The Adventures of You Series — no. 1
Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) — no. 62
Which Way Books — no. 6
Sugarcane Island, "The Island of 1000 Adventures"
Avventure nell'isola (Italian)
L'illa de la canya de sucre (Catalan)
La isla de la caña de azúcar (Spanish)
Jezyerh 1000 hezar khetr [جزيره ١٠٠٠ هزار خطر] (Farsi)
(1980 German release of original English text, standalone Sugarcane Island paperback, third printing, Original hardcover, Which Way Books, 6th printing, standalone British hardcover, 1995 German release of original English text, 1999 German release of original English text, Adventures of You paperback edition, Which Way Books, 99¢ edition)
Enik, Ted (revised Choose Your Own Adventure edition)
Farman, John (standalone British hardcover - cover)
1976 (Original hardcover)
March, 1978 (Adventures of You paperback edition)
1980 (1980 German release of original English text)
November, 1986 (revised Choose Your Own Adventure edition)
June, 1995 (1995 German release of original English text)
January, 1999 (1999 German release of original English text)
0491024266 / 9780491024266
(standalone British hardcover)
0553260405 / 9780553260403 (revised Choose Your Own Adventure edition)
0671298844 / 9780671298845 (Adventures of You paperback edition)
0671441892 / 9780671441890 (Which Way Books, 6th printing)
0671473778 / 9780671473778 (Which Way Books, 99¢ edition)
0671561049 / 9780671561048 (standalone Sugarcane Island paperback, third printing)
3473386472 / 9783473386475 (1980 German release of original English text)
3473519480 / 9783473519484 (1995 German release of original English text)
3473521280 / 9783473521289 (1999 German release of original English text)
1980 German release of original English text:
1995 German release of original English text: Ravensburger -- Germany
1999 German release of original English text: Ravensburger -- Germany
Adventures of You paperback edition: Simon & Schuster -- United States
Original hardcover: Vermont Crossroads Press -- United States
revised Choose Your Own Adventure edition: Bantam -- United States
standalone British hardcover: W. H. Allen -- United Kingdom
standalone Sugarcane Island paperback, third printing: Simon & Schuster -- United States
Which Way Books, 6th printing: Simon & Schuster -- United States
Which Way Books, 99¢ edition: Simon & Schuster -- United States
revised Choose Your Own Adventure edition:
PIctured copy is a third printing.
119 pages (Adventures of You paperback edition, standalone Sugarcane Island paperback, third printing, Which Way Books, 6th printing, Which Way Books, 99¢ edition)
118 pages (revised Choose Your Own Adventure edition)
|Number of Endings:||
|User Summary:||Your ship is wrecked by a huge wave and you must find a way to survive on an isolated and dangerous island.|
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 as part of The Adventures of You Series. In 1978, it was reprinted as an Archway paperback, first under the Adventures of You banner and later without it as a stand-alone volume. 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. The revised edition of the book really does show that Edward Packard grew as an author between 1969 and 1986. Vague points have been ironed out, dangers to the protagonist have been made more immediate, and the characters are better defined thanks to a fair amount of dialogue. With or without improvements, 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.
|Enigmatic Synergy's Thoughts:||
This review is for the revised, 10-year, 1986 edition of the book.
This is a so-so book. The fact that it is the first CYOA book ever written makes this title highly desirable. For an extremely early title, the book is fairly decent; however, I believe that it is nowhere near as strong as Packard's later works. A few of the passages even reminded me of something R. A. Montgomery would write, something I do not find myself regularly thinking in terms of Packard's books. Many of the storylines end in similar fashion, with some endings even being almost identical. A number of the endings could have also been a little better--with more variety. With that being said, I believe that this book still stands the test of time, setting the platform for many of the great titles that would soon follow.
Historically I recognize the significance of Sugarcane Island, but as a gamebook it's never found a way to interest me. Being lost on a deserted island just isn't a setting that compels me.
Stylistically, it's easy to tell Sugarcane Island was, as mentioned in the introduction to later editions of the book, one of the first gamebooks ever published. The sentences are short and of primitive construction in comparison to later Choose Your Own Adventure stories, and decisions come at the reader quickly, almost on every page. With thirty-nine endings and only one hundred eighteen pages, many of which are taken up entirely by illustrations, it's difficult to imagine how a long, internally cohesive story could have been written even if the author had been determined to try. It's easy to understand, then, why the action in Sugarcane Island can feel somewhat herky-jerky, with lots of starts and stops and numerous scenarios that feel quite similar to each other but actually follow totally different story paths.
Despite the fact that Edward Packard was clearly still feeling his way as a gamebook author when he penned Sugarcane Island, as an innovative experiment in literary style there's plenty of fun to be had with this book. You are the primary assistant to a renowned scientist coordinating his observations of turtles in the Galápagos Islands when a sudden tidal wave washes you overboard your sea vessel. You were lucky enough to survive the monster wave and the raw kinetic power it unleashed on you, but when you awaken on what appears to be a deserted island, you're not sure what sort of luck your new whereabouts suggests. Are you the only living creature on this island, or is it inhabited by animals? If so, are they animals likely to do you harm if you run up against them in the wild without a weapon? Or could there even be other people living on this island? And if there are, what type of person are you likely to encounter on the shores of an isolated island somewhere near the Galápagos? Could there actually be natives out there in the island jungles who would panic at the sight of a stranger, and try to kill him? Are you better off actively seeking other human inhabitants of your new home, or hiding in the depths of the jungle where no one can find you?
You'll come upon many bizarre scenes on Sugarcane Island. People who might seem obviously untrustworthy could turn out to be the best friends you've ever had, and possessed of the knowledge to save your life and lead you off this island back to your home. Creatures of supernatural wonder and magic might let you down at the drop of a hat, even at cost of your life. Implied contact even with what might be the legendary Cave of Time could turn out to be good or bad, and can certainly lead you around in circles if you let it. Ultimately, though, while trying to do the right thing in any given situation may not immediately guide you back to the welcome embrace of society, leaning in that direction consistently will eventually get you off Sugarcane Island more often than it kills you. Edward Packard tends to reward virtue--and sometimes even a decided lack of it on your part--and I guess that's how life goes, a mix of kindnesses rewarded and a lot of random results tossed in as well. But if you want to make it off Sugarcane Island, your best chance is to do right by others as well as yourself. That mindset won't you lead astray too often.
Sugarcane Island isn't Edward Packard at his scintillating best as a writer, in such gamebook gems as The Cave of Time, Deadwood City, Invaders from Within, Who Are You? and War with the Mutant Spider Ants, but it provides some fun moments along the way. What I like best about the book is how You can fall into seemingly the same situation a number of times, but always be faced with a different set of choices and a different adventure to take. Because of that, Sugarcane Island is probably a good candidate for rereading many times, as the sheer number of choices make it hard to memorize an exact path to success. For anyone who loves gamebooks, and the Choose Your Own Adventure series in particular, reading Sugarcane Island at least once is practically a must.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Alec Fleschner for the pictures of the original hardback edition of the book and to Ben Nelson for the British dustjacket scan.|
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|Users with Extra Copies:||
Known Editions1980 German release of original English text
1995 German release of original English text
1999 German release of original English text
Adventures of You paperback edition
revised Choose Your Own Adventure edition
standalone British hardcover
standalone Sugarcane Island paperback, third printing
Which Way Books, 6th printing
Which Way Books, 99¢ edition
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