Saturday, September 18, 2010
Review: The Adventures of Whatley Tupper by Rudolf Kerkhoven & Daniel Pitts
I found The Adventures of Whatley Tupper via a recommendation on another blog; it was described as a contemporary, adult 'choose your own adventure' kind of book where at various points in the story, you are presented with choices and taken in different story directions depending on what you choose. You can read the book multiple times and it will be like a different story each time. I was intrigued; I read these types of books (the original Choose Your Own Adventure series) as a child, and the hyperlink functions of a well-designed ebook system are a natural fit for this type of story.
The main character is a janitor at a small university who has various outlandish adventures. The story I read involved a missing person and a wile goose chase after them. It was a very fun little read---the style is kind of cartoon-ish and very much leaning toward farce. If you are a fan of pulp-era dialogue ("“Uhh, I don’t know,” replied the young Vince, adjusting the curly dark locks of his mullet.") this is the story for you.
I tested the book on both iPad and Kindle. On the iPad, it was easy as pie to touch my choice when it came up and go at once to the next 'page' in my custom story. On the Kindle, there was some scrolling needed; it worked, but I will probably keep this on the iPad if I want to do further playing.
This was a very slick and well-done little experiment, but ultimately, it never did progress beyond 'experiment' and into the realm of actual book for me. There was the gimmick of the choose your own adventure thing, and the gimmick of the pulp-speak, and the gimmick of the utterly outlandish storylines (the blurb promises such options as "Will he travel into a parallel universe? Will he tame the troglodyte murderer living in the tunnels?") It was just too much cutesy 'look at how clever.' Fun to play around with for an hour or so, but not really a proper 'book' when all is said and done.
4/5, and most of the points are coming from the fun factor. It does not deserve that on literary merits alone.