/ / A Place So Foreign and Eight More, Stories

Originally Published in Realms of Fantasy August 1999

“By design or default, something about this story (and I can’t describe exactly what because I don’t know) disturbed me a great deal, though it’s a well-written and unique take on an old tale. Others may find it more palatable. If Doctorow’s intent was to unsettle, he succeeded…”

– J. G. Stinson,
Tangent Online

Download the plain text version from Cory_Doctorow_-_Return_to_Pleasure_Island.txt.

Paste in links to your own versions below.

15 Responses to “Return to Pleasure Island”

  1. Cory Doctorow

    Here’s this story’s intro from the book:

    The most striking thing about cunning artifice is its sudden absence. While the actors are on stage, they can command our complete attention, still the nattering voices in our minds, suspend our disbelief to the rafters. But no matter how magical the action onstage is, it can’t touch the shocking and wildly dissonant moment when the curtain rings down and the lights come up, returning the theatre from a house of wonders to a mundane place of people and things. In that interstitial moment, the hot second when the world slides from fantasy to reality, our brains do a kind of flip-flop that is more interesting than anything on the stage or off it.

    If you ever have the good fortune to be on a Disney ride when it really thoroughly breaks down, you’ll get to experience this. The safety bar comes forward, the lights come up, the animatronics slide to a halt, and secret doorways are revealed leading to utilitarian service corridors tagged with old graffiti and scars from illicit cigarettes. In the moment where you walk from the “onstage” area of the park to the “offstage,” your brain undergoes exactly the same kind of flip-flop. It’s addictive.

    What would it be like to live in that interstitial zone, to be a cast-member at a theme-park, constantly traversing the equator girding the real and fantastic hemispheres?

    And on a slightly different subject: What the hell did Stromboli want to turn Pinocchio and Lampwick into donkeys for, anyway?

    (All the above notwithstanding, this entire story materialized in my head during a trip through the Pinocchio ride in Disneyland’s Fantasyland).

  2. Jeremy Keith

    The PDF link above points to quick’n’dirty conversion not much different to the original text version (no conversion of quotes, emphasis, etc.). All I’ve done is change the typeface to 12 point Helvetica.

    The width is still fixed at 80 characters.

    I’m sure somebody else will put together some more sophisticated PDFs. This was just a quick fix done using the “Save as pdf” print option under OS X.

  3. J. G. Stinson

    The things one finds when ego-surfing. Thanks to Cory Doctorow for putting a blurb from my Tangent Online review of this fine story right up there at the top of this page. Wow. I guess I’ve arrived. :::ducking:::

  4. Prise

    Cory Doctorow,
    anyway the story of J. G. Stinson has the right to exist. i liked it very much. Thinking to write my own…:)
    Really, great work. By the way, had some problems with .txt file.

  5. Brian

    Well, no problems at all. Everything works properly.
    I’m lucky I found this exact page…by custom reason :)

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