Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Review: Hollow World (fan fiction - you WILL like this book!)

It's rare that I read a book from cover to cover, start to finish, at one sitting. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've done that in the thousands of books I've read. But I did it with Hollow World

Are you familiar with the concept of fanfic? It means "fan fiction" and there's a long tradition of it in science fiction, but less so in Disneyana. Still, this one qualifies. And I think it's a great, shining example of what fan fiction can look like. It's not something Disney will ever endorse - there will be no movie made of this - but it can fold in the right kinds of drama, action, emotion, and tension into a story to make it compelling.

It reminded me of the plot of Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995), where the villain forces our hero to navigate a series of puzzles and challenges in New York City, always communicating by cell phone. Perhaps I'm biased, though, as I correctly predicted the plot of the book by looking at the cover - a few days before publication - and summed it up as "Die Hard in a Disney park." It's not Die Hard 1, though, but Die Hard With a Vengeance that most closely resembles this plot. At least, until it stops resembling that plot, but I don't want to give too much away.

The book is built for the Disney fanatic. There's no time wasted explaining what each shop or restaurant is, and there's a presumption that the reader will know even intimate insider details, like the fact that a "Code V" refers to a guest vomiting and the area needs clean-up. I'm a fan of fiction that doesn't insult us, and aims at the dedicated fan rather than the "wider" population (as official Disney books invariably do).

I was surprised that the book's plot ended up being plausible. I expected the typical over-the-top heroics, but without giving too much away, let me just say that everything stayed within the realm of believable. And that's a big accomplishment, given the "Die Hard in a Theme Park" concept.

This was my kind of book, from beginning to end. I eagerly await Nick Pobursky's next fiction (hopefully it's set in the Disney universe somewhere!) and I'm equally anxious to see other fanfic rise to the bar Nick has set so high here.

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.