« | Home | »

To choose or not to choose

Tags:

Tragedy. Groan groan. It’s a bummer, isn’t it? It’s all just so… inevitable. You read, weeping, as Anna Karenina goes for the train, as Lear enters with Cordelia dead in his arms. No choice: just turn the pages, sit back and grieve. And it’s the same old story every time. The train is never late. Cordelia never pops up and says: ‘Hi dad, I could murder a pizza.’ It’s all so unmodern, so uncool, just so friggin’ Greek. We moderns have moved on. We’re all free agents. We make choices. Choices are what make us. So give me tragedy with choice and give it to me now. Instead of just blubbing and crying out ‘NOoooo’ while what you don’t want to happen happens, why not just turn to page 394 and get a new ending? Cool. Indeed, totally friggin’ awesome.
 
So a comic book writer called Ryan North, the man behind the totally awesome Adventure Time series, has decided to bring the world of choice to Hamlet. You can pick which character you want to be. You can choose the outcome. You can fight with pirates. It will all be way WAY cooler than anything you’ve ever seen before, and WAY WAY WAY cooler than that Shakespeare guy. North will smile at you winsomely from his video and even show you a picture of his dog (who is awfully cute) called Noam Chompsky while he explains how totally, totally AWESOME it will be and how it will give choice choice choice and fun fun fun, with added adventures and loads of cool stuff:

unlike Shakespeare I didn’t skip over the pirate scene in Hamlet. You get to fight PIRATES. With SWORDS. And yes OF COURSE you can choose which body part you cut off.  Why would you write a book where you can’t do that is my question.

 
The choosing isn’t free, though: in order to be able to choose choose choose these totally totally AWESOME adventures and enjoy DEATH SCENES by the BEST ARTISTS ALIVE TODAY (North likes capitals as much as he likes raising his eyebrows cutely) you have to give give GIVE. You can do it online. You can give as little as a dollar. Twenty dollars gets you a paperback. Five people have given $1000 each; you can do that too and be declared a ‘PATRON OF THE FRIGGIN’ ARTS’. Or you could give five grand. Go on. Make him happy. Make Noam Chompsky happy too. It’s all going swimmingly so far, since North has raised $164,576. But before I commit I want to know if the reader-driven Hamlet will have an early option to ‘KILL ME NOW’ (in caps). That would be totally friggin’ awesome.

Comments on “To choose or not to choose”

  1. swalsh says:

    I would definitely rather read an enthused tribute to and formal game with Hamlet from the author of Dinosaur Comics than autopilot donnish harrumphing routine from Early Modern scholar of note.

    I can see the pitch is eager-eager, and it’s got a ominous whiff of lol-pirates manchild redditor about it, but North’s v smart and funny (people don’t love Dinosaur Comics for the art) and I’d say he’s thought about choice and tragedy; you can see from the page you’re trying to mock, if you know how to read ultralate modern English.

    And I’m not really sure why you’d count writing a good kids’ comic (adapted from the best kids’ cartoon of the moment) against him.(*)

    I really think you should be slower to judge, you know? This just looks like graceless mockery of something you don’t understand.

    (*)Cartoon/comic assessments supplied by a trusted 10-year-old.

  2. alynch says:

    “I would definitely rather read an enthused tribute to and formal game with Hamlet from the author of Dinosaur Comics than autopilot donnish harrumphing routine from Early Modern scholar of note”

    – That’s not the issue!

    The issue is would you rather read Hamlet as the play it is, or read the comic in which you impress yourself with your masterly plotting?

    The one thing you got right but entirely the wrong way around is this: “I really think you should be slower to judge, you know? This just looks like graceless mockery of something you don’t understand.”

    • onsos says:

      “The issue is would you rather read Hamlet as the play it is, or read the comic in which you impress yourself with your masterly plotting?”

      I’d rather read both, personally, although my personal experience is that there’s only so much masterly plotting you can can do in a Pick-a-Path.

      Having really enjoyed Hamlet a number of times, read the comic, seen the films, and watched the play a few times, watched “Rosencrantz and Guilenstern Are Dead” on stage and screen, doing it as a Pick-a-Path really appeals. Hopefully it will be replete with PIRATES and GHOSTS (the capitals are what Fighting Fantasy used to identify NPCs).

  3. conflated says:

    Goodness, if this project gets you in this much of a huff, don’t do anything as daring as play Robin Johnson’s Hamlet, the Text Adventure.

    You might injure yourself.

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.


  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • pgillott on Wishful Thinking about Climate Change: Phrases like “monumental triumph” and (particularly) “renaissance for humankind” are overdoing it, but to suggest that there is no chance of ...
    • UncleShoutingSmut on Goodbye, Circumflex: Unfortunately this post is likely to leave readers with a very partial idea of what is going on. Firstly, there is no "edict": all that has happened i...
    • martyn94 on The Price of Everything: If it's a joke at anyone's expense, it's surely at the expense of any super-rich who take it seriously. I used to skim it occasionally as a diversion ...
    • mideastzebra on Swedish-Israeli Tensions: Avigdor Liberman was not foreign minister November 2015.
    • lars hakanson on Exit Cameron: Europe will for good reason rejoice when the UK elects to leave. The country has over the years provided nothing but obstacles to European integration...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

  • From the LRB Archive

    Chris Lehmann: The Candidates
    18 June 2015

    ‘Every one of the Republican candidates can be described as a full-blown adult failure. These are people who, in most cases, have been granted virtually every imaginable advantage on the road to success, and managed nevertheless to foul things up along the way.’

    Hugh Pennington:
    The Problem with Biodiversity
    10 May 2007

    ‘As a medical microbiologist, for example, I have spent my career fighting biodiversity: my ultimate aim has been to cause the extinction of harmful microbes, an objective shared by veterinary and plant pathologists. But despite more than a hundred years of concentrated effort, supported by solid science, smallpox has been the only success.’

    Jeremy Harding: At the Mexican Border
    20 October 2011

    ‘The battle against illegal migration is a domestic version of America’s interventions overseas, with many of the same trappings: big manpower commitments, militarisation, pursuit, detection, rendition, loss of life. The Mexican border was already the focus of attention before 9/11; it is now a fixation that shows no signs of abating.’

    James Meek: When the Floods Came
    31 July 2008

    ‘Last July, a few days after the floods arrived, with 350,000 people still cut off from the first necessity of life, Severn Trent held its annual general meeting. It announced profits of £325 million, and confirmed a dividend for shareholders of £143 million. Not long afterwards the company, with the consent of the water regulator Ofwat, announced that it wouldn’t be compensating customers: all would be charged as if they had had running water, even when they hadn’t.’

Advertisement Advertisement