Remember ‘choose your own adventure books’ for children? Stories set in countless different contexts, such as being a football player, Middle Earth adventurer, spaceman or accountant, where the decisions you’d make would decide the direction of the story? Well, they’re back! And, erm, a little more ‘mature’ than before…
I’d actually forgotten these things ever existed until I spotted this recent addition to the Google Play pantheon; but then I have suffered many head injuries over the years, so that might account for that. So a surprise blast from the past and a most welcome one too, for while this is no advanced physics puzzler or adrenaline-fuelled endless runner app, it is the return of a long-lost entertainment idea known as ‘reading’, combined with another almost lost concept amongst ‘the kids’: the ability to make a decision.
A book that tells a story and requires you to select the path of the protagonist, in this case a clone who, passed over for adoption, ended up being raised by a defunct branch of the priesthood and who, in his search for his place in a distinctly disappointing universe, struggles with apathy and his own moral flexibility to succeed in a career, build some semblance of a life and avoid ending up deeply dead by turning the wrong page.
Written by Zach Weinersmith, creator of the award-winning comic strip Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, this is definitely not one for minors, featuring as it does adult themes, violence and drugs, but it is also exceptionally well written, funny and hugely entertaining. Plus, featuring the vocal talent of Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Big Bang Theory’s Wil Wheaton uttering things like “moral ambiguity” and “disappointment”, what more could you want from a book?
THE BOTTOM LINE
A tasty slice of entertainment-app variety in a market that’s increasingly suffering its own cloning-issues, Trial of the Clone is a refreshing and relaxing way to wind down after a furious day of trying to find your own place in the universe. So, send in the clones…