Climate change is bearing down on Helen’s home state of Florida. It’s becoming difficult to ignore despite her all-consuming job spearheading future attractions for Joyland, an amusement park mega-corporation. When Joyland becomes a villain for its part in a warming planet, Helen must figure out her own part in the company’s problems, and its solutions.
The air was cooler in Haunted Haven than anywhere else in the park. To ward off the heat, yes, but also to feel spookier. The Creative team thought of everything. Helen could never catch all the details they incorporated into an attraction. Today, for the first time, she noticed that one of the ghosts wore a locket engraved with LB, the initials of the park’s founder.
There were haunted houses at every amusement park Helen had ever visited, but Joyland’s was the best. It was what made her fall in love with the park. Back then, in elementary school, an abandoned mansion sat at the very end of her street. The driveway was practically nonexistent. No lights came from inside, nor any sound. She and her brother weren’t allowed to go near it. Being granted admission to Joyland’s Haunted Haven gave her a strange sense of power, like she could’ve entered that abandoned house any time.
Even now, she felt that power while on the ride. Now it was because of her proximity to it, her proximity to and power over everything in Joyland. The small black car in which she rode was made to look like an actual car from the 1920’s, and the mansion was decked out according to the same era. These were Gatsby-style ghouls. The attraction had barely changed since its inception, though some updates had been made thanks to technology that came on the scene in the past three decades.