Demian's Gamebook Web Page

Item - Runaway Spaceship


Series: Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 30
Translated Into: L'astronef à la dérive (French)
Viaje espacial (Spanish)
Viatge espacial (Catalan)
Author: Saunders, Susan
Illustrators: Enik, Ted (interior)
Jones, Randy (cover)
Date: September, 1985
ISBNs: 0553153447 / 9780553153446
055315463X / 9780553154634
Length: 54 pages
Number of Endings: 8
User Summary: Thanks to your cousin Sally you get trapped in a spaceship headed towards Mars.
Demian's Thoughts:

This book is considerably more difficult than most of the other books in this series; there's only really one ending that could be considered "happy."

More reviews by Demian

KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts:

What would you do if a space capsule accidentally blasted off with you aboard? Runaway Spaceship places you in that scenario to find out if you'd have what it takes to survive. While you're staying with your cousin Sally in Florida, her father—an engineer at Cape Canaveral—takes you both on a tour of the space center. When your uncle excuses himself to answer a phone call, Sally crawls into a spaceship for a look around. The only living things aboard are a pair of goldfish in a bowl, and two miniature beds that indicate the ship is meant to be crewed by chimps, not humans. Unfortunately, Sally has a problem keeping her hands to herself. As she carelessly connects some loose wires, the ship's booster rockets engage, and a sign you glimpse outside the porthole confirms you are headed for Mars. Will you survive Sally's cosmic blunder?

Shutting down the rockets before you get off the ground seems smart, but if you try, you black out and awake on a doughnut-shaped ship hovering over an ocean. What you observe indicates you've been abducted by aliens. You and Sally could evacuate through the nearest hatch, but are you still on Earth? Even if you are, will you give up this chance to explore an alien vessel and perhaps meet an extraterrestrial? The ship contains a variety of fishlike aliens, some more threatening than others. One kind speaks your language, and came to Earth seeking a new planet and to punish humans for keeping fish as pets. Another kind of alien is more primitive, with teeth sharp as daggers and an appetite to match. If you locate the ship you blasted off in, it's now miniaturized so it fits in your hand. Can you find an enlarger device and restore the ship to normal size? Experimenting with alien technology is risky, but it might be your only chance.

If you let the spaceship depart for Mars rather than trying to shut down the rockets prior to blastoff, you never encounter the alien vessel. Floating in the profound silence of space with Sally is unnerving, but the sight of an old space station gives you hope. Can you steer the ship there and wait for an astronaut to retrieve you? You might be better off hoping the ship's circuit to Mars is automated, meaning you'll return to Earth unharmed in a year or two as long as you don't do anything rash. Space travel is surprisingly boring as the months stretch on with nothing to do, and your only food is bananas intended for chimps. Enduring years of this en route to Mars and back seems intolerable; could you expedite your return by hitching a ride to Earth on a comet's tail? Completing the voyage to Mars may be your ticket to fame, as the first humans to set foot on the red planet. Your doom seemed certain the moment the ship blasted off without permission, but can you turn your unauthorized expedition into mankind's biggest triumph?

Runaway Spaceship takes a lot of liberties with the logistics of space travel, more than it probably should. This fosters a silly rather than suspenseful atmosphere, muting any narrative urgency. I'd have preferred a more evocative, exciting read. The involvement of the fishlike aliens isn't fully explained, either. I generally like Susan Saunders's work, and Runaway Spaceship isn't bad for the bits and pieces of fun it offers. This might be your one opportunity to pilot a rogue ship through the solar system.

More reviews by KenJenningsJeopardy74

Users Who Own This Item: Ardennes, Gartax, jharvey79, katzcollection, KenJenningsJeopardy74, kinderstef, knginatl (red), newt3425, novelist1982, resurgens, RonaldFrobnitz, strawberry_brite, ThaRid, waktool (Original, 1st printing (red, $1.95)), Yalius
Users Who Want This Item: exaquint, Ffghtermedic, horrorbusiness, NEMO, Nomad, ntar, Pseudo_Intellectual

Please log in to manage your collection or post a review.