Books by Edward Packard


Adventures of You

     Sugarcane Island
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Barbara Carter
First Published: 1976 (Vermont Crossroads Press original), March, 1978 (Archway paperback reprint)
ISBN: 0-671-29884-4 (Archway edition)
Length: 119 pages
Number of Endings: 39
Plot Summary: Your ship is wrecked by a huge wave and you must find a way to survive on an isolated and dangerous island.
Translations: German, Italian
My Thoughts: This is historically a very important book, being one of the earliest gamebooks ever published. It was written in 1969 and first printed in 1976 by Vermont Crossroads Press. In 1978, it was reprinted as an Archway paperback, first under the Adventures of You banner and later without it. In 1982, the cover was slightly changed, and the book became part of the Which Way series. In 1986, the book was revised and expanded and published as Choose Your Own Adventure #62. This book wouldn't be particularly exceptional if it weren't among the first of its kind, but it's worth reading if only to see where it all started.
The Vermont Crossroads Press edition of this book is not part of my collection; the pictures of it are courtesy of Alec Fleschner.


Choose Your Own Adventure

1. The Cave of Time
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger) (interior and original cover), James Warhola (reissue cover)
First Published: 1979
ISBN: 0-553-12790-X (early printings), 0-553-14004-3 (later printings), 0-553-26965-8 (even later printings)
Length: 115 pages
Number of Endings: 40
Plot Summary: You wander into a cave which transports you randomly through time, leading to all manner of adventures.
Translations: Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain), Turkish, Urdu
My Thoughts: This is a good start to a good series. There's nothing out of the ordinary in terms of gameplay, but the adventure is nonetheless memorable and entertaining. It's also worth noting that this book was made into a computer game for the Apple II and Commodore 64 in the mid 1980s.

5. The Mystery of Chimney Rock
Reissue Title: The Curse of the Haunted Mansion
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger) (interior and original cover), Jacques Devaud (reissue cover)
First Published: January, 1980
ISBN: 0-553-14001-9 (early printings), 0-553-23184-7 (later printings), 0-553-27419-8 (even later printings)
Length: 121 pages
Number of Endings: 36 (listed as 40 on some early editions)
Plot Summary: While visiting your cousins Michael and Jane in Connecticut, you end up exploring a supposedly cursed house which is said to be occupied only by the cat of a dead woman.
Translations: Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain), Urdu
My Thoughts: This is a good horrific adventure; it's very strange at times and has a slightly creepy atmosphere (which, of course, is desirable).

6. Your Code Name is Jonah
Reissue Title: Spy Trap
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger) (interior and original cover), Don Gabriel (reissue cover)
First Published: January, 1980 (original)
ISBN: 0-553-14002-7 (early printings), 0-553-20913-2 (later printings), 0-553-23182-0 (even later printings)
Length: 114 pages
Number of Endings: 27 (listed as 40 on some early editions)
Plot Summary: As an agent of the Special Intelligence Group, you must fight Russian spies and discover the secret of a mysterious new whale song.
Collected In: Choose Your Own Adventure Box #2
Translations: Catalan, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain)
My Thoughts: This book has a rather dated and uninvolving story, but it's not all that bad.

