Read Tomorrowland by JosephBates Online


Joseph Bates's debut short story collection Tomorrowland offers stories full of strange attractions and uncanny conceits, a world of freakish former child stars, abused Elvis impersonators, derelict roadside attractions, apocalyptic small towns, and parallel universes where you make out with your ex. At its core, the world of Tomorrowland is our own, though reflected off aJoseph Bates's debut short story collection Tomorrowland offers stories full of strange attractions and uncanny conceits, a world of freakish former child stars, abused Elvis impersonators, derelict roadside attractions, apocalyptic small towns, and parallel universes where you make out with your ex. At its core, the world of Tomorrowland is our own, though reflected off a funhouse mirror--revealing our hopes and deepest fears to comic, heartbreaking effect....

Title : Tomorrowland
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780988825819
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 160 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Tomorrowland Reviews

  • Curbside Splendor
    2019-04-07 04:51

    We're the publisher, and we think it's dope.

  • Lorraine
    2019-04-19 09:51

    One Sentence SummaryIt’s not possible to summarize all the stories in a collection of short fiction, but in this case it is possible to compress all the themes into one concept: the terribly frustrating, painful, sorrowful inability of humans to move in any direction but forward in time, regardless of the mistakes we make in our past, the plans we have for our future, and the belief that if we tell a story enough times, the memory will change.Flashlights5/5 The stories all complemented each other so well, and each of them were provocative, crisply composed and entertaining. A lot of times a short story collection has one or two duds, but not here.Would I Want to Live in These Universes?Yes please, especially the one in “Mirrorverse” because I love the idea of multiple universes.Favorite CharacterEach story has new narrators, new characters, but the one I loved the most because he was so pathetic, so puppy-dog-sad, was Boardwalk Elvis.Why This Book Made My Week Better1) Because I haven’t read a short story collection in a while and it was nice to get back to that, 2) Because it made me question my own relationship with the past and the future, both of which sometimes feel suffocatingly close, to the detriment of the present, 3) Because it’s always fun to read something by someone you know!Reminds Me OfThe quasi-sci-fi stories definitely have a touch of Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man, and the sense of the absurd and uncanny remind me of Judy Budnitz’s Flying Leap and Aimee Bender’s The Girl in the Flammable Skirt.

  • Jeremy
    2019-04-19 06:03

    Tomorrowland is a mash-up of genres that comes around full circle. Each story caught my attention immediately and left me wanting another dose upon finishing. The maturity of Joseph Bates's writing is apparent. The stories do eventually come to an end, and I both discover and lose part of myself in each. I can only hope Joseph Bates feels like writing more stories, if he does, I'll be in line to get my copy.

  • Marissa
    2019-04-20 05:55

    I've finally gotten around to reading Bate's collection--a delightful, thoughtful, and odd collection that captivated my attention enough for me to read it in a single setting. Tomorrowland is funny and absurd but counterbalanced by an intense emotional weight. Bates takes on death, religion, politics, guilt, shame at the same time as magic and good intentions. He tempers real life absurdity with real life tragedy. He pokes fun at extremism. These stories read like a good cup of black coffee to an accustomed tongue--bitter but sweet and rich in all of the right places.

  • Evan
    2019-03-30 05:06

    This was a very enjoyable collection of stories. When at his best Joseph Bates channels the more cerebral and affecting episodes of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone. My favorite story of this collection was Tomorrowland, where Bates flexed his strongest muscle: his ability to describe apathy and despondency and to make you feel it right in your gut. That description of the Dad of the future, hunched over ont he edge of the bed in his space suit, literally made me well up inside.The only story which didn't work, in my opinion, was the one about the boardwalk Elvis impersonator. It seemed to drag and never really turned a corner toward any type of meaningful conclusion. Physically, this is a beautiful book. The matte cover and great layout (that spine looks just brilliant!) exude quality.I'm looking forward to reading more of Bates' work, and would be curious what he could do in a novel format.

