horror novel Relic (one of my... Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2004 by Terrence H. Seamon
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced
I am a huge fan of the Preston/Child collaborations. Utopia is the first solo effort I have read. Others have detailed the plot line, so I'll just give you my thoughts. Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2004 by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars An egrossing read, certainly a master of the thriller
I have just finished reading Utopia - and, as a fan of the Preston and Child duo, I feel that this beats certain favourites including Relic ! Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2004 by Jonathan Steel
3.0 out of 5 stars Cheap Thrills
I'm a big fan of the Preston/Child writing team - Relic, The Cabinet of Curiosities, Still Life with Crows, Mount Dragon, Riptide, etc. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2004 by Gary Griffiths
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