7. The Third Planet from Altair
Reissue Title: Message from Space
British Alternate Title: Exploration Infinity
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Barbara Carter (Lippincott Original and Exploration Infinity interior illustrations), Geoff Hunt (Exploration Infinity cover), Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger) (this series interior and first cover)
First Published: November, 1980 (earlier edition published in April, 1979, Exploration Infinity published in 1982, reissue published in August, 1989)
ISBN: 0-397-31827-8 (Lippincott regular edition), 0-397-31884-7 (Lippencott library binding), 0-553-13978-9 (early CYOA printings), 0-553-20980-9 (later CYOA printings), 0-553-23185-5 (even later CYOA printings), 0416244505 (Exploration Infinity)
Length: 117 pages
Number of Endings: 38
Library of Congress Summary: The reader, en route to the third planet from Altair to seek the source and meaning of extraterrestrial messages, is given choices to make determining the course of the spaceship and the survival of the crew.
Plot Summary: When alien signals are detected coming from a planet orbiting the distant star Altair, you are asked to travel into space to find their senders. On your journey you are accompanied by Captain Bud Stanton, Professor Henry Pickens, and Dr. Nera Vivaldi.
Collected In: Choose Your Own Adventure Box #2
Translations: Dutch, Italian, Spanish (North America)
My Thoughts: This is an above average science fiction gamebook with an interesting story and excellent internal consistency. Before becoming part of this series, it was released by Lippincott. The book was also released in England as a stand-alone book called Exploration Infinity. I have the Lippincott library binding edition in my collection, but I lack Exploration Infinity. For those interested in examining the structure of the book, Ace High sent in an Excel spreadsheet showing a map of the book's sections.

Choose Your Own Adventure Lippincott Paperback Lippincott Book Club Hardback 8. Deadwood City
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Barbara Carter (Lippincott original), Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger) (this series)
First Published: November, 1980 (Lippincott version published in January, 1978)
ISBN: 0-397-31783-2 (Lippincott hardback), 0-397-31798-0 (Lippincott paperback), 0-553-13994-0 (this series), 0-553-20982-5 (this series, later printings), 0-553-23230-4 (this series, even later printings)
Length: 96 pages (Lippincott original), 113 pages (this series)
Number of Endings: 37
Library of Congress Summary (from Lippincott original): By following the instructions at the bottom of each page, the reader can have several different adventures in the Old West.
Plot Summary: You wander into the old west town of Deadwood City looking for a job and find, predictably enough, adventure.
Collected In: Choose Your Own Adventure Box #2
Translations: Catalan, Dutch, Italian
My Thoughts: This western adventure is a fast and entertaining read. Like The Third Planet from Altair, this book was released by Lippincott before it became part of this series. I have copies of the Lippincott hardback and paperback editions in my collection; scans of both are on display above.

9. Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey?
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger)
First Published: February, 1981
ISBN: 0-553-14357-3 (earlier printings), 0-553-20912-4 (early printings), 0-553-23181-2 (later printings)
Length: 122 pages
Number of Endings: 14
Plot Summary: A rich man call you and asks for help when he feels his life is in danger... Eventually (as the title gives away), you find yourself trying to solve a murder case.
Collected In: Choose Your Own Adventure Box #2
Translations: Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain), Turkish
My Thoughts: This is a very well-designed gamebook. It has excellent (but not absolutely perfect) continuity and consistency, more-interesting-than-usual characters, and a clear goal (the solution of the mystery) to work towards.

12. Inside UFO 54-40
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger)
First Published: February, 1982
ISBN: 0-553-20197-2 (early printings), 0-553-23175-8 (later printings)
Length: 118 pages
Number of Endings: 30
Plot Summary: You are kidnapped by the U-TY masters, alien creatures who wish to place you in a zoo.
Translations: Catalan, Danish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain), Turkish
My Thoughts: This is a fairly interesting science fiction adventure, though it's certainly not the best of the series. The book also contains the rather annoying gimmick of making the reader search for the planet Ultima, a place which is in the book but completely unreachable by regular play. It's on page 101, in case you care...

14. The Forbidden Castle
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger)
First Published: August, 1982
ISBN: 0-553-22515-4 (early printings), 0-553-23236-3 (later printings)
Length: 118 pages
Number of Endings: 27
Plot Summary: You return to the Cave of Time and end up in medieval Europe, where you must solve a riddle and find a mysterious castle.
Translations: Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain)
My Thoughts: This sequel to The Cave of Time is quite good. Once again, a clear quest makes the gameplay more fun, and it's actually something of a challenge to reach the ideal ending.

