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Item - The Antimatter Universe

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Series: Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) — no. 147
Translated Into: A través de la puerta electrónica (Spanish)
Author: Mueller, Kate
Illustrators: Huerta, Catherine (cover)
Brigman, June (interior)
Date: 1994
Number of Endings: 13
User Summary: You are a young science enthusiast who has been invited to collaborate with a renowned scientist who studies antimatter. The scientist has developed a portal that allows travel between our own universe and a parallel universe which is a mirror image of it. The adventure begins with both of you preparing to test this device.
drereichdude's Thoughts:

I did not like this book. The writing style was boring and uninteresting, and the premise of the USA and the former USSR combining to rule the world may seem like a good idea on paper, but of course, it would never actually happen in the basis of reality.

On that note, I'm reminded of a Homer Simpson quote: "In theory, Communism works. In theory!"

The other reviewer was correct in identifying the plot of this book as being one of the worst CYOA cliches. I totally agree!

Also, I wonder what the author, Kate Mueller, is doing these days, and if she ever wrote anything else. She sure did not do a good job with this book!

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Guillermo's Thoughts:

(Review based on the Spanish translation.)

Count me in as another big fan of this book. More than a quarter of a century after its release, the science is definitely a bit dated (some scientists have recently concluded that the antimatter universe, if it indeed exists, does not necessarily have to be a mirror image of our own, for example). However, the dystopian alternate universe setting is extremely detailed and well-designed for a CYOA book (certainly more than anything I've seen created by R. A. Montgomery, and I doubt even Edward Packard would have done it better). As seems to have been typical of books released at this point in the series, the stretches of text are longer than those of earlier entries. This doesn't make the book tedious or prevent it from consisting mostly of satisfying storylines, however. The choices are quite challenging, and despite the fact that there are only a couple or so optimal endings, the book's possibilities were interesting enough to motivate me to read through all the paths. My only complaint is that the time travel storyline could have been much more developed - as it stands, the book feels as if Mueller simply ran out of space. Nonetheless, this is one of my favourite CYOA books. Given her potential, it's unfortunate the author only appears to have written two gamebooks.

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Jordashebasics's Thoughts:

I came out of this book feeling uncertain about how it worked. There are some fun elements, there are some cliche bits that result in eye rolls. But there is little out-and-out silliness. At least one ending has a Montgomery-esque utopian feel.

There's one thing that bugs me though. If you see your antimatter self in person, you both explode (or something). But if you see each other via video, that's fine. Is it a proximity thing? If that's the case, wouldn't being on opposite sides of a wall be enough to trigger? It seems like the most appropriate solution would be if the counterparts touched, rather than just saw each other in person.

Also of note - "you" are clearly defined as male in this text. I think the inclusion of your counterpart made this necessary from a writing standpoint.

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KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts:

There are a couple of things that I quickly noticed about this book. First, its pages contain much more text than average for the Choose Your Own Adventure series. Kate Mueller has constructed a story of significant scientific and mathematical complexity, and without the extra writing in the book, explaining the plot in full would be nearly impossible.

The second thing that I noticed is the number of choices in the book that depend on pure luck, oftentimes predicated upon whether or not you'll decide to trust a particular person when you have little or no way of knowing if he or she should be trusted. I guess that this is a lot like real life, though, where ethical dilemmas such as the ones set up in this book are never clear-cut and heavily depend on your ability to discern the greater good.

The Antimatter Universe begins with you acting as assistant to the brilliant theoretical scientist Dr. Eisenbaum, who has spent years trying to figure out a way to cross over into the antimatter world that corresponds to your own. Dr. Eisenbaum has finally hit paydirt and is now ready to try his experiment on a living human being. That human being is you!

The scenarios that you face in the antimatter universe differ vastly, but the majority of the book deals with your finding the antimatter Dr. Eisenbaum, who has used his mental prowess for evil and now spearheads the efforts of scientific improvement on behalf of the tyrannical government of the antimatter world that wants to rule all people by force and intimidation. You must disrupt this government's ability to take over your own world and universe, or the life of freedom that you know and crave will be lost forever.

Along the way you encounter multiple underground resistance groups dedicated to overthrowing the despotic regime of the antimatter world. These groups often conflict in their methodology, which adds additional peril to your already dangerous situation. What's worse, not only is the evil antimatter Dr. Eisenbaum and the government he works for trying to locate and capture you, your antimatter self is also deeply involved in the interworld experimentations that have been happening, and if you meet up with him in the flesh... you both will be instantly annihilated.

This book has some very good moments, as well as more than a few choices that will really make a person think hard and wonder what the right decision might be. In general, I appreciate the book as an interesting technological exploration of the adventure possibilities inherent in the plot, and I thought that author Kate Mueller did a pretty good job of executing the idea.

More reviews by KenJenningsJeopardy74

Stockton's Thoughts:

The story here is the quintessential example of one of the series' worst clichés: parallel universes and crossing between them, particularly ones that are diametrically opposed to each other. The reader's universe is the world as we know it, but the "antimatter" one has followed a path where the USA and the USSR decided to join together and rule the whole world. Although they're not exactly inspired by any means, the descriptions and characterizations in this book are definitely above average.

Although I normally don't have much patience for pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo, it actually didn't detract too much from this book. There is one odd scene where you participate in a cult-like ritual, but it's relatively minor. Some of the choices are actually logical and story consistency is fairly good. This is definitely one of the better science fiction CYOAs.

More reviews by Stockton

Special Thanks:Thanks to Stockton for the cover scan.
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stevesterling - This copy is in very good condition.

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