Dickens World, in other words, sounded less like a viable business than it did a mockumentary, or a George Saunders short story, or the thought experiment of a radical Marxist seeking to expose the terminal bankruptcy at the heart of consumerism. And yet it was real. Its existence raised a number of questions. Who was the park’s target audience? (“Dickens-loving flume-ride enthusiasts” seems like a small, sad demographic.) Was it a homage to, or a desecration of, the legacy of Charles Dickens? Was it the reinvention of, or the cheapening of, our culture’s relationship to literature? And even if it were possible to create a lavish simulacrum of 1850s London — with its typhus and cholera and clouds of toxic corpse gas, its sewage pouring into the Thames, its average life span of 27 years — why would anyone want to visit?