16. Survival at Sea
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger)
First Published: December, 1982
ISBN: 0-553-22768-8
Length: 118 pages
Number of Endings: 26
Plot Summary: Dr. Vivaldi asks you to accompany her on a search for the Arkasaur, a dinosaur which may have recently been sighted in the ocean.
Translations: Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain), Turkish
My Thoughts: This is another excellent work by Edward Packard. It's challenging and creative, and its use of a map makes things a bit more interesting. This is also something of a sequel to The Third Planet from Altair since it uses the character of Dr. Nera Vivaldi.

18. Underground Kingdom
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Anthony Kramer
First Published: March, 1983
ISBN: 0-553-23292-4
Length: 108 pages
Number of Endings: 21
Plot Summary: Dr. Vivaldi has discovered a bottomless crevasse and disappeared into it... You are part of an expedition sent to find out exactly where it leads.
Translations: Catalan, Danish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain), Swedish, Turkish
My Thoughts: This sequel to Survival at Sea (again, only a sequel because of the presence of Dr. Vivaldi) is fairly weak. The book can be fun, but there are some continuity problems which make it feel as if it wasn't as well-planned as some of the earlier books in the series. For those interested in examining the structure of the book, Ace High sent in an Excel spreadsheet showing a map of the book's sections.

21. Hyperspace
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Anthony Kramer
First Published: June, 1983
ISBN: 0-553-23324-6
Length: 116 pages
Number of Endings: 15
Plot Summary: Professor Zinka, your new neighbor, is experimenting with hyperspace... You get involved in the strange results of his experiments.
Translations: Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain), Turkish
My Thoughts: This is definitely a weird book. Events that occur are strange and unrelated, you have the option of reading a gamebook within the gamebook, and Dr. Vivaldi makes an odd appearance. Good stuff. In case you're interested, I've received an Excel spreadsheet showing a map of the book's sections, courtesy of Ace High.

28. Mountain Survival
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger) (cover), Leslie Morrill (interior)
First Published: January, 1984
ISBN: 0-553-23868-X
Length: 115 pages
Number of Endings: 25
Plot Summary: Your small plane crashes in the Canadian Rockies and its pilot is too badly hurt to move, so you must search for help in the dangerous terrain all by yourself.
Translations: Catalan, Danish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Spain), Urdu
My Thoughts: This is an enjoyable adventure. In addition to being fairly well-written and exciting, the book is aided by the fact that many of its choices require a bit of thought and actually make sense logically.

39. Supercomputer
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Frank Bolle
First Published: December, 1984
ISBN: 0-553-24678-X (early printings), 0-553-25818-4 (later printings)
Length: 118 pages
Number of Endings: 22
Plot Summary: You've won a computer programming contest, and the prize is an extremely advanced computer...
Translations: Catalan, French, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain)
My Thoughts: This book certainly covers a lot of territory; you can attempt to aid the cause of peace by talking to world leaders, you can try to communicate with dolphins, or you can be terrorized by a madman, among other things. Dr. Vivaldi even makes an appearance along the way, making this a sequel of sorts to Underground Kingdom and Hyperspace. The biggest problem with the book is that, due to the way it deals with the world of computers, it's extremely dated and ludicrously unrealistic... This cheesiness has a certain charm to it, though, and fans of eighties nostalgia should have fun with it.

45. You Are a Shark
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Ron Wing
First Published: June, 1985
ISBN: 0-553-24963-0
Length: 114 pages
Number of Endings: 14
Plot Summary: Your hike through Nepal leads you into a forbidden temple. As punishment for your intrusion, you must survive in the forms of several different animals in order to earn your freedom.
Translation: Spanish (Spain)
My Thoughts: I first read this book a long time ago, and it has stuck with me since then. It's definitely a refreshingly original book, and while it's not always entirely believable, it's quite a satisfying read. When it comes time to transform, the choices never ask you specifically which animal you want to be, but instead give vague categories; this makes the book considerably more interesting than it could have been, since you never know what you're going to be next...