  • Megan Kirby
    2019-04-11 07:10

    It took me about a week to read Tomorrowland, and during that time I kept yanking it out of my bag and demanding that people admire just how attractive this book is as a physical object. The best word for it is "sharp." This is a sharp book design.And it's not just a pretty package. The short stories were engaging, funny, and tinged with just enough science fiction to make them really stick out. The only time I really got bogged down was during the longer final story--the concept felt a little forced to me, and though it was still quite funny, I found my attention lagging. Other than a sort of flat note at the very end (shame it was the conclusion) this was a really, really solid collection.

  • Adam
    2019-04-04 07:59

    At risk of oversimplification, these stories read like Ray Bradbury writing for The New Yorker.I very much enjoyed it. Slow going in the beginning, but it really clicked with two of the middle stories--the survey of exes and the city of guilt--each of which made me laugh in the beginning and then proceeded to hollow out my heart by the end. The middle aged baseball player league was another highlight, and I pretty much imagined myself as the protagonist of "Future Me."I don't generally read short fiction--science fiction short fiction even less so. This book is making me reconsider that tendency. I'm eagerly awaiting Joseph Bates's next book.

  • Christopher
    2019-04-12 09:05

    This book is amazing. It's been a long time since I read a story collection so creative, entertaining, tragic, and heartfelt. I felt like I needed to get and dance a little jig after finishing each story...I needed some way to shake out my excitement, like a kid opening an NES on Christmas morning. The creativity and artistry of each one of Bates's stories is just mind blowing.Quit reading this review. Read Tomorrowland. Seriously.

  • Erika L. Miller
    2019-03-24 02:15

    An excellent series of short stories that each dealt with human nature and the secret desire of correcting ourselves or making us and the world around us better. The stories ranged from parallel universes, a strange man telling the story of his arsenic driven life, an old man trying to find something that the lost in a baseball game with the New York fucking Yankees and to a Bible belt town driven to rebellion over an overzealous Bible thumping vacuum salesman.

  • Melissa Reddish
    2019-04-10 04:54

    These are gorgeous, inventive, and intricately wrought stories that examine those fears endemic to getting older -- losing the ones we love, losing our youth or sense of self, making the wrong choices, or losing that intangible sense that good things are still just around the bend. Of course, in order to make the ordinary extraordinary, these stories incorporate fantastic elements as well, including a device that shows alternate realities, a time machine, and an Elvis impersonator exclusive to the Boardwalk. These are not simply bleak landscapes of despair, however; there are comforts to be found in compassionate people, in brief moments of affection, and sometimes in simply holding on to those fleeting moments of transcendence.I agree with an earlier review on this page that felt the final story a bit of a misstep when compared with the others. Any story that involves our modern political landscape (especially the extreme political divide composed almost entirely of talking points) is tough to make compelling and new, and I believe this story either needed to push the boundaries of the fantastic elements further (in order to plunge deeper and more satisfyingly into satire) or delve deeper into empathy for its characters. But overall, these stories were engaging and expertly written, and the book itself is the kind of physical artifact that both publisher and author alike can examine with pride.

  • Matt
    2019-04-03 05:03

    A fun book of stories, most of which take a slightly out there premise, like a tv that lets you watch yourself in alternate universes, and then plays it out to see what would happen.There's not a whole lot more to it than that, though the conceits themselves are at once creative and kind of familiar-- so in one story, the narrator is asked by an older version of himself who has a time machine to join a mission to go back in time to change the present and future to convince his past self to behave differently.... In another, a set script of statements is (ostensibily) delivered to all the women the writer has ever been involved in, and their responses are recorded. That one gets painfully awkward, as many of these stories do. Bates is that kind of writer, one who makes his characters squirm uncomfortably, and if you're like them-- art damaged and over-educated, middle class and useless-- you might squirm reading them.I don't think as much of Bates' endings as I do his big ideas. The stories lack that satisfying final twist, and instead just play out the ludicrous momentum of the stories somewhere past the climax. It's a fun ride, but sometimes, it feels like you're not going anywhere.

