TNB Night Owl – Choose Your Owl Adventure

Ocean of Lard book cover.

(1)  The Choose Your Own Adventure books were staples of youth reading from the late 1970s through the early 1990s. More than a hundred of the books were produced, with hundreds of knock-off versions produced as well.

(2) Authors who got their start writing this style of book included R.L. Stein and Margaret Weis.  But the launch of some new careers wasn’t the only interesting thing about the CYOA books.  There were also adult versions, and attempts to bring CYOA into other formats.  If you want to hear about the adult versions, go to paragraph 3.  If you want to read about other formats, go to paragraph 6.

(3) Neil Patrick Harris, recognizing the love of the format, used it for his autobiography.  It was called, appropriately enough, “Choose Your Own Autobiography”.  But there may be more adult treatments.  If you continue to hunt for those, go to paragraph 4.  If you want to hunt for variants on the youth format, go to paragraph 5.

(4) Apparently famous comedic actors aren’t the only ones who found the format humorous.  The people over at Eraserhead Books produced not one, but two books full of perversion, fetishism, grotesquerie and more using the format.  Ocean of Lard and Super Giant Monster Time.  Ocean of Lard in particular is written well, but the subject matter is often utterly vile… in keeping with many other books by Carlton Mellick III.  Click those links at your own risk.  Go to paragraph 5.

(5) It’s one thing to note adult variants, but there were also variants for the target age group and for beginning readers.  During the height of the format’s success, a series was developed for a set of related CYOA books.  They featured the reader as an investigative journalist for a fictional news magazine and were designated as CYOA Passport books.  In the mid-1990s, inspired by the success of their competition Goosebumps books, a series of Choose Your Own Nightmare titles was released.  And in the late 2000s, a series of “Beginning Readers” CYOA books were introduced that blended picture books with the CYOA format.  The End.

(6) There are rumors of a filmed version of CYOA, but it’s uncertain whether it’s live-action or cartoon.  There is also a new game out that looks like it’s similar.  If you choose to investigate the game, go to paragraph 7.  If you hunt for a cartoon version, go to paragraph 8.  If you look for a live action version, go to paragraph 9.

(7) There is in fact a new game out based on the CYOA books.  It’s called House of Danger, and it’s available for sale at game stores and online.  Considering that the draw of the series was their open-ended narrative style, and recognizing that just about all games are open-ended, it’s hard to see this as anything beyond an attempt to reap a reward off of a beloved license.  If you want to further investigate the live action version, go to paragraph 9.  If you want to find the cartoon, go to paragraph 8.

(8) There was, in fact, a cartoon edition.  It starred William H. Macy and Frankie Muntz as the voice talent, and was called The Abominable Snowman.  It had 11 different endings available to the full-length feature.  If you feel you’re missing something go to paragraph 9.  If, however, you are satisfied you’ve picked up all of the available CYOA trivia, this is The End.

(9) There is at least one more interesting thing about CYOA… it’s in the works at Fox to become a big-budget movie.  The idea is to shoot extra scenes and allow the audience to select which way the movie progresses based upon their selections.  Theoretically an individual film could have different scenes and even a different ending on subsequent viewings.

Question of the night : What is your favorite adventure / thriller story or movie?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.