I read this book 15 or so years ago and can't remember the title, although I think it had the word "Paradise" in it. It took place in the future and centered around a man who lived in a giant hotel along with other people. The different floors had societies but massive sections of it were uninhabited. He eventually makes his way into the "Lagoon Room" and lives there for a while. At some point he visits the Penthouse where a "wizard" lives. He also ends up in the basement at some point where there is a sentient computer. At the end he makes it to the Lobby and goes outside and sees another giant hotel across the way and has a conversation with a man outside. He convinces him that they aren't actually outside, they are in a huge room inside yet another hotel.

Other random things I remember is that the birds and fish are mechanical and say jingles for products he has never seen like mouthwash. He sees mouthwash in the lobby and, not knowing its function, drinks it. These robots are frequently spying for either the wizard or the computer.

He has a "tab" at a bistro where he gets food. It is made from soy or something similar because they are always out of "real" food.

He spends the night in an empty hotel room and watches the snow on the TV screen.

There are giant cracks through the hotel. A robot that is chasing him gets dragged into one by a woman who is helping him.

He has all his teeth pulled by a robot in the Lagoon room as a sort of trial by pain. They are then replaced with new teeth.

  • I think it might be Larklight or Starcross by Phillip Pullman.
    – Graviton
    Aug 21, 2014 at 15:47
  • Thank you, but no. I know it has the word Paradise in the title.
    – Dajan Ra
    Aug 21, 2014 at 19:48

2 Answers 2


The book is definitely Prisoners of Paradise by Ronald Anthony Cross. I was married to Ron until his death in 2006. I care deeply about him and his work, and would be very interested in why you asked about it. He published many short stories in F&SF, The Berkley Showcase, IASFM, Weird Tales, Universe, and elsewhere; as well as several novels. Originally a novella was published in Universe 16 (ed by Terry Carr), and it was titled "Hotel Mind Slaves." It was later followed by the novel with a new title, Prisoners of Paradise.

  • 2
    Interesting stuff and thanks for your input. Please note, though that we're not geared toward discussion or private contact.
    – Valorum
    Mar 24, 2015 at 23:50
  • 1
    @Valorum: Greetings from 2022 although I know you live in my own time and are aware therefore of what occurred since 2015, also. I think exceptional situations like the widow of a writer finding an interested reader should not be discouraged.
    – releseabe
    Dec 31, 2022 at 16:24
  • @releseabe - I think that under any circumstances we want to discourage users from posting their PII and inviting people to contact them prviately.
    – Valorum
    Dec 31, 2022 at 16:26
  • @Valorum: agreed.
    – releseabe
    Dec 31, 2022 at 16:51

Quoting Dajan Ra's answer above in the comments: Prisoners of Paradise by Ronald Anthony Cross.

From the Amazon Review:

This fantasy/fable is set in the Paradise Luxury Vacation Resort Hotel, a gigantic labyrinth with hundreds of floors, mechanical animals that talk, theme rooms (i.e., the Tropical Vacation Lagoon Room), savages running amok, a godlike Hotel Mind and the Hotel Mind's clever little opponent, the Adversary. Dashing through the halls at breakneck, almost supernatural speed is Nightglider, a heroic loner who finds himself facing such dangers as the "blind crawlers," a murderous giant called Big Knife and members of a tribe led by a good-humored Polynesian chief. As the hotel takes on the metaphor of a biblical universe, Nightglider finds himself cast as a Jonah reluctantly summoned by the Adversary for a messianic charge. Much of the narrative consists of a series of disappointingly uninspired chases and confrontations that lack drama or verve. Nor do the religious themes pan out in particularly engaging theological statements. Still, Cross's dialogue is often distinguished by puckish wit. He's at his best when at his most absurd, imagining his technologically advanced hotel as the ground for a robotic waiter who recites selections in a French accent and a mechanical bird who spouts slogans for a mouthwash called Purene.

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