50. Return to the Cave of Time
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Don Hedin
First Published: November, 1985
ISBN: 0-553-25296-8
Length: 115 pages
Number of Endings: 16
Plot Summary: You travel back to the Cave of Time and see what fate has in store for you...
Translations: Catalan, Italian, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain), Turkish
My Thoughts: This is actually the third book in the series involving the Cave of Time (the previous two being The Cave of Time and The Forbidden Castle), and while it is written by Edward Packard, it has a bit of metaphysical weirdness which sounds like it's the product of R. A. Montgomery's mind. The book is interesting in that it is quite unpredictable -- you never quite know where or when you'll end up. However, this unpredictability is also the book's downfall. The reader has no real motivation to revisit the Cave of Time, and the events that occur never arrange themselves into anything resembling a coherent plot. Still, there are some interesting ideas here and there. Perhaps the highlight of the book is the ending on page 78; the text is rather dull, but the illustration that accompanies it completely changes its tone and adds a wonderful twist. I can't help wondering if this illustration was "scripted" by the author or if it was simply added as a joke by the illustrator... And speaking of the illustrator, this is the first book in which I noticed that Don Hedin doesn't just draw like Paul Granger; Don Hedin is Paul Granger! I wonder what convinced him to start using his real name...

52. Ghost Hunter
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Bill Schmidt (original cover), David Mattingly (reissue cover), Ted Enik (interior)
First Published: January, 1986
ISBN: 0-553-25488-X (early printings), 0-553-26983-6 (later printings)
Length: 117 pages
Number of Endings: 20
Plot Summary: You are the private investigator who solved the Harlowe Thrombey murder case, but you're growing bored with your profession. It's time for something new: ghost hunting!
Translations: Catalan, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain)
My Thoughts: This direct sequel to Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey? isn't quite as good as its predecessor in terms of goal-oriented gameplay, but it's still a slightly better-than-average entry in the series. The writing is decent, the story is adequate (though unexceptional), and most paths through the book manage to be quite lengthy without being slow-moving.

62. Sugarcane Island
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Ted Enik
First Published: 1976 (original, non-CYOA version), November, 1986 (this revised edition)
ISBN: 0-553-26040-5
Length: 118 pages
Number of Endings: 39
Plot Summary: Your ship is wrecked by a huge wave and you must find a way to survive on an isolated and dangerous island.
Translations: Catalan, German, Spanish (Spain)
My Thoughts: Having already read and reviewed the earlier edition of this book, I examined this one with a primary intent of finding out exactly what was revised. As it turns out, there were enough changes to justify an entire article on the subject. Specifics aside, this book really does show that Edward Packard grew as an author between 1969 (when the book was first written) and 1986 (when the revisions were made). He's ironed out all of the vague points, made the dangers to the protagonist more immediate and defined the characters better by adding a fair amount of dialogue. As with the unrevised original, there's nothing amazing about this book if it's taken out of context, but as an important piece of gamebook history, it's worth at least a brief look.

71. Space Vampire
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: David Mattingly (cover), Judith Mitchell (interior)
First Published: August, 1987
ISBN: 0-553-26723-X
Length: 118 pages
Number of Endings: 25
Plot Summary: You are a recent Elite-level graduate of the Space Academy, and your first mission involves a near-invincible alien vampire!
Translations: Catalan, Spanish (Spain)
My Thoughts: At least this time around, when the back of the book says "You're the star of more than 24 endings," it isn't lying. Of course, I'm not sure why they couldn't just say "You're the star of exactly 25 endings." I'll never understand marketers. Anyway, pointless nitpicking aside, this is a pretty good book. It is, of course, rather silly, but it nonetheless has some atmospheric moments, appropriately gruesome artwork and interesting choices. The book's biggest weakness is probably its tendency to awkwardly insert information on vampire lore into the text, though this is easily ignored. One thing that gives the book a slightly odd feel is the fact that, more or less no matter what you do, even if you go off on a totally unrelated mission, you'll end up facing vampires. While this further damages the book's already near-nonexistent realism and somewhat diminishes replayability, it nonetheless works pretty well since it keeps things focused on topic at all times. It's also worth noting is that the book features an appearance by Dr. Vivaldi, who has been absent from the series for quite some time. She's described as being in her fifties here, though I'm not sure how significant that is. Trying to sort out continuity in this series is an exercise in futility, but it is fun that certain elements keep resurfacing from time to time.

