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Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998)
Choose Your Own Adventure (2005-) — no. 3
Choose Your Own Adventure Reissues (Australian Versions) — no. 3
Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set (1-6) (Collection)
Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set 1 (1-4) (Collection)
Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set 1 (1-5) (Collection)
Choose Your Own Adventure Epic Collection (Collection)
Choose Your Own Adventure Reissues Box Set (1-5) (Collection)
Angkasa lepas dan ruang selepasnya (Malay)
Aventures dans l'espace (French)
Dai uchuu no boken [大宇宙の冒険] (Japanese)
El espacio y más allá (Spanish)
Ezpazioaz harantzago (Basque)
Hasta el infinito y más allá (Spanish)
Jornada além do espaço (Portuguese)
Khala se age Safar (Urdu)
Más allá del espacio (Spanish)
Matka avaruudessa (Finnish)
Més enllà de l'espai (Catalan)
Oltre lo spazio (Italian)
Penjelajah antariksa (Indonesian)
De ruimte in (Dutch)
Viaje por las galaxias (Spanish)
Xīngkōng Zhēngbàzhàn [星空爭霸戰] (Chinese)
Montgomery, R. A.
(pseudonym used by Hedin, Don)
(Original version, twelfth printing; Original version, revised cover edition; Original version, Grey Castle Press hardcover; Original version, early printing; Original version, school edition; Original version, unknown printing; Original version, first printing; Original version, third printing)
Mattingly, David B. (Original version, revised cover edition - cover)
McBride, Marc (Australian edition - cover)
Sundaravej, Sittisan (ChooseCo reissue edition - cover; ChooseCo reissue edition, seventh printing - cover)
Pornkerd, Vorrarit (ChooseCo reissue edition; Australian edition; ChooseCo reissue edition, seventh printing)
Yaweera, Sasiprapa (ChooseCo reissue edition; Australian edition; ChooseCo reissue edition, seventh printing)
Donploypetch, Jintanan (ChooseCo reissue edition; Australian edition; ChooseCo reissue edition, seventh printing)
January, 1980 (Original version, first printing)
April, 1980 (Original version, third printing)
August, 1982 (Original version, twelfth printing)
September, 1987 (Original version, Grey Castle Press hardcover)
2005 (ChooseCo reissue edition - reissue)
July 1, 2006 (Australian edition)
0553128175 / 9780553128178
(Original version, third printing)
0553140000 / 9780553140002 (Original version, early printing)
0553208918 / 9780553208917 (Original version, unknown printing)
0553231804 / 9780553231809 (Original version, twelfth printing, Original version, school edition)
0553274538 / 9780553274530 (Original version, revised cover edition)
0942545117 / 9780942545111 (Original version, Grey Castle Press hardcover)
0942545168 / 9780942545166 (Original version, Grey Castle Press hardcover)
1865049247 / 9781865049243 (Australian edition)
1933390034 / 9781933390031 (ChooseCo reissue edition, ChooseCo reissue edition, seventh printing)
Original version, Grey Castle Press hardcover:
Grey Castle Press
117 pages (Original version, first printing, Original version, third printing, Original version, early printing, Original version, unknown printing, Original version, twelfth printing, Original version, school edition, Original version, revised cover edition, Original version, Grey Castle Press hardcover)
131 pages (ChooseCo reissue edition, ChooseCo reissue edition, seventh printing)
|Number of Endings:||
44 (Original version, first printing, Original version, unknown printing, Original version, twelfth printing, Original version, school edition, Original version, Grey Castle Press hardcover)
44 (incorrectly listed as 40 on cover) (Original version, third printing, Original version, early printing)
44 (listed as 40 on some early editions) (Original version, revised cover edition)
42 (ChooseCo reissue edition, ChooseCo reissue edition, seventh printing, Australian edition)
|LC Cataloging in Publication Summary:||The reader's decisions control a series of adventures in outer space, beginning on a spaceship traveling between galaxies.|
|User Summary:||You are born on a spaceship to parents from two different planets and must choose one of two possible homeworlds. Various adventures occur on the way to (or on) the homeworld you decide to visit.|
I loved Space and Beyond as a kid, and it happened to be my first Choose Your Own Adventure book. I loved it back then and read each ending multiple times to make sure I had read everything. Now, I have reread it once and did not like it. This is bad, because everything is an adventure that sidetracks the reader away from their goal of traveling to either Zermacroyd, or Phonon, and I normally get a good ending first try on these books, as I know based off of the choices which one will probably end up going better for me. Overall I would give it a 6/10, as I would not be into CYOAs if I hadn’t read this book.
