We are no stranger to that certain Amusement Park with an iconic red pants wearing rodent. A park continually powered by a bran funneling in cash flow from cinematic blockbusters, ironclad grasp on copyrighted property, and a devout fan base with an unshakable devotion to the rodent with white gloves. Would this devotion be warranted if those pristine roads led to unfathomable darkness and corruption beyond gilded doors?
Take that clean and sparkly image of that Amusement Park add in the ability for technology so advanced that animals previously categorized as extinct now roam in one of many attractions. Take it even another step further with technology. What if those picture perfect princesses with wide smiles and kind eyes were part machine?
Welcome to The Kingdom, where the future is Fantasist.
Princess gowns, androids, and a murder. More than enough to look beyond a cover that is absolute frame-able art. A story that is so riveting that one can can get to the end of the book and arrive at the same feeling of disbelief and of warped time as when you are leaving the Amusement park.
The Kingdom is true to it’s title where the story is mainly within the fairy tale amusement called The Kingdom. With it’s walls and high end security, there are shows, unique experiences, dragons, mermaids, and everything an imagination and biotechnology can create. Within the Kingdom, roam seven android princesses representing international places around the world. These are the Fantasist and for every moment of their day, they are here for the guests and nothing but the guests.
“WE ARE BEAUTIFUL. WE ARE KIND. WE NEVER RAISE OUR VOICES. WE ALWAYS AIM TO PLEASE.
WE NEVER SAY NO, UNLESS YOU WANT US TO.
YOUR HAPPINESS IS OUR HAPPINESS.
YOUR WISH IS OUR COMMAND.”
The princesses are a marketing powerhouse for the Kingdom. They have their own songs, fan clubs, merchandise that includes makeup. They wake up every day to be groomed and primed for the public. Their programming has an adaptive nature component as they interact with so many types of guests. One of these Fantasists is Ana. For the most part, she believes she is happy. Her routine is set,her trust in her caretakers in set, and her goal in life in set: to make people happy. This adaptive programming has extended beyond its capabilities as the Fantasist began to question their environment and themselves. Some of the animals behave erratically. Other androids disappear, and then a murder occurs shocking both the Kingdom and the public. Even more shocking, it was a Fantasists who is accused of murder.
There was so much to process and unpack after reading The Kingdom. Issues of android aggravation, the unsettling sense of “other,’ exploration of how far can programmed creatures will analyze themselves and other.s San Diego Comic Con provided a perfect environment for an interview and to explore these ideas with Jsse Rothenberg.
Can any place really guarantee magic and happiness in the most pristine and sanitary environment? Hardly.
The Kingdom is out now!
Jess Rothenberg website: https://www.jessrothenberg.com/thekingdom