Revisiting: Choose Your Own Adventure

This was the series I voraciously read up until I entered high school before comics took over my world. Apparently, the Choose Your Own Adventure books kept going until 1998. My brother had first bought The Cave of Time and The Abominable Snowman. I got hooked, and found myself saving my allowance to get more of them. We collected most of the first 45 books in the series.

(It was during one of those sojourns to the bookstore in Ali Mall where I was held up, as I mentioned in my "Stolen" post below.)

I guess this series catalyzed my interest in role-playing and storytelling. You start reading the tale, choose where to go, and end with any of over 20 possible endings. I found a lot of magic in that.

This series is special to me because of two things. First, I totally admired the art style of Ralph Reese, who illustrated Prisoner of the Ant People and Escape, and a number of covers. Come to think of it, I remember lazy afternoons when I would copy his work.

Secondly, I had a series of snail mail exchanges with author Edward Packard. I'd write in long hand, and he'd respond with a crisp piece of bond paper and clean lines courtesy of an electronic typewriter. That he would find the time to write a young fan in the Philippines was totally flattering and inspiring.

I found out that there's the DVD version of The Abominable Snowman, which sparked this blog entry. Somehow a digital version doesn't sit well with me, since it deprives one the joy of imagining events as they unfold, or the pleasure of toting the book and taking it wherever. But maybe its just pride in nostalgia. It might have been easier for me to swallow if they didn't call it Choose Your Own Adventure.


OliverTwist said…
Oh My God Carlo... I used to read the same set of books when I was in high school... My first ever Choose Your Own Adventure was The Enchanted Kingdom by Ellen Kushner... Then I had the By Balloon to the Sahara. Actually I was able to buy the first 3 books, The Cave of Time, Journey Under The Sea and By Balloon... I still have the 3 books at home plus 16 more other CYOA books. I think they're collector's items by now.... Wow... talk about childhood memories. Thanks Carlo.
Anonymous said…
orangeinapod... *sigh* Yeah, those childhood memories. I always got a kick out of the title The Lost Jewels of Nabooti. :-) I'd like to think that the first editions would be collector's items. In the site, The Cave of Time already has three covers!
jactinglim said…
I really miss those books :) My most unforgettable Choose Your Own Adventure book is the one in Narnia :D
OliverTwist said…
Yeah... I remember that one The Lost Jewels of Nabooti... Hmmm... better keep those books Carlo, it may cost a lot in the next few decades... Hehehe..
Anonymous said…
jac...May Choose Your Own adventure na Narnia?

oranginapod...wala na sila eh. :(
sky said…
I still have The Throne of Zeus existing...that is, if the floods back home hasn't claimed it yet.

There is also a similar CYOA book series by Bantam. It's called Time Machine. As far as I remember it lets you choose which year you want to go to, unlike CYOA in which the decision points depend on the situation you're in.
OliverTwist said…
I saw this website ...
yung ibang CYOA iba na ang cover... I still like the older covers. :(
Ed said…
Naalala ko pinahiram ako ng classmate ko nung college nitong books...I think five lang na books nabasa ko pero aliw. :D

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