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Jason Shiga


Page 45 Review by Stephen

It begins with the simplest, most instinctive and seemingly inconsequential choice in the world: would you like chocolate or vanilla...?

But please do deliberate with due care and attention, for your answer may end up destroying the world.

Family friendly and ever so clever, I'm about to bring back your youth!

Do you remember - way back before the age of interactive videogames - reading those magically immersive books during which you had to make weighty decisions every so often on the protagonist's behalf which would dictate, in practical terms, which of two pages you turned to, and so what happened next...?

This is also a big book of dilemmas, but in comics form, and I don't just mean that the pages are comics instead of prose. I mean that Jason Shiga - comics' most thorough mathematician and inventive problem solver, creator of the blindingly brilliant, adults-only four-volume book of carnage and consequences called DEMON - has really gone to town and thought long and hard about how to take best advantage of sequential art's unique properties in this specific endeavour, and so make maximum use of them.

You will, therefore, not merely be turning back and forth from one page to another, but sliding up and down tubes, following them around the ceiling, over the edge and round the bend until you drop into the comics panel to which your rash ruminations sent you. To avoid wear and tear on this back and forth, all the pages are laminated, as are the tabs which will guide you - you'll see!

"3,856 story possibilities" declares the front cover, so I haven't exactly "finished" it yet and won't even know when I have.

Only one road leads to happiness, an older edition told us, which is a poor reflection on life and not something that you should probably tell small and impressionable children.

One of Shiga's strengths is his body language, and since almost everyone involved in DEMON is doing dubious stuff indeed, that means a lot of furtive glances over hunched shoulders. So it is here, along with the biting of nails.

I'm going to leave the wider plot open for your discovery, but I will impart that it may or may not involve a trip to the toilet and a time machine; also, a memory-swapping squid. Prepare for all sorts of timey-whimey tomfoolery.

Sadly, some of my own decisions were the result of reactions born out of pure instinct: upon exiting the time machine and spying myself squealing in fright, I couldn't help punching my other self full in the face rather than sticking around to explain.

I'd make a bloody useless Timelord.


We have three picture and prose pick-a-plot books in the form of Sherwin Tija's deeply mischievous and really quite wrong YOU ARE A CAT, YOU ARE A KITTEN and YOU ARE A CAT (IN A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE), plus Luke Hyde embarked on a communal iteration of this interactive endeavour on Twitter then turned the result into comics - including those interactions. It's called POLLQUEST.