  • S
    2019-03-26 10:13

    There's a thread of regret, self-loathing and trying to recapture a kind of glory days running through Tomorrowland. Days which that may or may not have happened. Each of the short stories could feel weighted down by the missed chances, looking up at what could have or should have been. But, the writing has a dark sense of humour about it, fully aware of what's going on and it's what makes this collection a charming read.The characters themselves don't seem to like their situations, or even themselves, and harbour a sense of wanting to be somewhere else. It's a brutal way to live, and the stinger comes with how they accept their fates, or try and deal with it in their own realm and abilities."Boardwalk Elvis" and "Future Me" are the better of the lot, and different in what they accomplish. Self-denial comes back again and we share in that pain and ridicule like it's a natural thing. Well executed in all, the placement of the final story does not serve the whole, and would be better placed earlier so as to not end on its note.A collection of hopeful tunes with a track on setting down the sadness and making it a delightful batch of miseries, each with their own heart and longing.

  • Kimberley
    2019-04-09 02:12

    I picked this up on a whim in the sci-fi section at the library because I thought that it would probably be cooler than whatever they based that new Disney movie of the same name on. This is a collection of short stories--I wouldn't really call them science fiction. The first one, "Mirrorverse," and the later "Future Me" come closest in that respect. I would say the overall conceit comes slightly closer to weird fiction, but weird in a still very human, if heightened, sense. Most of the stories are good--some are maybe a bit more heavy-handed than others, and some meander a bit. The standouts for me were probably "Guilt City," "Yankees Burn Atlanta," and maybe "Bearing a Cross," though that one does get a tad too political and he does a little better when he tones that down. "How We Made a Difference" is similar in that it is also a mite too political but also amusing if you're already of a certain mindset, I suppose.All in all, a pretty enjoyable and short read. Probably not one I'd pick up again, but nothing I regret reading. It would make for an interesting book club discussion if you have some open-minded members.

  • Steve
    2019-04-05 08:11

    Too many readers (and even libraries and booksellers) want to classify this book as a work of Science Fiction. True, it contains a few anchor stories that include time travel, alternate universes, etc. However, this book is far better categorized as quirky literary fiction that just happens to employ sci-fi tropes (think: Charles Yu, not Phillip Dick). And if read as quirky literary fiction, I think readers will find it a satisfying mix of unique forms, fresh ideas, and witty phrasing. I do think Tomorrowland still reflects the shine of a first collection. Some of the experiments feel a bit too much like just that: youthful experiments in fiction (rather than fully fleshed-out concepts like the more mature conceptual writing to which this collection appears to aspire). However, there is definitely enough here to warrant watching the career of this young writer. A more mature second effort is sure to ratchet up the power and imagination glimpsed here. I'll be keeping an eye on Joseph Bates.

  • Abby Pickus
    2019-03-28 06:13

    Tomorrowland is a fantastic collection of short stories. I must say my favorites—and the ones that taught me the most about Dr. Bates—have to be Guilt City, A Survey of My Exes, and Future Me. I found them heartwrenching and heartbreaking in their own special ways. It shows that it is entirely possible to be self-aware of yourself and your problems, and clearly the effort is made by each of the narrators to fix himself. It truly explores the human vices and the human desire to better oneself. Each story has a character that is very aware of his own failures, but it is the hope of redemption that keeps him going. Tomorrowland as a collection is a very self-aware, very meta collection of stories, in which Dr. Bates takes the time to examine his own psyche and his own shortcomings, possibly in order to try and improve them.Any way you look at it, Tomorrowland is an enjoyable, gripping read that truly makes one empathetic for the narrators, which is the sign of an effective, powerful book.

  • Matty
    2019-03-26 02:15

    Joseph Bates is a fantastic writer, and I hope he writes a lot more. The majority of the stories I really loved. In almost all of them he creates something unique, or twists what we already know. Like Kevin Brockmeier, he mixes fantasy, science-fiction, and realism. Unlike Brockmeier, Bates was unable to do so as cohesively. Two of the stories, while good on their own, didn't fit in well with everything else in the book. It left me wanting more out of those stories. I'm referring to "Broadwalk Elvis" and "Yankees Burn Atlanta." I would have liked them much more had they been included in a collection full of similar stories, but here they jumped out too much. Out of place, I wanted to get through them more than I wanted to enjoy them.