Believe it or not, R. A. Montgomery at his best brings the most out of the CYOA concept. With the right plot, his eccentricity and preachy writing style could work wonders and fit seamlessly with what a "choice book" is meant to be.
Sadly, this style is make-or-break, and Space and Beyond (despite being reprinted 4727 times) is surely not one of his better books. This fantasy entry carries no plot, weaves you from planet to planet and would never cease to confuse readers. R. A., though, would make it up with one of his fantasy masterpiece (some say otherwise) in #143, Project UFO.
I found the 2005 reissue in a thrift store today for a whopping sixty cents. For that kind of piddling small change, I thought it'd be worth it to see if it was truly as bad as I remembered it being in 1982, when I last read it.
Well I am sorry to report, gentle reader, that it was. Oy vey was it. Afterwards I was mad that I actually paid sixty cents for this. I could have bought a whole can of Coke for sixty cents! And it would have only given me gas for perhaps fifteen, twenty minutes... tops!
The stupefyingly silly choices, quests, and plots (though I fear I am insulting the word "plot" by using it in such a fashion) could have been tolerable -- heck, even never getting to either planet could have been tolerable -- had it not been for the noxious reek of the thoroughly white-bread preachiness dripping like bleached pus from its pages. And that's saying something coming from me, as I am of the opinion that telling kids to be nice to each other is a Very Good Thing.
In short, avoid like bubonic plague carrying squirrels.
(Special gripe with the reissue only: the sections have not been mixed up at all. This means if you didn't like the ending you just read, you can read on to the next page to see the results of your other choice -- and the results of both of the choices are themselves after the section containing the results of the choices offered in the section previous to the section where you just chose from. (I apologize for that butchery of English.) This drives me nuts, as it is the way I used to write my own Choose-Your-Own-Adventures in longhand... when I was nine. With the advent of computer layout and word processing, this kind of design laziness is inexcusable. Unless, of course, it was a conscious decision on the part of Mr. Montgomery, in which case I hope he hears the sound of my head scratching at him.)
(Special reissue factoid: The book now sports 42 possible endings, meaning this is the third time Montgomery has taken a weed whacker to it... and yet this tome of horrors still sucks the pipe.)
This is a very strange book. It contains a lot of bizarre abstraction and pseudo-philosophical gibberish. It's definitely not one of the stronger books in the series.
For me the problem with this book is that it is one extreme of the types of stories you can have in CYOA, in terms of character motive and story possibilities. In this case, I'd call it shallow and overly broad. The character motive and background is so abstract and so suddenly introduced to the reader (over perhaps just two pages) that I found it hard to relate to the character or determine their goal in the story. As the user summary suggests, you're born on a spaceship and have to choose from two different homeworlds (also in different galaxies in my 2005 version). Try to digest that in 2 pages, then decide where to go (and by the way, what's your purpose?) Then the options vary so widely and insanely (join a space circus, join a space academy, become a disembodied consciousness perhaps?) that you wonder what ending your character should or shouldn't feel happy with.
There sure are a lot of members saying this book stinks, but the truth is every single one of them is right. This isn't a Choose Your Own Adventure book, it's a rambling mess of confusing words that never comes close to having a story and often doesn't even make a lick of sense. This book fails in every possible way. Avoid at all costs.
Space is always strange, but this is the second most strange. First off, do not choose Croyd. It takes too long to get to the two-way choice that leads to more adventure. And also: You CANNOT land on Croyd. The big accomplish is Kenda. It's more imaginative. You can cure Axle of its strange disease, meet an object--not UFO, and, yes. YOU CAN LAND ON KENDA! 7/10!
