Here at the Retroist we’ve talked about the Choose Your Own Adventure book series before and some of the knock-offs like the Endless Quest and Twistaplot books, but here’s a brand I had never seen until recently: the Find Your Fate adventure books, starring Indiana Jones.
When I saw this book for sale at a local book store for a buck, I couldn’t pass it up. Like most books of the genre, the goal of this one is to help Indiana find some treasure (the “Lost Treasure of Sheba”) and keep him alive in the process. In the book you are not Indiana but rather his young friend (probably an easier character for young readers to relate to).
The book is also filled with lots of illustrations.
“Don’t just sit there, Indy — the Lost Treasure of Sheba (c) awaits!”
(Not your friends.)
I read the book through a couple of different paths the other night. Although the writing was good, I didn’t think the adventure was particularly exciting. Then again that could be because I am no longer a member of the book’s younger target audience.
According to the Indiana Jones Wiki, there were seventeen Find Your Fate adventure books. Books 1-9 feature Indiana Jones, books 10-15 feature other protagonists (including James Bond), and books 16 and 17 again star Dr. Jones. Fans of the genre will not be surprised to learn that several of the books were written by R. L. Stine, who wrote several other Choose Your Own Adventure books for competing brands. Through Google I also discovered that there were several other lines of “Find Your Fate” books, including books for GI Joe, Jem and the Holograms, and the Transformers. Sounds like more things I will have to track down now.
As I was writing this article I just noticed something. In the book, your (and your father’s) last name is Ballentyne. The Find Your Fate books were published by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House. Coincidence?
Yes, Storm Shadow is awesome, and Snake Eyes is the prototype of awesome. Heck, even Jinx was pretty cool. All are ninja-like characters who are worthy of the love they still get today. I ask, though, where’s the love for Firefly?
I’m not sure if I had Snake Eyes or not. I’m pretty sure I didn’t have Storm Shadow (though I could be wrong). But I know I had Firefly. In my mind, he was just as awesome as SE or SS. He had a lithe camo outfit that was pretty ninja-like, and he was an infiltration expert, which is pretty ninja-like as well. In my mind, that made him a ninja, which is exactly how I used him.
Cool as I thought Firefly was, though, there were a couple of things I didn’t understand about him. I somehow understood that he was an infiltration and demolitions expert. But I didn’t understand that he was a mercenary and I certainly didn’t understand that he belonged to Cobra. I thought he was a Joe!
In all likelihood, the confusion comes from the fact that I often traded toys with the neighborhood kids, meaning that I would receive the toys without the packaging and the instruction manuals. So I had never read Firefly’s file card or seen the Cobra logo on his blister pack. I just saw him and had to make up my own story for him, which I did, turning him from Cobra saboteur to Joe wild card. But even though he wasn’t as noble as I thought he was, I still think he is worth some love.
GI Joe customizer drbindy put together and posted his interpretation of what Johnny Quest would look like all grown up and as a member of Cobra (as Jon Quest)?!? He is put together with parts from Platoon, Torpedo, Snake Eyes, Ninja Ku, Shipwreck, CP Stormshadow, Cobra Commander and Shipwreck. Great work.
Back when I was growing up, Star Wars figures were hot, but then along came the all new GI Joe figures and 90% of my friends went off and bought them. Once we started playing with the Joes, all we would hear from adult men is how cool THEIR GI Joe were. Now I gotta admit, those tall Joes were really cool, but I still like the smaller scale ones myself. On thing I couldn’t get from my round of GI Joe, was this sweet combat watch that Hake’s is auctioning off.
A lot of toys went over big among my friends, but one I remember making a particularly large “splash”, was the GI-Joe Hovercraft. The Hovercraft belonged to a friend of mine and when he brought it over post x-mas, all everyone could think was “I cannot wait for summer so that we can get that thing in the pool.” My friend was not shy about using his toys and as soon as summer struck, we took that thing in every chlorinated body of water we could find. Here is the thing about playing with it that we did not expect.
We would pack the thing to the gills with Joes who were going on a secret mission. We would than start playing, things would turn from play to roughhousing and the hovercraft often bore the brunt of it. It did not take long before the thing got waterlogged enough to sink to the bottom with all hands lost. So what should have a joyful plaything that guaranteed the land/water superiority of America’s elite fighting force instead became a reminder of the fragile nature of life and the dangers faced by our hovercraftborne fighting men around the globe.