Like Oceans of Liquid Skin by ES Wynn is a horror/scifi choose-you-own-adventure book, about a mutagenic weapons expert, stuck in a planet with an army of John Carpenter’s The Thing’s older, meaner, hungrier brothers.
All but mindless…
Doctor Taldas is a mutagenic weaponry expert in the employ of the Grey Society, a secret conglomerate of scientists and weapons manufacturers that have their hands in almost every pie in the stairways. After being called to Orcus Delta to investigate a case of what is described as a ‘possible xenological epidemic’ he realizes that Hell is a very real place, somewhere in the western spiral arm of the Galaxy.
There is nothing like cryosleep…
I always had a soft spot for choose-you-own-adventure books. My very first fantasy series was Lone Wolf (in the time when Greek publishing houses gave a damn about anything besides Lord of the Rings) and I had also played Steve Jackson’s series, which I think was called Pyramid. They were ridiculously hard, but rewarding affairs, which I played ragged and still do, every chance I get.
Like Oceans of Liquid Skin was a happy discovery for me, as I hadn’t thought I’d find a book of this kind, never mind one that was actually good. The horror bits are horrible, Wynn’s description of the alien monstrosities is more than just competent and the book feels claustrophobic and keeps you at the edge of your seat from the word go.
One other interesting bit is how the book allows you to take the ‘this is not a horror movie, Dave’ approach and circumvent the disaster, which I found to be a very refreshing (if finally hollow) option. After all, I didn’t get this book to feel safe, did I?
- 100,000 words
- Like Oceans of Liquid Skin has 6 endings that I discovered after about a week of constant play. None of them can (or should) be called a happy one.
- Why are choose-you-own-adventure books out of style?
- Don’t go in the vents. Just…just don’t.
- ES Wynn has a website, but you can also buy Oceans here.
Konstantine Paradias is a Greek science fiction and fantasy writer. He has a blog, called Shapescapes (shapescapes). He’s also hard at work writing a book about Mongols in Zastavas, tearing through Asia all the way to your back yard. He has been offered a chance to know the moment of his demise, which he described as ‘hillarious’.
For comments or plain old contact, you can find him at firstname.lastname@example.org