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Item - Inside UFO 54-40

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(Early printing)
(Later printing)
(Eleventh printing)
(Eleventh printing)
(Eleventh printing)
(Eleventh printing)
(Promotional preview)
(Promotional preview)

Combined Summary

Series: Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) — no. 12
Contained In: Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set 3 (11-15) (Collection)
Choose Your Own Adventure Space Box Set (Collection)
Translated Into: Cautivo del OVNI 54-40 (Spanish)
Dentro del OVNI 54-40 (Spanish)
Dentro l'UFO 54-40 (Italian)
Ovni 54-40 (Portuguese)
OVNI 54-40 (Catalan)
Pesawat UFO 54-40 (Indonesian)
Tàikōng Fúlǔ [太空俘虜] (Chinese)
Terror fra rummet (Danish)
Ufo'nun tutsakları (Turkish)
UFO54-40 chikyuu kougekisu [UFO54‐40地球攻撃す] (Japanese)
Uma viagem no Ovni 54-40 (Portuguese)
Author: Packard, Edward
Illustrator: Granger, Paul (pseudonym used by Hedin, Don)
Date: February, 1982 (Early printing)
ISBNs: 0553201972 / 9780553201970 (Early printing)
0553231758 / 9780553231755 (Promotional preview)
0553259873 / 9780553259872 (Eleventh printing)
Length: 118 pages
Number of Endings: 30
User Summary: You are kidnapped by the U-TY masters, alien creatures who wish to place you in a zoo.
Aussiesmurf's Thoughts:

As someone that took the 'rules' seriously, I felt robbed by the 'trick' in this book. As other reviewers have noted, the pages describing the planet of Ultima cannot be reached through any of the story paths in the book. The idea being that you just turn to those pages and somehow - you're there!


I've never understood how this is a cute trick. The book-within-a-book shenanigans in Hyperspace? Cute. Saying that the only way to reach the 'best' ending is by effectively cheating and cutting the Gordian Knot? Dumb, dumb, dumb. I was furious at the age of eight, and I'm still steamed about it. Other than that, I found the book mildly entertaining, and some of the bitter-sweet endings were well-thought-out.

More reviews by Aussiesmurf

auximenes's Thoughts:

UFO 54-40 is a lot of fun. There are lots of interesting characters to meet, both human and alien. The book explores many sci-fi themes and concepts such as space travel, alien life, and computer logic. Some of the choices present real moral dilemmas, and the U-TY Masters are formidable antagonists. I really like the idea of the Paradise Planet of Ultima, even though for once, the book actively encourages you to cheat to find it. As a unique concept it makes this adventure stand out. Granger's illustrations work well with the subject matter, my favorite being a nice cut-away drawing/map of the UFO itself at the start of the book. 3 out of 5 stars

More reviews by auximenes

barryattles's Thoughts:

Ratings: 2

Edward Packard is legendary, but by 1982 he'd yet to reach his peak abilities. Space fantasies generally pan out well in the series, yet UFO 54-40's earthling-abducted-by-alien storyline is just all-too-familiar. It's like thrusting 100 UFO stereotype storybooks into one piece, albeit with 30 endings. The lack of creativity, as well as a clear and challenging objective, makes entry no. 12 average at best.

More reviews by barryattles

canadiandude007's Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book as a kid but did struggle to find Ultima until I realised there was no possible way to get there by choice but by a cheat (turning to the correct page). It was disappointing in that respect, but the choices and the prompting of imagination were very good!

More reviews by canadiandude007

Demian's 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....

More reviews by Demian

DukeNukem 2417's Thoughts:

My brother and I had an opportunity to read this once during the 90s, courtesy of our local library. It's an awesome gamebook; of course, the real draw is the fact that you basically have to cheat to find Ultima (my brother found it by flipping through the entire book until he reached the two-page spread with the picture). A solid read, and definitely worth a look.

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gergsnickle's Thoughts:

Though I was excited when this book was first released, it was not a favorite of mine at the time. However, upon re-reading the book, and particularly on exploring choices that I never remember making back then, I am surprised by what a strong Choose Your Own Adventure book this is. Looking back, it seems that 1982 was the year that the series really came into its own, and - for me at least - the entries from that year (numbers 12-16) are among the strongest in the series.

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Good's Thoughts:

29 normal ends, 1 cheat. Ugh.
But that don't matter none! 10/10. Best Space Travel book ever!
5 aliens
4 (I think) humans
And 3 or more escapes
Space is weird (of course) but this is one I'll come back to for sure.
Space Travelers, I HIGHLY recommend this book!
Oh--the cheat. Page 101 starts on Ultima--if you care. Besides, it's an ending. Very minor disappointment. Can not make choices to get here.

