Monday, April 13, 2015

Time Travel Dinosaur (Matt Youngmark)

Time Travel Dinosaur
(A Chooseomatic book, Book 3)
Matt Youngmark
Atherton Haight
Fiction, Sci-Fi
***** (Great)

DESCRIPTION: In the movies, time travel's chock full of awesome adventures, fun futuristic gizmos, amazing (or cheesy) special effects, and hot encounters with denizens of the past or future. In reality, it's a mind-numbing job that pays eleven bucks an hour, and you don't even get to take your own body. The timestream, apparently, can't actually be altered or broken in Bakulan time travel theory, so mostly you peek in on madmen (or madwomen) meddling with formulas they have no business meddling with. Boring, but it pays better than flipping burgers... even if you sometimes get stuck in a dog's body.
Then the insane professor you're watching via his Labrador Retriever, Betsy, gets murdered by his own doppelganger, and everything goes to heck.
Somehow, despite all known laws of quantum mechanics, someone's actually fractured the space-time continuum. A madman has set up camp in the Cretaceous Era, building a nefarious tower for who-knows-what reason (though, knowing madmen, it's bound to be bad.) Futuristic tech infiltrates 1880's Chicago, leading to the rise of a Steampunk Mafia. A cult worships a peculiar manifestation of the self-aware Universe from a moon base. Interdimensional time goblins threaten to destroy everything, everywhere, and everywhen. And that's just for starters.
You're about to embark on a time travel adventure like no other, filled with more thrills, danger, and outright absurdity than you can possibly imagine. Just remember your true mission, as you're zipping through time rifts and beating up alternate versions of yourself: to preserve the one true space-time continuum, the one where people evolved from dinosaurs.
Maybe that job at the burger joint wouldn't have been so bad, after all...

REVIEW: I picked this up on a whim at a sci-fi convention. Time travel? Dinosaurs? An homage to the classic Choose Your Own Adventure series, with 76 possible outcomes? Sold!
I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, given the title and premise, but this book quickly exceeded it. Not only is it a treat to read, frequently and gleefully breaking the fourth wall to talk to the reader, but all the choice-paths ultimately fit together. In one, you might encounter a man who evolved from a Labrador, or a T-Rex robot. In other paths, you learn where each came from. Items that turn up missing in one adventure are found in another. And, of course, there are many ways to get yourself killed... some more embarrassing than others. It's been a long time since I read a book that made me laugh out loud, and this one pulled it off more than once. It's also been a long time since I read a book that just plain had this much fun with itself, and with the reader. With so many choice-paths, it can be reread numerous times before exhausting all possibilities... and I confess that, as I write this, I'm still not sure I hit them all, despite a small forest worth of bookmarks and over a week of trying. The illustrations, by the author, add a nice extra touch of whimsy. Add in a hint of nostalgia, as someone who was practically raised on the old CYOA books, and this one rockets to the top of the ratings. If the rest of the Chooseomatic books are anywhere near this enjoyable, I'll have to track them down as soon as possible... or as soon as my budget allows. If not sooner.

You Might Also Enjoy:
Off to Be the Wizard (Scott Meyer) - My Review
The Wizard's Towers (Rhondi Vilott) - My Review
The Abominable Snowman/Journey Under the Sea/Space and Beyond/The Lost Jewels of Nabooti (Choose Your Own Adventure 1-4) (Amazon book link)

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