Tuesday, September 14, 2004


I may have linked this in the past, but I just saw it on MeFi, so here's a list of "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. For several years I lived on these, when I was a kid.

For those who don't recall them or didn't see them, they were a kind of "interactive" fiction, in which each page presents a choice for the reader, and then you flip to a certain other page based on the choice you make, and so on, until you reach an ending. (The books usually had at least 25 possible endings.) I recall these fondly, although I'd cheat a lot: I'd flip through to endings and then try to reconstruct how to reach that particular ending, or I'd keep a finger on one page while I made a choice and followed it, just in case I had to backtrack. Trouble was, in the course of following a series of choices thusly, I'd end up with my fingers in a contorted position as I tried to "bookmark" six or seven consecutive choices. But these books were quite a bit of fun. Even if I never did figure out the "secret way to the planet Ultima" from the twelfth book in the series.

Also via MeFi (and via Sean) I see that author Stephen R. Donaldson is returning to the works that launched his career, and following up the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant with the Final Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Details are available at Donaldson's official website. The Covenant books are old favorites of mine, even if Donaldson's prose is a bit uneven (he has beautiful passages, like the one I quoted here, juxtaposed with some amazingly clunky ones) and the fact that the protagonist, Thomas Covenant, is about the most boorish person you'll ever find at the center of an epic fantasy.

I re-read the first book in the series last year (Lord Foul's Bane), and now I suppose I need to re-read the whole thing. What struck me upon my re-read of just the first book was that some very obvious stuff is cribbed from Tolkien, while there's other stuff that bears no resemblance at all to any of the Tolkienesque tropes of fantasy.

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