There was a lot of hype about the choose-your-own-adventure genre when Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was released a few weeks ago. The movie was seen as a breakthrough in this movie category, but in fact, interactive novels preceded it by decades. If you like the choose-your-own-adventure idea, you will love these books:

  1. Maze (Solve the World’s Most Challenging Puzzle)

Author: Christopher Manson

When MAZE was published in 1985, Manson offered a prize for the first reader who came up with the correct solution to the puzzle it creates. However, no one officially won, but it has since been solved, at least.

“This is not really a book. This is a building in the shape of a book…a maze. Each numbered page depicts a room in the maze. Tempted? Test your wits against mine. I guarantee that my maze will challenge you to think in ways you’ve never thought before. But beware. One wrong turn and you may never escape!”

2. Inside UFO 54-40

Author: Edward Packard

Packard is considered as one of the inventors of interactive fiction, and wrote not the first examples of it. He crossed a lot of different genres but managed to maintain a high level of quality over the course of a lot of books. IInside UFO 54-40 is not easy to find these days. The story is about battling aliens who have kidnapped you for inclusion in their unethical zoo.

“An exciting adventure aboard a UFO where YOU are the star of the story and get to choose from 30 possible endings! #12 in the popular & collectible “Choose Your Own Adventure” series.”

3. What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower (Being An Adventure Of Your Own Choosing)

Author: Margaret Killjoy

Descend into the depths of the undercity and embroil yourself in the political struggles of colonialist gnomes and indigenous goblins. Fly in air balloons, drink mysterious and pleasant cocktails, smoke opium with the dregs of gnomish society. Or dream and speak of liberation for all the races. Fall in love and abscond into the caverns. It s up to you, because this is an adventure of your own choosing. From the founder of SteamPunk Magazine and editor of Mythmakers & Lawbreakers (AK Press, 2009) comes this interactive novel of danger, drugs, and revolution.

4. Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

Author: Max Brallier 

Unspeakable horror awaits in these pages! Bloodsplattering, brain-impaling, flesh-devouring horror. You’ve probably read your fair share of zombie stories. But this time it’s different. No longer can you sit idle as a bunch of fools make all the wrong moves. All hell is about to break loose–and YOU have a say in humanity’s survival. You have choices to make. Moral dilemmas. Strategic decisions. Weapons. Vehicles. Will you be a hero? Or will you cover your own ass at all costs? Can you withstand the coming hours, days, weeks, and months? Or will you die amidst the chaos and violence of a zombie uprising? Or, worst of all, will you become one of them?

5. Life’s Lottery

Author: Kim Newman

An exciting speculative fiction novel that invites the reader to assume the role of the protagonist!

A role-playing novel that reveals how small decisions can have monumental consequences. If you choose the right possibilities you may live a long happy life, or be immensely rich, or powerful, or win the lottery. If you make other choices you may become a murderer, die young, make every mistake possible, or make no impression on life at all. The choice is yours.


6. Trial of the Clone (An Interactive Adventure!)

Author: Zach Weinersmith

Trial of the Clone is a choosable pathway gamebook that allows the reader to make choices, interact with the world, and otherwise navigate through over 500 scenes and thousands of potential pathways. Readers can choose to simply read through the story or interact more fully with the book’s game by keeping track of statistics, items, and battles. Readers are incentivized to reread the book many times to explore other pathways or to catch some of the many secrets the author has hidden throughout the book.

The reader plays as a clone who sets out to find his place in the world, solving challenging puzzles and fighting monsters along the way. Weinersmith’s writing is characteristically irreverent and satirical, painting a dystopian future world filled with comical, colorful characters and clever surprises. Trial of the Clone is Zach Weinersmith’s first full-length book, and is evidence of his sprawling understanding of literature, science, logic, philosophy, and technology. Weinersmith is the sole creator behind Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, a daily comic that boasts over 250,000 daily readers and served more than 500,000,000 comics in 2011.

7. Hopscotch

Author: Julio Cortazar

Horacio Oliveira is an Argentinian writer who lives in Paris with his mistress, La Maga, surrounded by a loose-knit circle of bohemian friends who call themselves “the Club.” A child’s death and La Maga’s disappearance put an end to his life of empty pleasures and intellectual acrobatics, and prompt Oliveira to return to Buenos Aires, where he works by turns as a salesman, a keeper of a circus cat which can truly count, and an attendant in an insane asylum. Hopscotch is the dazzling, freewheeling account of Oliveira’s astonishing adventures.


8. Heart of Ice

Author: Dave Morris

The end of the 23rd century. Earth lies in the grip of a new Ice Age. Famine, cold and fanatic cults threaten what is left of civilization. Humanity is on the brink of extinction.

Nine of the strongest heroes of the age come seeking the ultimate prize: the Heart of Volent, an object with the power to reshape reality. All are ruthless, powerful, determined. To succeed they must work together. But only one can have the Heart.

Choose your alliances with care. Weigh up who to trust. Be ready for betrayal. When the moment comes, the future of mankind will rest on your judgment.

9. The Most Boring Book Ever Written (An Adventureless Choose-Your-Path Novella)

Authors: Rudolf Kerkhoven and Daniel Pitts

Do NOT purchase this book if you are looking for any of the following:
-A plot
-Interesting dialogue
-Action and/or adventure
-Insight into the human condition
-An underlying message
-Complex characters
-A point

10. Ocean of Lard (Choose Your Own Mindfuck Fest #17)

Authors: Kevin L. Donihe and Carlton Mellick

A perverted, surreal, violent, hilarious, and absolutely fucked-up parody of those Choose Your Own Adventure books you used to read as a kid.

You’re on the run from the cops and need to disappear somehow. Luckily you happen across a secret ocean in the middle of Wyoming. An undiscovered world of pirates and zombies that, according to maps, couldn’t possibly exist. But here it is, a vast white sea that is made of some kind of greasy blubber substance instead of water. To escape, you must join the crew of one of the two ships at the dock. The first is a strange black cube-shaped vessel called The Eye World and the other is a totally punk rock pirate ship called The Rotten Sore. Which will you take?

If you board The Eye World, turn to page 21. If you take The Rotten Sore, turn to page 22. But choose wisely! You could find yourself screwing demonic faeries and a cyborg dominatrix on top of a pile of treasure, or you could end up as lunch for a team of floating telepathic walrus heads.
Ocean of Lard is a parody of that classic interactive fiction series that you adored as a kid, now filled to the brim with enough fucked up humor and perversions to satisfy you as an adult.


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