Friday, January 16, 2015

Choose Your Own Adventure #14: The Forbidden Castle

I've been mostly doing Twist-a-Plot books lately, which is obviously not a positive trend that should continue. However, my inability to get my hands on Choose Your Own Adventure #13, next up in the semi-sequential order I've been doing these ($50 for badly damaged R.A. Montgomery drivel...pass) has slowed my progress a bit. I've finally decided to just skip it and jump ahead to today's subject, the sequel to Cave of Time. Yes kids, that sort of laziness is nothing new. There's probably a hip new By Balloon to the Sahara re-imagining/reboot coming soon, complete with an actual real person for an author.

Compounding the inherent laziness of a totally unnecessary sequel, this one is only going to be set in one time period and location, medieval England as imagined by a lazy American. I guess it could be argued that this more narrow focus might present a tighter narrative, but in reality I'm fully expecting a historical setting that was "researched" by watching an Errol Flynn movie with the sound off in a bar at 1 am.

Featuring floating medieval Zardoz head. "The sword is good..."

Like any real hardcore addictive personality type I promised I would quit the Cave of Time, and yet here I am taking another tab of acid entering the cave again. This time it's somehow "darker" which really doesn't jive very well with my knowledge of optics and the properties of light, but the upshot is I trip, fall, black out and wake up under a tree somewhere. Bum trip. I hear the sound of hooves and metallic clanking and wisely decide to hide my ass rather than face mounted robots or whatever is causing' all this.

How to "time travel."

Surprisingly the sounds aren't dressage androids, but are actually mounted knights. They're all "Did you solve the riddle of the Forbidden Castle?" and "Naw, brah, I got nothing." Apparently this is some sort of watered down Holy Grail analogue, complete with a reward from the King of "half of Wales" to the successful champion. It just better be the half with Wrexham or this is just another trick bag, that's all I'm saying.

With the predictable failure of their virtue quest established, they continue on about foreign spies and putting suspicious people into "dungeons." Man, this is better than Game of Thrones. Faced with the reality that I "can't hide forever" I decide to reveal myself to these canned heroes and hope that the well-known reputation of poorly educated and violent individuals from a time period where washing yourself was considered "Witchery" to handle novel stimuli and unusual obvious outsiders will carry me through.

They decide I must be a "spy" because of my unusual devil garments. Witch, heretic or non-accredited alchemist I would have accepted, but this seems somewhat illogical. I mean, an infiltrator would try to blend in, right? This is why you guys are going to be career heavy cavalry instead of realizing the dream of becoming an exchequer or catchpole. You got to use your head. 

 The real money is in wrangling up debtors, not silly honor quests.

So I get pitched into the dungeon. We finally get some of that legendary pre-Renaissance tolerance when another inmate fearfully declares that my clothes are "made by the devil!" Again, I know this era wasn't exactly an intellectual and social golden age, but you'd think people wouldn't immediately freak out at the sight of denim or whatever. It's slightly different material that probably looks a lot like what they're used to. It's not like I declared the Sun was the center of the Solar System or something.

Time to face the jurisprudence of this era. I'm marched to a stake surrounded by kindling. Yup, so far so good. After being assured that innocent people don't burn (I don't think you've actually tested this out, dude) I'm set on fire and die a horrific death. Well, that was tidy.  

For all my dawgs on City Councils that read this blog.

Another short run, ruined by an attempt at historical accuracy of all things. I can't really say much more about this one, I never really got out of the blocks. If you're looking for a portrayal of medieval times were the average person isn't a deeply superstitious idiot (those look like spy and/or devil threads!) this is not the place to go.

  Also available on eight inch floppy disk for your IBM 5150!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

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