More reviews by Good

Guillermo's Thoughts:

(Review based on the Spanish (Timun Mas) translation.)

Inside UFO 54-40 is one of the greatest gamebooks ever written. This is a science-fiction game where the science-fiction part is taken quite seriously, unlike the vast majority of gamebooks. Every choice in the book is meant to illustrate a specific philosophical point, and the end result is much more solid and satisfying than the New Age elucubrations of an R. A. Montgomery, for example. This means of course that readers expecting pure entertainment - such as several reviewers on this page - will be left disappointed; all I can respond is that they are seriously undervaluing the book (they will probably enjoy Cosmic Kidnappers in the Alien Adventures series, which is quite fun but much shallower). The "hidden ending" apparently irritated a few readers, but I found it to be a cool idea that was taken even further by Kim Newman in Life's Lottery. Finally, the book includes an innovative game mechanism in which the reader has to blank his or her mind in order to make good their escape; this is much more interesting than the "are you reading this book on a Thursday?" thing that readers of other gamebooks have had to suffer through. Overall, this is a book you absolutely have to experience if you want to call yourself a CYOA fan.

More reviews by Guillermo

stevesterling's Thoughts:

This addition to the CYOA line was always interesting to read, and I still open it from time to time. Though the idea of Ultima was not one I could see myself actually caring about, even if I was on an alien space ship, the rest of the story was pretty unique and kept my interest.

More reviews by stevesterling

Stockton's Thoughts:

This book didn't really connect with me for whatever reason - I didn't like it. It just seemed... odd, not in a good or funny way like other CYOAs, but in a way that just left a bad vibe, so to speak, after reading it. That's more a personal taste thing than a judgement of the book's objective quality, though.

Maybe it was the illustrations by Paul Granger (Don Hedin), which seemed excessively dated and cartoonish - almost reminiscent of 1960s cartoon style and quite unlike those in later CYOAs. The writing style was also a little different, probably because this was an early book, but not in a way that I liked, either.

More reviews by Stockton

Special Thanks:Thanks to ntar for the promotional copy back cover and ad scans.
Users Who Own This Item: AgathaRaisin79, aline, Andys80s (Also have promotional ), Ardennes, auximenes, barryattles, bigcobra, bobthefunny, bookwormjeff (English & Spanish), BuraddoRun, Chanticrow, Crazyscotsman, crispybacon, CSquared, Cyan, Darth Rabbitt, dave2002a, dblizzard72, Dirk Omnivore, drereichdude, duckhugger, Ed, edwebb, Erikwinslow, exaquint (1st, 4th, 6th, 8th), Ffghtermedic, firefoxpdm, fraze, fushek, Game Master, Gamebook, Garrick Muttley, gergsnickle, girtablilu, Grifter, Gurvo, hadlee73, Himynameistony, hoops4ever, horrorbusiness, Hugues, jdreller, jeff3333, jharvey79, Jordashebasics, JoshW, Jubal, katzcollection (regular and promotional copies), KenJenningsJeopardy74, killagarilla, kinderstef, KJB, kleme (Original (Paper & PDF)), knginatl (orig. w/balloon, orig. w/o balloon, "book club", promo, Spanish), MacbthPSW, marcfonline, marnaudo, mattender, mcd, mlvoss, nelsondesign, NEMO (8th printing,no cover), newt3425, nicolau (Spanish ed. Timun Mas), Nomad, nordik (UFO 54-40), ntar (original and teachers issue), Oberonbombadil (Original US 6th print), outspaced, Pessimeister, plowboy, Pseudo_Intellectual, Radical347, redpiper05, resurgens, rolipo26, RonaldFrobnitz, Ronie1976, rtaylor352, Ryuran333, SeventhSon, SherlockHolmes, skeleton (bad condition), spragmatic, StagQuests (1st Cover $1.75), stevesterling, stock, Stockton, strawberry_brite, SuperAM2, ThaRid, theyodaman (original 8th printing), ThisIslandEarth, toadhjo, twar, waktool (US 1st; US 2nd; US 6th; US 8th; US 11th), Yalius, YourSoundtrack, yunakitty, zat
Users Who Want This Item: benji2, exaquint (book club, teacher gift, no price w/balloon), Gartax, janh, jeremydouglass, Lambchop, Lullyph, MasterChief, Mr ?, NEMO (Promo), Nym90, odo_ital, The Mystery Squad fan, Von Scotty, Waluigi Freak 99
Users with Extra Copies: bigcobra
bookwormjeff - Spanish
exaquint - 6th
Grifter - 2
ntar - three
theyodaman - original 1982 printing (some pencil marks on illustrations)

Known Editions

Early printing
Later printing
Eleventh printing
Promotional preview

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Advertisement from the promotional teacher's copy of Inside UFO 54-40.