(Review based on the Spanish (Timun Mas) translation.)
This sci-fi gamebook begins with the choice to journey to either your father or your mother's home planet. There is probably some hidden psychoanalytic message hidden in the choice, but whatever it is, I'm not sure I figured it out. The actual book pays little to no attention to the goal it gives the reader at the beginning and instead embarks him or her on a quest for enlightenment riddled with pacifist, communitarian, and environmentalist messages given out with no subtlety whatsoever. This can be somewhat interesting for a grown reader but can bore the hell out of a child (and I can definitely see why). For what it's worth, reader decisions seem to matter a bit more than is the case in The Abominable Snowman, but there are also chunks that feel as random, pointless, and boring as The Lost Jewels of Nabooti. There are parts in which Montgomery seems to be trying to use the decision-making to convey deep philosophical science-fiction ideas, but he never approaches the level of genius shown in Edward Packard's Inside UFO 54-40. Overall, this book only has curiosity value at best.
I may be the only person in the entire world who unabashedly loves this book.
I love it for the reasons that so many others dislike it: it's WEIRD AND DISJOINTED.
The paths of the branching story have little to do with each other, and this makes each path feel like its own little bizarro hippy metaphysical jaunt. I actually enjoy that about it.
What a psychedelic book. A planet full of people curing their pandemic with moonbeams. An alien spaceship which itself is a multicellular alien organism. A star circus. A parodic journey to Earth itself.
Many have criticized the lack of characterization of the protagonist (you). This, again, is something I really like - the protagonist is a blank slate. Makes it easier for me to get into the "role." A lot of RPG console/computer games in the 1990s used the same trick - like the famously mute hero in Chrono Trigger, etc.
I loved this book as a kid, I loved it as a young adult, and now I love it in middle age. The illustrations by the delightful Don Hedin / Paul Granger are delightful as well.
I understand why others dislike it, but I treasure it.
(Note: I'm not familiar with the reprint; only the original version)
I re-read this with my wife recently, since I wanted her to get a taste of what the weird end of the CYOA spectrum was like.
The big complaint - you never get to the fireworks factory. There's no path where you achieve that goal.
That's what the whole book is like. Montgomery creates choices out of nowhere, and uses them only to create branches, but not to actually give you a choice. In fact, there are two instances where you make a choice, and the next page says something to the effect of "you'd like to do that, but then you change your mind."
As bad as this book is, it's actually pretty educational. It provides a clear example of the direction that this book series could have taken, as well as the possibilities that Montgomery thought the format had.
One thing that really bothered me this time was a writing tic. There are a lot of passages like this:
"Would you like to go up on the rocket?" This is the commander speaking.
"All knowledge from past lives is held in your cells." This is the philosopher talking.
Really, really annoying.
I must say that there has always been something about the quirky humor and vast sea of choices in this book that really appeals to me. The stories are all quite strange, and sometimes the endings are so stunningly abrupt as to make one wonder what went wrong, but the gestalt of the adventure somehow adds up to a book that I quite like. I find myself reading this book as often as I re-read any of the others in the series. The funny parts have a definite range in quality, but at its best, this book is as hilarious as any other CYOA entry.
This was one of the few early ones (ie pre #20) that I did not manage to read because I could not find a copy of it back in the early 80s; I lived in a very small town. I discovered Which Way books first in late 1982, then quickly started devouring CYOA's. My first CYOA was in fact The Race Forever, which I still think is a fine entry in the series and one of R. A.'s best. After foolishly selling my fairly large childhood collection of gamebooks about 12 years ago, I've been collecting CYOA's again and I'm on a quest of reading or re-reading the entire series.
You may be wondering why the preamble? The reason is, if this had been the first CYOA that I had read, even at age 8, I surely would have shunned gamebooks for the rest of my life. In fact I can picture myself potentially in tears. Such condescending, preachy text. I felt scolded throughout a lot of it, and some of the endings just made no sense at all. It felt more like Filler just to get an ending churned out. It made me wonder, was R. A. in a really bad mood or funk while writing this? Did he have some moment of clarity/terror and he realized he may be writing children's fiction for the rest of his life, so eff it?