80. The Perfect Planet
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: James Warhola (cover), Leslie Morrill (interior)
First Published: June, 1988
ISBN: 0-553-27227-6
Length: 116 pages (plus historical note)
Number of Endings: 20
Plot Summary: You are a solo scout for the Federation of Planets, and you have been assigned to restore stability on Utopa, a planet normally free from war and predation but currently in a state of crisis.
My Thoughts: This is an excellent science fiction adventure. Although its premise is by no means entirely convincing, it nonetheless manages to build a very well-constructed story around it. Nearly all of the choices are meaningful and challenging, and the dilemmas posed here are among the most interesting in the series so far. Barring premature death, each read-through is lengthy and leads to a satisfying conclusion. Internal consistency is good, and continuity with earlier adventures is established through a brief cameo by the ever-present Dr. Vivaldi. This book is certainly not as perfect as the rather implausible planet that it describes, but it's still a rather impressive accomplishment.


Choose Your Own Adventure (Skylark Edition)

   1. The Circus
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger)
First Published: November, 1981
ISBN: 0-553-15120-7 (early printings), 0-553-15238-6 (later printings), 0-553-15744-2 (even later printings)
Length: 55 pages
Number of Endings: 12
Plot Summary: You visit your aunt and uncle, both circus people, and are given the choice to learn to be an acrobat, a clown, or an animal trainer.
Translations: French, Spanish
My Thoughts: This is really just a collection of random events which lead to abrupt endings. Still, it's not too bad; the visual design is nice, with text and graphics mixing well, and there is a note at the end explaining one of the events which occurs in the story.

  3. Sunken Treasure
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger)
First Published: April, 1982
ISBN: 0-553-05018-4 (hardback), 0-553-15150-9 (early paperback printings), 0-553-15208-4 (later paperback printings)
Length: 52 pages
Number of Endings: 8
Library of Congress Summary: The reader is asked to make choices which will determine the outcome of a search for sunken treasure.
Translations: German, Spanish
My Thoughts: This is the first book in the series that seems to have a point to it; the search for treasure definitely gives the story direction. The book is also notable for being set in the 18th century.

  5. Gorga, The Space Monster
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger)
First Published: November, 1982
ISBN: 0-553-05031-1 (hardback), 0-553-15161-4 (early paperback printings), 0-553-15308-0 (later paperback printings)
Length: 54 pages
Number of Endings: 10
Library of Congress Summary: The reader is given choices to make which determine the outcome of an adventure with a space monster who arrives in Cape Cod.
Translations: French, Spanish
My Thoughts: This book tells a more coherent story than some of the other books in the series and the illustrations are often pretty amusing.

  7. Help! You're Shrinking
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger) (cover), Lorna Tomei (interior)
First Published: April, 1983
ISBN: 0-553-15195-9
Length: 52 pages
Number of Endings: 11
Plot Summary: You and your dog discover a bottle of shrinking potion, and predictably bad things occur as a result.
Translations: French, German, Spanish
My Thoughts: This isn't Packard's best work; it has several abrupt endings, and the variations on the title (like "Help! You're Sinking!") which periodically show up as parts of the book's text aren't nearly as cute as one might think. The book isn't helped too much by the artwork, which I found rather unappealing; the little boy appears to be about thirty years old in some of the pictures, and the insects just don't look right. On the positive side, some of the dangerous encounters with conventional animals are at least mildly interesting, and the character of the conscience-stricken Dr. Kemp has some amusement value. A hardback edition of this book was released by the Weekly Reader Book Club, and I'm fortunate enough to own a copy of it.

