Ranked – Gamebook

The Sinister Studios of KESP-TV (1983) by Louise Munro Foley has two major branches in the story. One branch ends quickly so the bulk of the book offshoots from one storyline. This makes a fairly cohesive gamebook and makes your choices feel meaningful. You never end up surfing on an alien planet or being eaten by a giant. The narrative builds in a way that makes sense. The author also makes the mundane exciting. In this book it’s a work-study program and in her The Train of Terror it was a trip to see Aunt Kate. Unfortunately, there’s just not enough content. Another 20 pages would suffice. But as it is, you exhaust the pathways too soon. Score: 490

1982

The Train of Terror (1982) is a Twistaplot gamebook written by Louise Munro Foley. Before I get to the contents of this gamebook, I’m addressing a curious dedication in the opening pages:

This book is affectionately dedicated to Don Foley, who made a choice a few years back and has been riding a train of terror ever since.

Don and Louise married in 1957 and divorced in 1976. So she is perhaps poking a stick at Don for his misery after choosing to either marry or divorce her. I’ve no clue which but I already like Louise.

Even though “Terror” is in the title of this book and there is a creepy as heck guy with a knife on the cover, The Train of Terror is more in the spy genre. There are some horror elements but these only succeed in making the book feel uneven. When the author sticks to the mysteries surrounding double agents, this book is at its best. The Train of Terror abounds in humor and folksy comments like “curiosity kills more than cats” but, it’s the psychotic image on the cover that sells tickets. All aboard!