Click here for Dr. Stephen Future's "Golden Path Review, PART ONE"
Click here for Miracle Jones' "Golden Path Review, PART TWO"
Click here for Xerxes Verdammt's "Golden Path Review, PART FOUR"
When Chooseco sent us the galley proofs of the first Golden Path book, I was overjoyed. The Choose Your Own Adventure series is beginning to cross the great new frontier of hypertext! A new and exciting "Golden Path," one cornerstone for the construction of a new 21st century literature!
Unfortunately, the book was sort of dull, and I unsatisfyingly died right away after going to Carlsbad.
But upon my second read of the book (I cheated; I read it twice), I understood the magic of this gamble.
I'm not sure if this is true for the final published version, but the proofs we received have a huge amount of space at the bottom of each page. And after many years of reading these books, I finally figured out the point: LITERALLY choosing your own adventure.
After a prologue and 31 pages, you are faced with your first choice as reader and character. You can either go to Carlsbad to meet "Uncle Harry" or go to New York City and meet Preston Billings. Hmmmm. With all that white space, I started writing my own story in the margins, like a cad or rogue or middle school desperado.
Here is my adventure.
Page 30-31"Food?" you say with a grimace. "My stash is running low. Who cares about eating? I've got $50... Let's shoot it up and see how far up the sky really is."
Hermione says, "It's not good to rely on your addictions during stressful times. You should be more careful."
You turn to Hermione because you know what'll get her. "I'll give you first shot."
You see her considering it until she finally nods. Ron complains about getting the third shot, especially since you only have one needle, but he eventually relents.
You walk up three flights and buy a bag. The stairs are covered in roach carcasses. This place needs the exterminator to come back. You tie off, disinfect, and inject. Everyone sits on their asses for six hours feeling good, real good.
Suddenly, you see a heroin vision, coming from either "a desire for more" or "a desire for less." A geometric shape appears in your mind and begins speaking out of one of its many mouths in a voice that fills each nerve ending in your body with recognition.
"You have searched far and wide," the chiliagon says. "Now your search has led you to another search: the attainment of the sacrament of yage."
"HOLY SHIT," you scream, "Is anyone else getting this?'
Ron and Hermione awake from their fevered poppy dreams on the couch.
"Yo, I think I'm busting out of here," you say. "I've gotta go find some yage."
"What's yage?" asks Ron.
You start to explain. "William Burroughs said that yage 'may be the ultimate fix,' and he knew his shit. It's actually a colloquial name for Banisteriopsis caapi, also known as ayahuasca, or 'the vine of souls and death.'"
Hermione replies, "Cool, I guess."
You continue the explanation. "Unfortunately, the U.S. considers yage to be a scheduled drug, since Psychotria viridis contains DMT and various other scheduled chemicals. So guess where you're going if you want to use? Either to jail or to the Amazon."
To do a bunch of boring stuff, turn to other pages. To go to the Amazonian rainforest and continue the search for the perfect drug, turn to page 225.
Fuck this shit. Your parents never loved you anyway. Burroughs, Ginsberg, and Terence McKenna have used before, and guess what, motherfucker? They are famous and you are next.
After forging passports and airline tickets for you, Ron, and Hermione, you take a flight to Puyo, capital of the province of Pastaza in Ecuador. Well, not right to Puyo. Your flight lands in Shell, the center of Amazonian colonialism, at the airport 10 kilometers northwest of Puyo. You pay an Ecuadorian kid $5 to get you into the city.
Hermione tells you about some research that she did about this old man Cotter that lives there. After you get into Puyo, you find his place and meet him, and the guy seems suspicious. He keeps saying that he's working on some experiment with this thing called curare, but that doesn't sound like yage to you. He says he'll take you to Canela to talk to the brujo there -- the resident witch doctor -- but it might take two weeks before he can take you. What do you do?
To stay in Puyo and wait for Cotter, keep reading page 225.
To explore the area and head to Canela by yourselves, turn to page 226.
Further Down On Page 225
Cotter is old now, and he is still obsessing over curare, which you find out is actually poison that Amazonians put on darts and shoot through bamboo tubes. This makes you a little wary, but Cotter says everything is fine.
"HAR HAR HAR," says Cotter, "It's not like you kids have anything to worry about. I only reserve curare for my enemies. So far, you haven't done anything to prove yourselves as enemies."
You all get bored waiting for Cotter to stop working with his crazy synthetic isoquinoline derivatives. Ron starts taking pictures with his new digital camera, the one his parents gave to him back in civilization. One of the natives sees him take the picture and gets worried that you're conducting some sort of western brujeria. He reports you to Cotter. Cotter packs some of his curare substitute into your bananameal that night to test it, and he finds out his synthetic poison works flawlessly. Unfortunately for you, your nicotinic acetylcholine receptors no longer do, and you all die.
The End #1
You hack and slash your way through the rainforest with Ron and Hermione, terrified of both animals and natives. Finally, you make it to the village of Canela where the brujo is. The brujo is gaunt with richly tanned skin, crinkling like a coffee filter. He knows what you're there for. Americans only come to the brujo for one thing: yage. Kids especially. The brujo makes you a drink. Ron and Hermione sip like nuns, but you QUAFF it like a magic potion. The brujo looks knowingly into your eyes. Suddenly, thousands of non-Newtonian elf-like machines transmogrify the soul of the world and whisper into your ear the secret about the nature of all matter. You are pure. You are strong. You are Shaman, and you are on the Golden Path to Infinity.
The End #2