When I was a kid, I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books. At school book fairs, I was always on the lookout for a good deal. There were various copycats series – such as the really excellent Fighting Fantasy series that I discovered in middle school. Which Way Books, however, never really received the accolades of Choose your own Adventure as most of them were very mediocre to downright terrible. One book from the series, however, really stood head and shoulders above the others.
Invasion of the Black Slime and Other Tales of Horror was honestly one of the most frightening books I read as a kid. The book consisted of 3 main story lines you could choose between. The first storyline was to continue on to the supposedly invaded mountain town of Silverlode. The second involves visiting a lonely doctor. The third was one of the best which involved spending 24 hours in Uncle Harry Crispen’s haunted house to earn a million dollars.
There were some really great illustrations as well.
It is hard to find copies of this book today. The series was never terribly popular, and used copies of this book can run you about $35 – if you can even find one. I have never seen this book online anywhere; so I decided to change that. I bought a copy and scanned the whole thing cover to cover. It’s now here available as a PDF to download and enjoy.
Personally, I found the haunted house path contained some of the most terrifying stuff I read as a kid. Even today as an adult it holds up really well. There’s even a warning that you need to give full attention to the pages you read as you go into Uncle Henry’s house. I remember taking it seriously and going to my room and laying on my bed to read it. It was downright terrifying to 10 year old me.
If you’d like to hear some the book, here’s an audiobook version:
If you read this book as a kid, share your experiences with it. It was definitely one of my favorites.
Which Way Books #10 The Invasion of the Black Slime and Other Tales of Horror Written by: R.G. Austin Format: Paperback Published: January 1, 1983 by Simon Pulse ISBN : 9780671460204 ISBN-10 : 067146020X ISBN-13 : 978-0671460204 ASIN : 067146020X
Tsundokuis the Japanese word for the stack(s) of books you’ve purchased but haven’t read. Its morphology combines tsunde-oku (letting things pile up) and dokusho (reading books).
I personally love that I have a pile of books I have bought but not yet read. Probably for the same reason that others have suggested – that it creates a sense of wonder and excitement there is so much more yet to learn:
These shelves of unexplored ideas propel us to continue reading, continue learning, and never be comfortable that we know enough. Jessica Stillman calls this realization intellectual humility.
People who lack this intellectual humility — those without a yearning to acquire new books or visit their local library — may enjoy a sense of pride at having conquered their personal collection, but such a library provides all the use of a wall-mounted trophy. It becomes an “ego-booting appendage” for decoration alone.
I think the 90’s were an amazing time for game books. This is one I’ve not seen before. It was a series of paired game books that have a first-person style play.
You play against another person who is playing at the same time with the companion book. Just like in a real first-person shooter, depending on how you (and your opponent) move around, you can come up behind, in front, or to the side of your enemy as you fight against each other in the dungeon.
Other notable authors such as Rob Adams, Paul Bonner, Gary Chalk, Melvyn Grant, Richard Hook, Peter Andrew Jones, Cyril Julien, Peter Lyon, Peter Parr, Graham Round, and Brian Williams have also generously offered similar permission for their contributions. This includes books from famous series like Lone Wolf, Freeway Warrior, Kai, Grand Master, Magnakai, and even some of the Lone Wolf PC games. Project Aon hosts the books on their free website and gives you free permission to use them.
Magic was outlawed in Ethiopia in the 15th century. Presented here and stored in the British Library, is an ancient Ethiopian manuscript with prayers to perform magical transformations (such as turning into a lion or other creatures). Curator Eyob Derillo describes what is in the text and how historians study it to understand ancient African magic beliefs.
Just looking at the text, it appears to be beautifully illustrated. I wonder if you can get downloaded scans…
NoEnd House is an amature creepy-pasta short story from a few years back. It tells of a haunted house that has 6 progressively scarier rooms. Supposedly nobody who has made it to room six has ever been seen again.
The short story has a great premise, but many argue that Channel Zero’s version is an even better telling of the story. The six part series starts with them finding out about the haunted house and taking a visit. What happens next is some good story telling, but I thought the final chapters were a bit weaker than the first ones. The first few episodes are definitely worth a watch.
On a tangent, I think this is what Hollywood should be doing these days: taking promising but flawed ideas and working them into great ones. I understand why studios rehash tried and true IP’s like Star Trek, Star Wars, Marvell, etc. They always sell. But it doesn’t demonstrate any real talent to try and reboot old classics with tropey time travel, alternate universe takes, harmful revisionist cannons, or even political/social agendas. Most of the time they only succeeded in ruining critical themes, diluting, damaging, and turning classics into distasteful cash grabs. Lets wake up here Hollywood – there’s lots of great ideas out there if you have the eyes to see them.
The movie Clue wasn’t a great hit when it came out – in fact it was pretty well panned by the critics. It wasn’t until much later that it became popular with a cult following. This initial flop had unfortunate side effects on the other items that came out with the move – especially the books. The lackluster movie performance meant that the books were quickly discontinued and forgotten.
Two books that came out with the movie were Clue by Michael McDowell, and Clue: The Storybook. I got a copy of the storybook via inter-library loan a few years back and uploaded a copy here. It’s a fairly short picture book, but does reveal a much-hinted at secret 4th ending that was never filmed. The Clue novelization by Michael McDowell, however, is much more of a standard length paperback.
While I have a lot of nostalgia for the movie, watching and quoting it endlessly, the McDowell book …. well…. leaves a lot to be desired. The writing isn’t good and it certainly doesn’t capture the fun of the movie. You won’t learn anything new and it pretty much follows the movie shot-for-shot. Still, for a fan, it’s worth a casual read.
I have a copy of the novelization, but prices have been getting stratospheric lately. Running as much as $200-$400. I have considered scanning my book for posterity, just like I did for Clue: The Storybook.
But until I get to that stage, you can actually listen to an armature reading of the un-abridged version via the above YouTube video. Read by Austin Curry (sp?), he does mispronounce words on occasion, but it’s more than good enough to give a listen. You can also download a mirrored copy of the audiobook version here if the YouTube link breaks (again).
Title : Clue Author : Michael McDowell ISBN : 9780449130490 ISBN10: 0449130495 LCCN : 85091213 Publisher: New York : Fawcett Gold Medal Publication date: November 12, 1985 by Fawcett 188 pages, Mass Market Paperback
My Adventure in Norfolk by A. J. Alan – The author tries out a possible vacation home only to have a unique encounter. Especially fun for the dry humor and malapropisms.
The Ghost Train – An excellent and fun ghost story that turns out to be something completely different. Best version of this story I have encountered. (Avoid the 1941 movie version like the plague – it is terrible)
I’m a huge fan of the Fighting Fantasy book created in 1982 by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. I still have a good collection of them, but my first and favorite had to be Deathtrap Dungeon.
ChrisC has a nice Youtube channel with a few good playthroughs of some of my favorite adventure books. He does a good job on his walkthroughs and is a nice, calming listen. Honestly, I don’t know why more Twitch streamers don’t read old adventure books like this and let people vote on the next choice. Perhaps there’s an idea there…
Back to the topic. My first introduction to the books was as a middle schooler and I can’t tell you how many times I checked out this white-cover Dell version of Deathtrap Dungeon. I soon found the City of Thieves, Warlock of Firetop Mountain, and many others. Before the internet, one had to visit many libraries to find more of them. There is even a great fan site that has lots of details about each book – including interesting errors.
They did a reprint series a few years back, but that has ended as well. The books can still be had on ebay, or if you’re interested in a more professional production, Eddie Marston was hired to do an interactive video series that’s had much higher production values.