 9. Dream Trips
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger) (cover), Lorna Tomei (interior)
First Published: June, 1983
ISBN: 0-553-15506-7
Length: 53 pages
Number of Endings: 12
Plot Summary: You go to sleep and have dreams. Hmm.
Translations: French, Spanish
My Thoughts: This could have been a much more interesting book, but sadly it wasn't. It has some weird random stuff, a couple opportunities for wish fulfillment and little substance. I suppose it's fairly appropriate for the age group it's aimed at, but I still can't help feeling that Edward Packard is capable of doing better than this.

 13. Jungle Safari
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Lorna Tomei
First Published: November, 1983
ISBN: 0-553-15226-2
Length: 51 pages
Number of Endings: 9
Plot Summary: You go on safari with your uncle Stanley and his daughter, your favorite cousin June. During your journey you hope to find a Kawamba, a rare species of ape not seen in many years.
Translations: French, German
My Thoughts: This book has more in common with the original Choose Your Own Adventure series than most of the earlier books in this series do. It has a more interesting story and the shorter length of the book is dealt with reasonably well.

 23. The Polar Bear Express
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Don Hedin (credited as Paul Granger)
First Published: December, 1984
ISBN: 0-553-15299-8
Length: 53 pages
Number of Endings: 10
Plot Summary: Minotuk, an Inuit friend of yours, invites you to visit him in the far north.
Translation: Spanish
My Thoughts: Although this book is short and nearly plotless, it's a bit more interesting than usual for the series thanks to its frequent references to Inuit culture and the unusual characteristics of life in the Arctic. As with most of this series, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone far beyond the target age group, but it's not bad for what it is.

 40. The Great Easter Bunny Adventure
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Vincent Bell
First Published: April, 1987
ISBN: 0-553-15492-3
Length: 53 pages
Number of Endings: 9
Plot Summary: On Easter you follow a talking bunny and somehow travel through time in the process.
My Thoughts: This is definitely a weird one... Perhaps there's some sort of message hidden in here... Or maybe it's just a children's introduction to surrealism.

 46. A Day with the Dinosaurs
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Bill Schmidt (cover), Ron Wing (interior)
First Published: August, 1988
ISBN: 0-553-15612-8
Length: 53 pages
Number of Endings: 7
Plot Summary: You travel to Wyoming to witness a fossil hunt headed by a paleontologist named Dr. Robert Holmes.
My Thoughts: This is a pretty weak entry in the series, being both largely plotless and full of errors (from mixing dinosaur time periods to using the wrong form of the word "its" on page 39). There are some interesting points, though... First of all, travel to the age of dinosaurs is accomplished through an encounter with the Cave of Time, an interesting cross-series reference to the first Choose Your Own Adventure book. Also, in what is almost certainly a coincidence, the book's paleontologist shares his name with one of Doctor Who's most distinguished script writers...


Choose Your Own Adventure Super Adventure

 1. Journey to the Year 3000
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Lino Saffioti (cover), Leslie Morrill (interior)
First Published: March, 1987
ISBN: 0-553-26157-6
Length: 162 pages
Number of Endings: 27
Plot Summary: You volunteer to go into suspended animation for a thousand years. When you awaken in the year 3000, you find that the entire solar system is under the control of an evil tyrant named Styx Mori.
My Thoughts: This is quite a challenging gamebook; there is only one way to defeat Styx Mori, and it takes quite some time to find it. While this book isn't really that much longer than the regular Choose Your Own Adventure books, it is worthy of the "Super Adventure" title.


