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Item - Gestrandet

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Series: 1000 Gefahren — no. 20
Translated From: Stranded! (English)
Illustrator: Horstmeyer, Stefan (pseudonym used by Rogge, Stefan)
Translator: Wiemken, Simone
Date: January, 2000
ISBN: 3473348104 / 9783473348107
Florik's Thoughts:

Gestrandet is the German translation of the ultra-short children's gamebook Stranded by Sara Compton. How short is ultra-short? I'll give you figures: While there are 24 sections to "turn to," a mere eight of them are nodes, i. e. sections that actually give the reader a choice. Moreover, the choices are always binary, with exactly two options. You will encounter three to five of these nodes in a single playthrough, reaching one out of eight endings.

The German edition Gestrandet, published by Otto Maier Verlag Ravensburg, is stretched to the length of a children's book by no less than 25 full-colour illustrations by Stefan Rogge. The bright watercolours stand out: some are childish, a few even bizarre. In one instance, illustrating a paragraph in which the protagonist happens to encounter a canoe as well as a banana bush, the artist chose to make both these items the same size, resulting in a surreal depiction of two boats afloat in the ocean: one made of wood, the other a banana! Similarly astonishing (but not as convincing) are several close-ups of the face of the blonde young female protagonist and one of the eye of a Gorilla in what must be natural size.

You'll be able to read all about the story on the page for the original book. Let me just remark that the author invokes a deus ex machina to get the plot started: The protagonist is swept off a cruise liner by a huge wave, without anyone noticing, and gets stranded on a tropical island. After that, the scenery is agreeably consistent: A crate encountered near the start, for example, will always have the same contents, no matter if or when you look into it.

What I find amusing is how hard the author strives to avoid describing the grisly endings implied by the chosen location. I don't read many children's books these days, but dying alone on a tropical island is probably not a common subject ... In linear fiction, the author could always pull off a happy ending. However, as an interactive story, this book needed a few more or less bad endings to make the reader's choices relevant.

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