Nathan Penlington interviews Diego Arandojo: ‘Edward Packard is a very important person’ | Men Who Stare At Books

July 14, 2014, Article by Tom in Books


The Boy in the Book author Nathan Penlington interviews Diego Arandojo, the creator of A Musical Tribute to Edward Packard: Master of Adventure, a musical salute to the genius behind the Choose Your Own Adventure books…

Many of my passions are what you could call niche. One of those passions however led me on an adventure that would change my life, an adventure that is documented in The Boy in the Book. It started with my obsession for Choose Your Own Adventure books, the revolutionary series that began in 1979 with The Cave of Time by Edward Packard. The book turned the notion of storytelling on its head, no longer were you just the passive observer of a narrative, you were the main protagonist of the story and each page offered you decision about what would happen next.

It was my birthday a few weeks ago and Sam Smaïl, one of the film makers I’ve been collaborating with on a live documentary version of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, gave me a present that instantly out niched my niche – a CD titled A Musical Tribute to Edward Packard: Master of Adventure (GH Records / LG933/CD02). The track listings are all titles of Edward Packard books – The Mystery of Chimney Rock, Inside UFO 54-40, Space Vampire. My brain instantly exploded with excitement.

Tribute albums are a risky proposition; Radiodread instantly springs to mind. So it’s with a reggae version of Subterranean Homesick Alien looping through my brain that I press play on the CD player. The lounge fills with genre based film soundtracks – detective, horror, space – that sound like they’ve coincidently been pushed through a Radiohead filter tuned to Hail to the Thief. An ambient soundscape of shifting adventures, swings of tone and mood, montage of samples and style. In short it’s great.

I’m so taken with this album that I needed to know more – I mean what compels someone to fuse electronica with an iconic series of children’s books? So, I tracked down project creator Diego Arandojo to talk about the creation and inspiration behind the Master of Adventure.

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Nathan: What makes Choose Your Own Adventure so special?

Diego: My first contact with Choose Your Own Adventure was when I was a little boy. For us, Latin Americans, Choose Your Own Adventure in the 80s and 90s was very important, they were a kind of teacher, a book teacher. These books were my first experience with reading. I still remember them well, because in each one I lived a different adventure. It was a very powerful experience.

For me Edward Packard is a very important person, thanks to him and his books, I became a reader and then through the years I became a writer. I work here in television as a script writer, and also on comic books. Choose Your Own Adventure was like an invisible school.

So, I can think that Choose Your Own Adventure was for me very special. The interview gave me the perfect excuse to read again the Choose Your Own Adventure books that I have in my library, which are more than 100. It was really delicious, going back in time, reading these marvellous books →

Nathan Penlington interviews Diego Arandojo: ‘Edward Packard is a very important person’ | Men Who Stare At Books

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