I have the 2005 reissue, and despite some apparent revisions (mostly in names) and new illustrations by V. Pornkerd, S. Yaweeea and J. Donploypetch (it seems Montgomery has outsourced some of his illustrators to Thailand; see: http://www.cyoa.com/art_06_thavat.htm) it is still the same confusing plotless ramblings it was when it was first issued twenty-seven years ago. It seems that some things never change.
#4 - Space and BeyonD
The story's title is not an amateurish attempt to act younger than my 31 years and type the trendy way. It is my means of emphasizing what a weird mess R.A. Montgomery offering is, and the grade he gets accordingly. Let me sum up the 40+ endings in a nutshell. You never get to your dad's planet (Phonon) or your mom's planet (Zermacroyd). You basically bounce around from planet to planet as our good friend Raymond preaches hard and heavy as he is wont to do. And while I normally like Paul Granger's artwork, I didn't quite like his art for the main character. He looked like 1970's Elvis in a spacesuit. Only thing missing is a TV set for him to fire his laser gun at.
Absolutely horrendous to the highest degree, it is perhaps not an exaggeration to say that Space and Beyond is THE worst of the worst. Even having obtained a special sort of "esteem"-esque reputation among the (generally very poorly written) Choose Your Own Adventure books, the sheer scope of the work's illegitimacy is unbelievably disastrous. While the CYOA entries are seldom remembered for their literary merits - rather, most authors lent themselves to edgy trendiness, trope-laden quick fixes and bizarre logistics that often subverted what the book should have actually done - R.A. Montgomery indeed soared to new heights in proving that quality should always be held over quantity. From the incomprehensible fluffiness of the "stylistic" approach to the idiotic cynicism of the tone itself, the book's elements are threadbare plot devices (more on that later!); as this expands to everything very obviously and quickly, including all the characters, atmospheric "moments", thematic undercurrents and "plot developments", it can be all too easy to give up even before making a choice out of sheer frustration. But it's only just beginning - er... that is to say, just beginning to go NOWHERE. (...On that note, wouldn't you agree that books should only be written which aspire to something, gamebooks included?)
Before I go on, it would perhaps first be best to mention that anyone who has a love for literature should not subject him or herself to this sacrilegiousness. Yet in committing not to quit - at least before achieving at least one ending - one will see firsthand just how profane and grotesquely disgusting this book can manage to be. (And yeah, the CYOA books really aren't for children - ANY of them.) I'll spare you details about Montgomery's conclusive philosophy of incoherence, just as I pray no one ever even tries making a book like this again. Space and Beyond is life-sucking, gut-wrenching nonsense treated as a series of legitimate storytelling pathways, taking out any and all fun, imagination or hopefulness (let alone emotional attachment) while simultaneously preaching, objectifying, grossing out, and then just acting plain immoral to the fullest extent possible. And yet - hear me out - all this is carried out with a boring drawl and passionless narrative. Even if a surreal effect was a goal, the laziness and lifelessness kills it. Time. And. Time. Again.
There are no good endings. No right-feeling ones, no hopeful paths; not even a sense that you, the reader, actually have any control over your life (even outside of the work). I wouldn't be surprised if Montgomery is a nihilistic determinist (... ... ...yep, you heard me right (and no, those people shoudn't be writing stories for children, despite the fact that the market's flooded with them today)). It's ironic that the "adventure" acts on its own with an air of self-assured smugness... as in, 'ever feel stuck on a path? Well, get used to it, I don't want to listen.' I can't praise the illustrations, nor can I praise originality; where the Zermacroyd route begins, the absolute patheticness is amplified even further (though it's less long and boring, despite it's depressiveness). It's actually remarkably difficult to praise any aspect of the book - and I'm an optimist. So... at least it ends quickly on the route, yay?