Choose Your Own Nightmare

 1. Night of the Werewolf
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Bill Schmidt
First Published: April, 1995
ISBN: 0-553-48229-7
Length: 86 pages
Number of Endings: 12
Plot Summary: While on summer vacation you encounter a murderous werewolf.
Translation: German
My Thoughts: This is a fairly weak book. The writing isn't too good (which is disappointing, since Edward Packard is capable of doing better), there are several excessively long stretches which don't include choices, and some of the endings are extremely abrupt and unsatisfying. There is a certain b-movie charm to the book, but it doesn't help much.


Earth Inspectors

 3. Olympus!: What is the Secret of the Oracle?
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Mona Conner (cover), Barbara Carter (interior)
First Published: 1988
ISBN: 0-07-047995-X
Length: 101 pages (plus glossary)
Number of Endings: 1
Library of Congress Summary: As an Earth Inspector, the reader travels back in time to Greece in 400 B.C. to search out the Oracle of Delphi and discover the secret of her powers.
My Thoughts: While this book gains some points for a slightly non-linear feel, it's still not too great. Due to the inclusion of a "data bank" and the use of time travel in the plot, this very closely resembles a rather weak Time Machine book.

 6. Africa: Where Do Elephants Live Underground?
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Mona Conner (cover), Barbara Carter (interior)
First Published: 1989
ISBN: 0-07-047998-4
Length: 104 pages
Number of Endings: 1
Library of Congress Summary: As an Earth Inspector, the reader tries to find the strange place where elephants live underground.
My Thoughts: This is a rather long book; it seems designed to make sure that you go to most of its locations before you finish it. This actually sort of makes sense within the context of this series; since there's little replay value you might as well get through most of the book the one time you read it... Of course, this makes one wonder why the book is a gamebook in the first place. In any case, apart from this, the biggest notable thing about the book is the fact that it has a certain amount of series continuity, picking up where the last book ended.


Escape from Tenopia

1. Tenopia Island
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrators: Catherine Huerta (cover), David Perry (interior)
First Published: June, 1986
ISBN: 0-553-25472-3
Length: 133 pages
Number of Endings: 1
Plot Summary: You are the only survivor of an unfortunate encounter between a spaceship and a meteor. Your lifepod lands on the dangerous planet of Tenopia, and you must find a way home.
Translation: Spanish
My Thoughts: I found note-taking to be rather essential for this book. During your travels on Tenopia Island, you're often asked if you've been to certain specific locations before. Since the place names are all rather unmemorable, it's hard to keep track of where you've been without writing some things down. Perhaps I took the note-taking too far, however; I also wrote down some clues, and by following them, I managed to finish the book so quickly that I didn't have much chance to be entertained by it. I certainly wasn't as thrilled as when I first played it about a decade ago and fell in love with the series. Still, this isn't a bad design -- it's much more game-like than Edward Packard's better-known Choose Your Own Adventure books, with map-reading and puzzle-solving playing important parts on the way to victory. The fact that there's no way to lose may disappoint gamebook fans looking for a challenge, however; Fighting Fantasy this is not...


Which Way Books

 6. Sugarcane Island
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Barbara Carter
First Published: March, 1978 (see below for further details)
ISBN: 0-671-47377-8
Length: 119 pages
Number of Endings: 39
Plot Summary: Your ship is wrecked by a huge wave and you must find a way to survive on an isolated and dangerous island.
My Thoughts: This is historically a very important book, being one of the earliest gamebooks ever published. It was written in 1969 and first printed in 1976 by Vermont Crossroads Press. In 1978, it was reprinted as an Archway paperback, first under the Adventures of You banner and later without it. In 1982, the cover was slightly changed, and the book became part of the Which Way series. In 1986, the book was revised and expanded and published as Choose Your Own Adventure #62. This book wouldn't be particularly exceptional if it weren't among the first of its kind, but it's worth reading if only to see where it all started.


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