Remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books from your childhood? Perhaps, like me, you still have these paperbacks on your bookshelf.
Here was the concept: Via a second person point of view, the reader, aka ”you,” could enter a story, assuming the role of the protagonist and making choices that determine the main character’s actions in response to the plotline. At the bottom of each page, you would select one of two choices of what you do next, and turn to the appropriate page. A sort of a rudimentary interactive fiction.
The books I plowed through were more of the classic fantasy adventures genre, with stories about goblins, ant people, spaceships and abominable snowmen, but other kinds of stories featured Mayans, ninjas, pirates and dogs wearing firemen hats.
Here is a sample scenario:
You’ve tracked the unicorn into the woods. You hear it calling to you, “Hey, come follow me and I will lead you to the land of gumdrops and licorice whips. Come on, friend!”
What do you do?
If you want to continue running through the woods and try to catch unicorn, turn to page 12.
If you hate gumdrops and licorice whips, and want to take out your .22 and shoot the unicorn, turn to page 43.
OK, just kidding about that. Never, ever kill the unicorn. Unless it’s the evil unicorn (look for the black horn and red, glowing eyes).
But what if this fictional model was adpated for adults? And what if the story was on your iPhone or Android and you could listen and choose your own story path this very weekend? Well, you can.
Friend of Grub Henriette Lazaridis Power, the fearless leader/editor over at the The Drum Literary Magazine, has led an intrepid team of Boston-based writers (many of them Grub instructors, including myself) to produce PerambuLit, a Create-Your-Own-Adventure story for the Boston Book Festival this Saturday.
This is what we’re saying about it: “PerambuLit is an audio story, allowing festival-goers to experience a fictional narrative both by listening to it and by walking along its various routes. Listeners will hear the voices of the writers themselves, recorded for this project by The Drum.” The story has eight different endings. From a premise of a date at the BPL gone bad, or good, you might run into a bumbling spy, a neophyte psychic, a reality TV show producer or various specters from the past.
The writers include myself; Jenna Blum, author of Those Who Save Us; Daphne Kalotay, author of Russian Winter; Matthew Pearl, The Dante Club; Catherine Elcik,”How to Be Sure You Want To Be a Farm Girl” in Carve Magazine; Becky Tuch, founding editor, The Review Review; Steven Brykman, National Lampoon, The New Yorker; and Power, author of the forthcoming Clean Monday.
Since the story takes place in the streets of Boston, ideally, we want listeners to listen on site. You begin PerambuLit on the steps of the Boston Public Library, and use Broadcastr‘s geotagging application for your iPhone and Android to map the route. For example, after listening to the first segment, you get to choose to walk down either Boylston Street or St. James Avenue. You then tap on the audio “tag” on your smart phone screen for this route, which causes the corresponding audio segment of the story to play. Then you choose again. And again …
The story goes live on Friday. If you happen to be in downtown Boston this weekend, then here’s the ideal way to listen.
1. Go to the steps of the Boston Public Library (Dartmouth St.).
2. Download the free Broadcastr app onto your iPhone or Android phone.
3. Open the Broadcastr app.
4. A pop up window will display, offering you the PerambuLit experience; click “yes.”
5. Instructions will display, and you can begin your adventure!
But even if you’re not local, or can’t make it to the Boston Book Fest, your location doesn’t matter. You can still listen either using the app and , or by going to the broadcastr website, searching for “perambulit” and listening from your computer or other device.
We hope you enjoy the story.