Monday, October 8, 2007

Night of 1000 Options

Okay. I have never ever dated. Ever. Like going out on dates, meeting someone and giving them my number and then doing something later? Never. I guess I only ever got into serious relationships. I'm probably really picky.

Anyway, though, Night of 1000 Boyfriends has been a blast to read because it's exactly the kind of control I would like to have in a dating environment. The first time of course I got knocked out and woke up in the hospital, but that turned out well enough, getting into a doctor's beamer. The second time I went to the restaurant and the waiter asked if I remembered the guy's name. Of course I didn't, I had begun reading in that vein the day before during my 10 minute break at Starbucks, but praise the CYOA deities, I could look back and see that the guy's last name was "Levine" and not "Levitt." Of course, having flipped through the pages to get to the point, I touched upon the picture of the true Robert Levine and knew that I should choose to go with the GQ-looking fellow.

In the Threshold game I'm playing, my character has a thing about choices. She has to choose a deity to devote to soon and she doesn't like the idea that her options might be limited by the guy she's with (who's already chosen his deity). I felt like this was the kind of book for her. It's not even just that there's multiple endings, or decisions, it's that it's... a web. If any of you have been reading anything that I've been writing, or listen to me talk in class, you can see how my mind jumps from one thing to a completely different (though, if I'm lucky, somewhat related) topic. One of the beautiful things I'm finding about CYOA books, especially this kind that relates to a field in which I'm sure everyone would like to be able to flip a few pages and see the future, is that there's not really a backwards or forwards. Like Adam was saying before, the "open narrative" quality is what really gets me coming back for more.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

I like the phrase "Praise the CYOA gods." Back when my father worked repairing motorcycles in the 70s, apparently his favorite activity was to "pray to the electrical gods."

Lance asked in class last time why I read (and am interested in) CYOAs. I don't recall my answer, but I was still recovering from being late to class (for the 3rd time ever! Since I've been teaching, that is), and I don't think it was a very good one.

Despite the imperfections of the CYOAs we have, they are a fascinating small-scale exercise in nonlinearity and interactivity, which is what you're pointing to at the end of your post - no forward or back.

Predictably, I'm planning on brining in some portion of "The Garden of Forking Paths" tomorrow...