Twelve-year-old Bastian Balthazar Bux had lost the wonderful imagination he had as a child somewhere between growing older, watching TV, going to school and playing with his Gameboy. But when his mother dies suddenly, Bastian's limitless imagination is reborn. Bastian comes across a magical book, "The Neverending Story", in a curious little bookstore. Inspired by the book, Bastian creates an enchanted world called Fantasia, inhabited by dragons, dark knights and assorted heroes and villains. The adventure of a lifetime begins when Bastian projects his Fantasian alter ego, Atreyu, into a battle against the sinister force of The Nothing. This terrible force threatens to destroy Fantasia and its ruler, the Childlike Empress. Only Atreyu, a 14-year-old Woodland boy and unlikely hero, can save her and find a cure for The Nothing. Bastian's experiences in the real world; such as his mourning, his new, sometimes tumultuous life with his dad, his problems with a school bully and his terror of a new, sadistic substitute teacher, are mirrored by Atreyu's experiences in Fantasia. Along with Atreyu, Bastian overcomes obstacles, learns important life lessons, and gains insights that help him adjust to the sudden death of his mom.