A Cavernous Conclusion

After being chased by a giant prehistoric cave bear and being rescued by a ridiculously strong proto-human during our impromptu wall climbing expedition, we voted overwhelmingly to keep following our new friend Iaark into his cave to further our questy adventure:

You follow Iaark into the tunnel, hoping it will come out in the open. "Where does this lead?" you ask, though you know he can't understand your language.

Great, we're the kind of guy who, when the cab driver doesn't understand us, just says the same thing only louder. Because English is comprehensible to a non-speaker in direct proportion to its volume. I bet we're a lousy tipper, too.

"Orgorjon," he calls back.

You have no idea what that means, but the tone of it was friendly. Maybe he's just exploring the tunnel to see where it goes.

Iaark continues on. You follow close behind, thinking that you may come out on the other side of the mountain. Instead, the tunnel floor gives way. You're falling, and Iaark is falling with you, tumbling through the Cave of Time! Then you are waking, as if from a dream. Once again you're just inside the entrance of a cave. You walk out into the open air. Something -- maybe it's the smell of grass and flowers, or the temperature, or the sound of traffic from a nearby highway -- tells you that you're back in your own time!

"Ak lugga!" says a voice. It's Iaark, walking toward you from the interior of the cave.

"Iaark, you're here -- I can't believe it! You better come with me," you call. "You're going to need a place to stay."

The two of you reach a road and walk along into a nearby town. Iaark gasps at the sight of cars and trucks going by on the highway. Your time is stranger to him than his time was to you! When you reach the town and talk to a police officer standing on a street corner, you find out that you are indeed back in your own time.

The End.

One word:

Sorry, no, two words: Effing lame. Are you serious about this, Edward Packard?! When you choose to go into the past and start exploring, your goal is not to end up right back where you started after the thrill of climbing a wall. And nothing says "fun!" in a novel like introducing an intriguing character, only to completely end the story two pages later without learning a single GD thing about him. Well played, sir.

I am so done with this stupid adventure. My apologies for subjecting you all to this frustrating dive into irrelevancy. We'll try something different next week.

If you had a favorite Choose Your Own Adventure type of book you'd like to see us try next, by all means let me know. Just so long as it's not as idiotic as this one.

15 Responses to A Cavernous Conclusion

  1. Mr.MikeK says:

    In the words of that great American philosopher Bartholomew Simpson, “I didn’t think it was possible for something to both suck and blow at the same time until now.”

  2. Joshua says:

    It’s poor Iaark who ended up getting screwed; he’s not going to end up half as interesting as “Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer”, but rather like “Encino Man”. What a way to go, buhhhdy.


  3. Dan says:

    Jeff, don’t be too hard on yourself. You had no way of knowing how craptastic it would end up being. I’d say in the future we avoid anything written by Mr. Packard.

  4. Myro says:

    Wow, that was catastrophically anti-climactic. I just…wow.
    And yet, for some reason it feels vaguely familiar, which leads me to believe that I may have read “Return to the Cave of Time” when I was younger. I can’t say for certain, because I haven’t read a Choose Your Own Adventure since I was 12, and I’m now in my late 30s, but still, it does vaguely like I’ve done this before.
    Well, since it has been 20+ years since I have seen a Choose Your Own Adventure , so I can’t be any help in suggesting a new one. On the other hand, I was into Steve Jackson’s and Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy book series until my early 20s, so if you want some recommendations there, especially the earlier ones, I can probably help. Hell, I may even still have some in storage.

  5. logosgal says:

    I say we ignore that ending and make up our own where we meet Iaark’s family/tribe, spend a few months getting to know him and his language, and decide this is a nice place to settle down, despite the occasional giant cave bear. Then the whole camp is attacked by clockwork robots, and we and Iaark save space and time from the Nazi Zombie Ninja Robots from 3096 before being separated and sent back to our own times, never to see Iaark again but at least denying the robots access to the Time Cave forever. Or something like that.

  6. Me, Myself & I says:

    I am actually astounded that this book made it to print. Now I’m wishing we stayed back and got mauled by the cave bear.

    logosgal (5) funny you should mension making up our own ending. I was going to ask my 7 and 10 year old daughters how they would end the story when I got home. You know, just for comparison. I’m sure they’ll come up with somethig better than this ending.

  7. I refuse to comment. Wait… doh!

  8. logosgal says:

    MMI (6) I bet they could! Hope you’ll share their answer with us! 🙂

    The only “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style book I remember very well (probably because it was the only such book I ever actually owned a copy of and thus re-read several times) was called Journey to Vernico 5, from the lesser-known Twistaplot series.

    I remember it being a lot of fun, if rather odd sometimes. No lame “I can’t think of any good adventures to send you on in this strange new world with this awesome new character I just introduced, so I’m going to send both of you home and end the story.” You could end up as anything from a nutritious plant stuck on a black-market spaceship, to a prisoner trying to keep from going crazy by pretending to be a flashlight, to an experiment with an evil second head, to a hero who foils a mad scientist’s plot to control every mind in the universe.

    …I was definitely one of those people who always went back to the last choice to see what else could have happened.

  9. zaheelee says:

    Well… at least we lived?

  10. Blackjack says:

    *nods off* Huh? Oh, sorry, your ending bored me to sleep, Mr. Packard.

    Honestly, execrable much?

  11. Brad says:

    Well, one that I always thought was awesome was “Revenge of the Mutant Spider-Ants,” but I never got to read it. Perhaps we cast a vote between logosgal’s book and RotMS-A?

  12. X-stacy says:

    Iaark’s reward for helping us is that he ends up in the foster care system? Assuming he doesn’t become a lab rat? So…his first lesson in his new world is, no good deed goes unpunished. Welcome to the future, buddy!

  13. NEON_N64 says:

    I’m surprised that we got an ending that didn’t get us killed. These “Choose Your Own Adventure” books are famous for their cheap deaths.

    The final was lame indeed, but at least we made it out alive, and I actually had a good time during the adventure 🙂

    I’m eagerly awaiting for the next one 🙂

  14. spidercow2010 says:

    Where did Iaarky think he was taking “us”? And why would “we” tell Iaark to come with us? And why did he understand it and, moreover, do it? I for one would tell him “ak lugga, my ass,” and to get the hell back into the freaking Cave of Time and climb back up to where he’s so much better off with the cave bears. “We” are lame enough to deserve our modern world; all Iaark did was us a favor.

  15. Nick Hentschel says:

    A favorite? Hmmm… “The Third Planet From Altair”?