‘To Be Or Not To Be: That is the Adventure’: ‘Hamlet’ Rewritten as Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Book

hamletA choose-your-own-adventure version of Hamlet has raised more than six times its goal on Kickstarter since creator Ryan North made his appeal on November 21st.

The Canadian comic book writer has titled his illustrated version of Hamlet, “To Be Or Not To Be,” and will offer readers the opportunity to guide infamous characters down novel paths. North will also offer Shakespeare enthusiast’s the original¬†storyline¬†options, though he states that, “Shakespeare’s choices didn’t lead to the best ending for the characters. Not by a long shot.”

North’s Hamlet will be updated from Shakespeare’s “original, beautiful, and fancy language,” though will still contain the “big speeches” in their original form.

North explains his choice of Hamlet and his use of the choose-your-own-adventure medium, stating that he has used the story of Hamlet as a starting point, “But a) that’s already a great story because it ends with pretty much everyone in it getting stabbed in the body and b) the story can go in all sorts of fun, crazy directions when you make a choice that Shakespeare didn’t…Also, unlike Shakespeare I didn’t skip over the pirate scene in Hamlet. You get to fight PIRATES. With SWORDS. And yes OF COURSE you can choose which body part you cut off. Why would you write a book where you can’t do that is my question.”

The book’s publisher, Breadpig (publisher of the xkcd book), will donate 100% of its share of profits to the Canadian Cancer Society; North’s wife was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“While we’ve been lucky enough to have a cancer that’s been responding to treatment, cancer is still a terrible, terrible disease. By supporting this book, you’re also supporting research for a cure. That is really cool,” explains North. “But all that aside, I’ve worked to include every amazing thing possible in a book like this. There’s loops, alternate endings, secret paths and things that I’m pretty sure haven’t even been done before in the medium.”

North’s project currently has 4,551 backers with a pledge of $150,412, and 23 days to go.

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