  • Joey
    2019-03-22 04:05

    The stories in Tomorrowland mix the mundane and the surreal, delivering time travel narratives and alternate universes filled with memorable losers, like Raymond Carver writing dispatches from somewhere on the fringes of the Twilight Zone. It's an impressive collection, especially when it plays around with sci-fi memes like it does in "Future Me," in which the protagonist meets a future version of himself who's traveled back in time to set his younger self straight with results both poignant and hilarious. Other highlights include "How We Made a Difference," a deft little political satire, and "Yankees Burn Atlanta," in which a group of middle-aged baseball fantasy campers get a lesson in humility on the baseball diamond.

  • Matt
    2019-04-09 02:16

    'How far back would you have to go to correct the mistakes if your life? Which was the first? Would you not have to correct every new one? Would you not correct this one right now? What do we do?' ~ "Future Me"This one's been titled Tomorrowland with ironic intent. Its characters are pretty much all consumed by the rear-view mirror and are generally sad or apathetic. Their collective emotional range is consistently juvenile. Between Guilt City and Future Me (although there are others that support this, too), the author clearly harbors a fair amount of self-loathing.I kind of liked Boardwalk Elvis, which was more of a caricature about the death of an oblivious man's earnest self-denial.

  • Matt W
    2019-03-28 09:57

    Tomorrowland is packed with humor, pathos, and remarkable death. I'm not sure whether I laughed or cried more. It is hard to describe how powerful stories like "Survey of my Exes" and "Guilt City" and "Yankees Burn Atlanta" are so it's best you just go read them yourself. "Mirrorverse" too. And "Future Me." And "Gas Head Tells All." Hell, they're all amazing. This whole collection makes my heart swell. You'd be hard pressed to find a book as inventive and entertaining all year and none that will stay with you long after you finish reading. If you like Kafka, Calvino, Barthelme, and Saunders, do yourself a favor and buy this book. Now. This is why we read.

  • Darren Thompson
    2019-03-24 02:06

    Great stories in this book. And imaginative, too. Tomorrowland introduced me to a fading child celebrity, who has a giant burning ball of gas for a head, and to a spattering of ex girlfriends with varying degrees of scorn. But the story that stuck with me most is Mirrorverse -- a thoughtful exploration of our inner wants and fears, of the consequences of our decisions, actions and inactions. Swinging pretty wildly between realism and absurdism, Bates has a comedic voice that can make you laugh even while he's reaching into your chest, grabbing your heart, yanking it out, and hammering it into tiny pieces. More Gas Head, please.

  • Johana
    2019-04-03 06:01

    A collection of sort stories varying from perspectives that leave one wondering to just confused about the message and purpose of the story. Entertaining in its content though the style of writing is better suited for a slow and leisurely read. Short stories is not a genre that I am familiar with but will read more in order to gain the a better range of the quality of work.

  • Luke Schamer
    2019-04-16 09:20

    Bates's collection consistently merges humor and deep emotional impact in creative (and experimental) forms that provide an amusing and thought-provoking experience. This is a 10-story collection of varying characters and themes that are all wound tightly together by Bates's concise writing style and clear voice.

  • Erika Wurth
    2019-03-29 02:05

    Vonnegut-funny & smart. Fantastic/al parody mixed with momentary flashes of beauty & language when you least expect it.

  • Victor Giron
    2019-04-18 05:16

    Will blow you away.

  • ∞Bertha _
    2019-04-11 07:18

    Really liked this book! Great writing, great stories, really great characters and sense of humor!

  • Chad Brock
    2019-04-20 09:58


  • Alice
    2019-04-06 08:15

    I don't know why I enjoyed this so much, but I really did. Very glad I rescued it from the endangered books shelf at the library.

  • Brian
    2019-03-23 04:11

    Thought this was for the movie by the same name. Once I realized I was wrong I figured I was too far through not to finish. It's fine, if a little offbeat and dark.