Saturday, 4 January 2014

70s Saturday Sci-Fi Scans

As one year ends and a new one begins, people struggle to define the past within the present and the future. Ten years from now, 2013 will seem like a faraway place. Thirty years from now, the teens will seem weird (heh, I guess teens always will be) but time is actually a continuum, which may surprise children of the 80s that one of their favourite series had roots in the 70s. Maybe it's more appropriate that the first book was called...

The Cave of Time

You are the hero of your own adventure

This is a book you'll love reading. You will read it differently from any other book you have read before, because in this book you will decide how the story comes out. You'll get to choose exactly where you - the hero - will go along the way. Like this:

What happens next in the story? It all depends on the choices you make. How does the story end? Only you can find out! And the best part is you can keep reading and rereading until you've had not one, but many incredibly daring experiences!

It's so quaint that they had to try so hard to explain the concept in 1979. We play Choose Your Own Adventure every time we play a game or surf the Web (especially Wikipedia), but, for legions of kids, this was the closest they would get to hypertext or the burgeoning interactive fiction genre. My brother and I read them as fast as the library could get them, and the original series spawned dozens of titles. We used a deck of cards to mark our places should we need to retrace our steps. And even though the covers and illustrations mostly featured boys, the text was gender neutral enough to appeal to girls. My brother was always a reluctant reader, and since comics were a no-no in our house, these were perfect for him. My favourites ended up being Be An Interplanetary Spy and Which Way books, which had more of a science fiction/weird horror bent.

It was fun to pick up The Cave of Time and remember why the series was so successful - kids often don't have much choice in their lives (or, at least, I didn't) and the books were literally all about you - just about every sentence starts with the word. You are the hero! You are the genius! You are anything you can be in the CYA universe!