The 1970s and 1980s were an oddly wonderful golden age of literature (and especially fantasy, for that matter, which only remained continuously blossoming in Japan as time passed). Creative, intelligent, emotional works of art were made left and right. It's a very underrated time where true gems could thrive and become cult classics. This, on the other hand, is EVERYTHING WRONG with both gamebooks and trope-heavy writing all in one. Arguably standing as one of the WORST books of ALL TIME, Space and Beyond fails on nearly all levels - and what's more, it revels in it's own incompetence with a mean spirit and no actual meaning. Anywhere. Having discovered this book (and many other CYOAs at my local library as a child (...not saying when...), it unfortunately stood out to me the most as a super memorably bad icon for the series - one that never impressed me or lived up to its endless potential. As an award-winning fantasy writer myself, I still consider the series one of the biggest 'misses' (as in, let downs) of all time. Thankfully, it wasn't detrimental to my love for life or reading, in the end, though anyone who has ever read this would probably agree it will dissuade you for a good while. Even so, the only plus is that it's memorably bad (yet still not in a good way).
I do not write this admittedly cold, articulate and scathing review lightly. I write it for the sake of those souls in need of a helpful inner look at this book, curious and on the fence in search of a good story when such works are so few and far in between. To those, I beg of you: avoid this at all costs. ^^
(Mysteriously disappears into the shadows.)
All previous criticisms of this book are 150% true. What I personally find most irksome about it is the disjointed, shoddy way it loops back into itself. It makes the randomness that much more random when you're suddenly dumped back at the beginning of the book for no obvious reason. "Sorry!" the book sneers, "back to start for you!"
If Project UFO is CYOA's Showgirls, then Space and Beyond is the series' Freddy Got Fingered. To shamelessly steal a line from Roger Ebert, the day may come when Space and Beyond is seen as a milestone of neo-surrealism. The day may never come when it is seen as a good gamebook.
First of all, I thought this book was rather pointless. The idea (you are born with dual citizenship and have to choose your home planet) is a very good one. It gives you a distinct mission which you aim to complete -- or at least, it seems that way once you start reading. Unfortunately, the mission is impossible! There is NO WAY you can get to either Phonon or Zermacroyd, no matter now hard you try.
Also, if you choose Zermacroyd, your mother gives you a special item and suggests rather explicity that this may help you later. Surprisingly, the item is never mentioned again, no matter what you do. I think what happened with this one is the author wrote it from scratch, making it up as he went along, rather than mapping it out in his head beforehand. There really isn't anything wrong with this way of writing, but you have to be careful -- and I don't think the author was careful! There are a number of cases where plot paths converge and make the adventure somewhat jarring, such as from page 67 to page 2. There are also quite a few continuity errors (such as where you decide to go to an Earthlike planet, but the book later refers to the planet as Earth).
Really, the only thing interesting about this book are the object-life forms (which are quite strange) and the fact that this book uses the phrase "gleeb fogo," an alien buzzword also used in the previous book (even though that had a different author!)
|Waluigi Freak 99's Thoughts:||
I really didn't like this book. For one thing, it was too difficult of a challenge for me to determine what was going on in some places, and I gave up in frustration. There's plenty of "tap into your inner knowledge" speeches everywhere, which I really didn't care for, because they weren't conveyed very well at all and were pretty pointless and out-of-place in the story.
Some annoying aspects of the book: For one thing, there's no way to complete your mission at all. This gimmick works well in Inside UFO 54-40, here it doesn't. There's one part of the book which asks you to choose to get revenge on a group of aliens or leave. If you choose to get revenge, the book tells you, basically, "You want to get revenge, but soon forget about it and leave." Very annoying! It's obvious that the author didn't plan this book out too well.
Probably the only saving grace in this book involves the trip to earth and the humorous take on human food, behavior, and occupations. But it ultimately can't save the entire book, which, unfortunately, flopped.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Ken G. for the Australian cover scans.|
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|Users with Extra Copies:||
breity - 2005 Reissue -- the back lower corner is a bit scrunched
Demian - 7th reissue printing
exaquint - text spine
kinderstef - x 2
ntar - three
theyodaman - CYOA 12th printing
Known EditionsOriginal version, first printing
Original version, third printing
Original version, early printing
Original version, unknown printing
Original version, twelfth printing
Original version, school edition
Original version, revised cover edition
Original version, Grey Castle Press hardcover
ChooseCo reissue edition
ChooseCo reissue edition, seventh printing