JONATHAN GREEN is a writer of speculative fiction, with more than fifty books to his name. Well known for his contributions to the Fighting Fantasy range of adventure gamebooks, he has also written fiction for such diverse properties as Doctor Who, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, Sonic the Hedgehog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Moshi Monsters, World of Warriors, LEGO and Judge Dredd.
He is the creator of the Pax Britannia series for Abaddon Books and has written eight novels set within this steampunk universe, featuring the debonair dandy adventurer Ulysses Quicksilver. He is also the author of the award-winning, and critically-acclaimed, YOU ARE THE HERO – A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks.
2015 sees the release of two short story collections that he has compiled and edited, SHARKPUNK, an anthology of shark-themed stories, and GAME OVER, made up of horror stories inspired by classic arcade games. To find out more about his current projects visit WWW.JONATHANGREENAUTHOR.COM.
The thing about Alice in Wonderland – or, more correctly, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – is that everybody thinks they know the story. And perhaps they do, but how many of them have actually read Lewis Carroll’s original?
When the book was first published in 1865, there had never been anything quite like it. As a result it became a huge hit, going on to inspire generation after generation of readers, being retold and reinterpreted again and again until it had become so ingrained in our culture and society that there is no escaping it. It has inspired artists, authors, film-makers and directors over and over again, who have gone on to present their own version or interpretation of the tale to the world, so that it remains a staple of children’s fiction today, 150 years after it was first published.
Which brings me to Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland. To mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of the first of Carroll’s Alice stories, I am writing my own sequel in the form of an adventure gamebook, very much in the style of Fighting Fantasy or Choose Your Own Adventure. Other than adventure gamebooks, I am probably most well-known for my Pax Britannia steampunk novels, and so Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland will also include elements of anachronistic Victoriana.
But why even attempt to write a sequel, and why in the form of a gamebook? Wonderland is such a wonderful creation that I felt it deserved revisiting, and I didn’t feel that Tim Burton’s 2010 adaptation did it justice. The proliferation of news pieces about the 150th anniversary planted a seed in my imagination, which ultimately grew into the idea for Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland.
As to why make the sequel a gamebook, why not? If you’ve ever wondered what would have happened if Alice hadn’t drunk from the bottle labelled ‘Drink Me’, or if she hadn’t joined the Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse for tea, or if she had managed to fit through the tiny door that led to the beautiful garden, now you can find out.
The story is set several years after the events of Through the Looking Glass. Alice finds herself back in Wonderland and called upon to save the realm from the increasingly deranged Queen of Hearts. But all is not as it first appears, and soon Alice is battling to save herself from the nightmare that is rapidly overtaking Wonderland.
Much of the inspiration for the encounters in the adventure has come from Carroll’s original works, but with the addition of a dark steampunk twist. The Alice stories are full of so many fantastic and memorable characters and places that it would be wrong not include them in the adventure. Indeed, many familiar faces will feature in the book, but they might not turn up quite as you would expect them to. I’m also going to be incorporating elements from some of Carroll’s other works into the story, although I don’t want to give away too many details just yet. And there are some new elements too, such as the clockwork assassins known as the Tick-Tock Men.
Of course, Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland isn’t just a book, it’s also a game. In the adventure, rather than becoming Alice yourself, YOU guide her through the fluctuating dream world, deciding which route she should take, which perils to risk, and which of Wonderland’s strange denizens to fight. But whether Alice succeeds in her quest, or meets a dire end as the nightmare escalates, will be down to the choices YOU make.
The character of Alice has five different attributes to keep track of during the adventure – Agility, Logic, Insanity, Combat and Endurance – but rather than being determined randomly, the reader gets to decide where our heroine’s strengths and weaknesses lie.
You can play through the adventure as you would many traditional interactive gamebooks, by rolling dice to determine the outcome of battles and other events. However, you may, if you prefer, ditch the dice and use a traditional pack of playing cards to find out what fate has in store for you during the course of the adventure.
Last of all, if you prefer, you can forget the dice rolling and card shuffling altogether, and simply enjoy reading through the story. But even if you choose to enjoy Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland this way, success will still be by no means certain.
Whether you get to experience any of this for yourself, or not, depends on whether the Kickstarter reaches its funding target, of course. Rewards for backers range from digital and physical copies of the book, to art prints of Kev Crossley’s illustrations, to a weekend in Oxford with the author!
You can find out more about the book, and how you can pledge to support the project at the Kickstarter page.
Thank you, and maybe I’ll see you down the rabbit-hole…