Tuesday, December 4, 2012

You Get to Answer Hamlet's Eternal Question, and Much More

Do you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? How you would try to carefully pick and navigate through this maze of pages in order to emerge triumphant? Or rather, like me, in search of every untimely demise the author had to offer? Oh, childhood.  Well, a Canadian comic book writer, Ryan North, is writing one... on Hamlet (read about it here). And the premise alone is brilliant.  at least a hundred different storylines and outcomes (one of which is actually the Shakespearean original, if you choose your path the way the Bard intended), all carefully construed around the characters and drawn from their personalities and histories. I think it sounds fabulous and enriching--literary adventures are the most grueling and daring of all! And rather a concise, in-one-volume approach or reimagining of the many ways people write or create stories based on a classic or well-read book--what they imagine characters might be like in a different situation, or had they chosen a different path. The best part might be learning all the details you don't realize are included in the play itself until they manifest themselves into the dead character whose ghost you are now following.

But you must also read about how other people must agree with me because of the money he has raised on Kickstarter. It will shock you. And perhaps return some faith in humanity's love for creativity, imagination and the written word (as well as exceptional illustrations from at least 30 different artists).

So I wonder, will CYOA books come back to the forefront? I loved them as a kid, but their existence whittled away. On the one hand, one might think an author would have a difficulty truly developing a character or plot, and bringing up all encompassing themes seems like an impossibility; thus authors may not find it rewarding or fulfilling to their purpose. And yet, as I hope will be the case with this, the world is all the more fine-tuned and detailed. Plus, a depth can be found in the characters who may struggle between a right or wrong, a good or bad, and show where their inner demons may lead them (by the way, that inner demon would be you in this case! Hmm...). Something to ponder in your free moments. 

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