Thursday, April 17, 2008

Choose Your Own Adventure!

Do you remember those books?

Awhile back I was solicited to review a new series of game books from the same company that brought such fun to kids during the eighties. The first volume, THE GOLDEN PATH is an adventure that seems cut from the same cloth that Edgar Rice Burroughs wore in his Pellucidar books. That is, the story revolves around a dangerous quest for the mysterious entrance to the hollow of the earth.

In this instance, the story takes place in an alternate earth where things are more "big brother" than they are here in this realm. This includes mysterious agencies, police patrols, air skimmers, hovercraft and arctic ships. You are a young man who receives an email note from your mother - a famous archaeologist who seems to have discovered the mysterious entrance to another world inside the earth where a separate race of beings - the Lemurians - are having problems of their own.

Those who love the Burroughs Pellucidar books will want to pick this volume up for their younger readers in the house. This is YA pulp - no doubt. The fact you flip the book around and choose how the story goes (Choose Your Own Adventure - duh!) is fun for me, but will no doubt delight the generations after me who were raised on role playing games.

In looking at the writing style and the structure of the story- I find I'm not that big a fan of the grammatical structure. Every sentence begins with the pronoun "you," which for me - a person totally unfamiliar with the conventions of the CYOA books - took a bit getting used to. I would like to see one of these books written in a normal prose style - if for nothing else then to see if it still had the narrative impact that this style has adopted. Maybe I'll take a crack at writing one of these type books.

Take a look and Choose Your Own Adventure!


Jason Sanders said...

I used to love those books! When you're 10 years old, being able to choose what happens is pretty cool.

If you're interested in actually writing them, here's something that should come in handy:

A map of all the options in a CYOA book. I never realized they were so complex, until I checked this out.

Cunningham said...

Thank you, sir. That's an interesting flowchart and bears further scrutiny here at Mad Pulp HQ.

Kelly J. Crawford said...

I loved those CYOA stories! In fact, I wrote one, for "V".

More on that here: