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  1. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Alternate Endings, "Midquels" and the like

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Edward, Feb 6, 2008.

    I wonder if anybody in the history of the world (part I) has done anythign like this:

    Scenario the First:
    You know how the theatrical version of the Clue movie ends? There where four or five different endings, and was shown was supposedly totally at random. Are there any books out there that have multiple endings, where the last four or five chapters take completely different, but still logical, courses, reaching different conclusions? I don't just mean a second edition where something happens differently, I mean: ending A has the hero winning, and ending B has the hero make a Heroic Sacrifice to save the day?

    Scenario the Second:
    You know how in The Lord of the Rings there were basically three parties? Merry-Pippen, Aragorn-Gimli-Legolas, and Frodam? What if there where three books after the party split, where the first book focused on Merry and Pippen and their tree friends, and the second book focused on the power trio, and the third book was Frodam and Gollum getting eaten by the spider and what not? What I mean to say is, instead of a book telling two stories, is there anything that tells one story from two perspectives? I really have nothing but to keep going back to RPGs... It's like in Star Ocean: Second Story when you choose either Claude or Rena. Or, to use a more cynical and yet still video game based view, it's like the pokemon gameboy Legend of Zeldas, one story that you have to pay for twice.

    for those not in the know, in LoZ: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, the two games each had their own story, but where in essence two halves of the same game. you could only get to the true end if you bought them both. Again, it's slightly cynical to look at it that way, as it was more of a bonus, and that's what I mean, a book where after the protagonists split, instead of having a short flashback of their escapades while the hero was off doing heroic things, to give them their own Limelight and let them have their story told where they're the hero.

    Actually, now that I think about it, I think I saw something like that at Barnes and Noble's once, though it was just two half sized books put together. I think one was from the Killer's point of view and one from the detective's, but still, it was the same as if the chapters alternated except for the fact that to switch points of view you had to flip the book and turn to the other cover.
     
  2. AWR
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    AWR Member

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    There is a series of children's books about a little mouse, Milo or something, that have a "Happy" ending and a "Sad" ending. Not sure how effective it is as my children always select the Happy ending.

    I used to read the twist-a-plots that had a question at the bottom of the page and gave you a page to go to according to the answer you selected. It was interesting for a while but seemed to go out of fashion quickly.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There have also been "Make your own adventure" books. At key points you get to choose a character's action and are told what page to continue at for each choice.

    Every one I have seen was amazingly lame.

    But of course, these days they have become video games instead.
     
  4. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    You know, I had actually completely forgot about the old Choose-Your-Own Adventure books...

    This Milo thing sounds like what I was wondering about. Also I just find a children's book with a sad ending funny.

    unfortunately video games have been dumbed down for the lowest common denominator, no longer are the days where games are eighty hours long science fiction and medieval European fantasy epics. Also I'm poor and books are cheap.
     
  5. AWR
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    AWR Member

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    I went hunting around in the kid's room and found one of the books: "Milo and the Magical Stones" written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister.

    The story has a common beginning that leads up to a pivotal point. Then the pages are actually cut in half with one part labelled "The happy ending" (ie. the mice do the right thing and are suitably rewarded) and the other "the sad ending" (ie. they don't do the right thing and learn a valuable lesson) so the reader can turn just the half of their choosing.
     
  6. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    The famous sci-fi book Ender's Game has an also-well-known companion novel called Ender's Shadow. Where the first book tells an interplanetary war story from the perspective of the eponymous Ender, the second retells the story from the perspective of one of Ender's soldiers, Bean. It includes old characters and the overall plot, but introduces new, interesting characters and subplots.
     
  7. Bittergrace
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    Bittergrace Member

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    first- video games are actually getting more complex and in depth. maybe you are too young to remember the days of pac man, asteroids, and the original mario games (linear, repetitive, took maybe 4 hours to beat if you really sucked at it). Anyone who has played games like BioShock, Assassin's Creed, or the latest Final Fantasy would argue against games getting "dumbed down for the lowest common denominator". There is a good book by Steven Johnson called "Everything Bad is Good for You" which goes into some very interesting arguments about how pop culture is helping to make us smarter, if you are interested in the topic.

    Second- some mediums don't work as well for novels that work for movies or games. People have different expectations for them as well. What you are suggesting might work for a series of short stories better than for a novel re the alternate endings sort of thing.
    That detective novel sounds interesting, but seems like a hard premise to pull off since you'd have to have very strong characters since after the first half the reader will already know what's going on if the crime has been solved. There are ways to get around that, of course.
     
  8. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Response the First: By "dumbed down for the lowest common denominator" I didn't mean they weren't complex, I actually just meant how games max out at only a few hours instead of the super long games of the nineties (specifically the FF games. I'm playing FFVI and I've logged about 17 hours, and I'm only half done. All of the PS1 FFs were measured in Disks, whereas the only PS2 game I know of more than a disk long was Star Ocean, and Second Story had more), mostly because people focus more on graphics than storytelling. Not to say there isn't none, just that it's not a priority. Also things are easier: BioShock has a reviv-o-tank every few feet. I remember back in the day when you died in Jedi Knights you had to start the level over again, and even if you cheated the final boss ran on a script that made him heal every minute and bring you one step closer to annihilation. There aren't many eighty hour RPGs anymore, well, besides Elder Scrolls, and that I know of. As it stands I am a poor man in a rich man's hobby...

    Response the second: Well, I didn't really expect there to be any books with alternate endings, but then again, until Clue I didn't expect a movie with alternate endings. There's just no end to how creative some people can be. Like House of Leaves. That's the kind of thing I never expected a book to be like.

    But I'm not actually sure the double sided book was a detective story, It might have just been a two-fer-one deal. I do know that Danielewski's other book, Only Revolutions, is two sided, one side from Sam's point of view and one from Hailey's and having the last lines of the other's story running along the bottom upside down.


    Also: The Ender thing sounds like exactly one of the things I'm wondering about.
     
  9. Bittergrace
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    Bittergrace Member

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    Games rarely take up multiple disks anymore partially because technology has changed. You can fit a hell of a lot more information on a disk now (many games are actually DVD disks).

    Also, I've clocked over 120 hours in Final Fantasy XII. And I'm probably 3/4 of the way through.

    It all depends on how you play, what you do, and if you bother with side quests, extras, etc... It's possible to beat games like Morrowind in 7 minutes, but that sort of negates the enjoyment of the game...
     

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