Choose Your Own Mindfuck

Okay, I admit it. I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid. I loved reading and this was like interactive reading. What could be better? If you don't remember these, the books start out with about five pages of plot. Say, you're in San Francisco and the big one hits. A stranger is pinned nearby, but you know that a block away is someone whom you know and who might be in trouble. Then the book gives you a choice. Do you, A) save the stranger? or B) go save your friend? Either way could lead you to half a dozen more choices. In some of them you're a hero, in some you die, some scenarios just kind of fizzle out. As an adult I can look back and think about morality plays and critical thinking skills, but as a kid I was kinda a control freak (okay, so still am) and I enjoyed trying to make the "right" choice. Which was usually the boring choice. In Earthquake!, as detailed above, if you choose to save the stranger he ends up being a multi-millionaire and giving you money to go to college. Of course, the story ends there, which is dull and boring, whereas if you go the other way you run into tigers and poisonous spiders and all other kinds of cool things.

Choose Your Own Adventures also had cool plots like Journey to the Ant People and You Are a Shark! Of course, I don't think I ever ran across the following book:

Okay, so really I'm flabbergasted by the actual book and not the cover, but the cover is its own form of bad, too. My particular favorite aspect is the railroad that conveniently runs through the front yard of Mr. Slave-owning-rifle-shooting-but-not-chasing-guy. 'Cause kids are literal.


DocTurtle said...

Page 14: "If you choose to oppose ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, go to page 67. If you choose to push for ratification, go to page 123."

Snow said...

Is this like Journey to the Center of the Earth?

Anonymous said...

You know there's also a choose your own adventure book for the HOLOCAUST, right?


Sadly, the cover isn't TOO terrible... but the content more than makes up for it, I imagine.

Anonymous said...

I'm betting that the viewpoint character -- the "you" in the books -- is the little white boy in suspenders helping the poor slaves and not actually one of the slaves themselves, right? I'd like to be wrong ... but I bet I'm not.


Larry Lennhoff said...

My particular favorite aspect is the railroad that conveniently runs through the front yard of Mr. Slave-owning-rifle-shooting-but-not-chasing-guy. 'Cause kids are literal.

Not that literal - the tracks aren't underground after all.

Colinski said...

Damn! Larry beat me to that comment.

I loved Choose Your Own Adventure too!

Mooselet said...

The hands are really creepy on that white boy - they're too big for his prepubescent body. And how long is the mother's arm to jut all the way off the page and yet her hand is still there?

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's the hands are too big, so much that his arms are too short. Look at them in relation to his head and torso.

Snow said...

Larry, it is literal. They're all underground, I tell you.

Anonymous said...

From the look in that lad's eyes, I imagine at least one of his choices will involve eating that baby.

Maybe that will be one of the option in every choice in the book? Each time he arrives at a fork in his destined road, the narrator will offer the infant as a potential sacrifice. The reader will, of course choose another option, but throughout their adventure, they will be haunted by the constant suggestions. "You know, you can always eat that baby if you want. All you have to do is turn to page 201." At every junction, the reader will continue to resist, until finally arriving at the horrible realization that all possible storylines end at page 201:

"You eat the baby.

...it is delicious."