The webcomics blog about webcomics


I have an entirely rhetorical question for you, and by “you”, I mean “you individually and in particular”, not some more abstract “you”: Do you like it when language is bent into patterns that delight and entertain? Because I have something that you will want to see: an 80,000 word book written by master languagebender Ryan North re-envisioning Hamlet as a choosable-path adventure, which has (predictably) surpassed its Kickstarter goal in about three hours.

I should pause here a moment to issue a disclaimer — Ryan asked me proofread a near-final version of To Be Or Not To Be: A Choice-Filled Adventure By Ryan North And Also William Shakespeare Too, which I gladly did, and so I’ve had the opportunity to read through the entire thing.

I also played through every single story node for both Ophelia (who kicks ass and does not resemble the inertial doormat that Shakespeare portrayed) and Hamlet’s dad, King Hamlet Sr (who dies on the first page and must play as a ghost and that is awesome). I did not play through every story node for Hamlet because I have always felt that Hamlet is a CHUMP and I do not traffic in CHUMPS but I’ve read enough of his story paths to see that North does manage to DECHUMPIFY him in some of the paths so that’s good.

True to form, Ryan North has put together an amazing Kickstarter campaign (including what may be the definitive Kickstarter video which is itself choosable-path) featuring awesome backer rewards, including visualizations of the story structure which is a thing of mathematical beauty and intricate, interwoven geometries. Speaking of interwoven geometries, should you read your way through TBONTB:ACFABRNAAWST, keep a chessboard handy; no spoilers, but let’s just say that I would have died fewer embarrassing deaths had I not been trying to keep a chess game straight in my head.

Speaking of those embarrassing deaths, 30 of them are illustrated by the finest creators in webcomics today, and further funds raised only increase the number of illustrations until all 110 deaths get pictures. The full set of illustrations happens at US$50,000 and given that Ryan is already north¹ of US$25,000 about four hours into this thing, that’s a certainty. The only question is how long it takes to get to US$70,000 and the audiobook, and to US$100,000 and the sequel, which I hope concerns Ophelia branching out from boring pre-Renaissance Denmark into other times and places and maybe wrestling dinosaurs.

Guys, I am excited for this project to come to fruition and I’ve already read it so it contains no more surprises for me, but every one of you (yes, you) that reads TBONTB:ACFABRNAAWST has delightful hours of delight in front of you, so get in on this while you can and thank Ryan North for the herculean labors of the past year, secretly and carefully bending language into its most perfect form.

Oh, and for those of you wavering, the early adopters have got your back — every US$5000 raised above the initial US$20,000 goal reveals another story page and a choice, to be decided by backer voting. Thanks to Update #1 voting, it appears that we will get to read the book’s acknowledgments, which SPOILER ALERT could lead to a page where YOU GET TO BE RYAN NORTH.

If you are awesome enough to support TBONTB:ACFABRNAAWST click here. If you are so CHUMPY to make Hamlet himself look like somebody who is NOT A CHUMP AT ALL, I don’t know, maybe go look at pictures of cats on the internet? I mean, that’s nice and all, and your CHUMPNESS doesn’t make you a bad person or anything. Just … let’s not talk about this possible choice anymore and we are still friends.

¹ Ha, ha.

[…] require her to stab hell of dudes. I also expect to find the book even more delightful than I did last year when Ryan North asked me to proof a not-quite-complete version of […]

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