One of the key components to a Choose Your Own Adventure book is the series of death pages. (If you haven't played/read one, these are pages to which you turn when selecting a seemingly nonlethal choice.)
A new book charges that the internet ruining boys. Specifically, "Video game and porn addictions" are bringing about The Demise of Guys (2012).
From the TED Books catalog copy,
excessive use of videogames and online porn is creating a generation of shy and risk-adverse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment.
More, "our young men are suffering from a new form of 'arousal addiction'".
I haven't grabbed a copy yet, but this CNN editorial by the authors looks descriptive. First, porn:
A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that "regular porn users are more likely to report depression and poor physical health than nonusers are. ... The reason is that porn may start a cycle of isolation. ... Porn may become a substitute for healthy face-to-face interactions, social or sexual."
Similarly, video games also go wrong when the person playing them is desensitized to reality and real-life interactions with others.Violence in video games is often synonymous with success. Children with more of a propensity for aggression are more attracted to violent video media, but violent media, in turn, can also make them more aggressive.
So far this seems like a mix of classic fearsome digital media discourse: games cause violent behavior, porn saps real life intercourse and relationships, children (boys) are at risk of corruption, medical language (addiction), a high firewall between virtual and offline lives.
Some classic Ambrose Bierce stories have new, free readings for your downloading and listening pleasure. Libribox has unleased two:
Can Such Things Be? has some classic stories, like early robot tale "Moxon's Master". Plus there's "The Damned Thing," "An Inhabitant of Carcosa", and more dark, sarcastic goodies. Roger Melin offers a solid reading, with a solid, deep voice.
In The Midst of Life focuses on the American Civil War, with horror favorites like "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge" and "Chickamauga". David Wales reads quietly, thoughtfully, with care.
I wish I had a better sense of why people don't love these stories more. Perhaps southerners prefer less horrific tales about their Lost Cause, and yanks really never cared that deeply after 1875 or so.
If you don't know Librivox, it's a superb thing. Free, volunteer-read podcasts, sans advertising.
Another take on Dracula and new media is iDracula. Bekka Black takes key scenes and passages, transfers them to current digital platforms (iPad, phone, etc), and updates the content a bit.
From: Mina Murray
To: Jonathan Harker
Subject: Renfield slipping in and out
Sent: June 13 8:27 PM Jonathan, I miss you. I wish you could have come when we visited Renfield today. Am attaching a photo of the gates. Kinda cool looking, but only if you know you can get right back out.
He looks terrible. He’s lost about 20 pounds and his face is yellowish. It was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. I didn’t cry, but my eyes got full and I had to do that blinky thing you hate.
Lucy stared at him with her mouth open, like a bird at a snake, so I had to do the talking. Why do I always have to step in and do the yucky stuff? Here’s how it went:
Renfield: I must consume life forces to be strong. He decreed it. He has come to me even here. And He decreed it.
Me (keeping one eye on the door and wishing you were there): Randy, how are you?
Renfield: Weak. I must eat live meat. Could you get me a kitten? A soft little kitten?
Me: No. (Eww. Do you think he’d really eat one?)
Consider this the latest in a century+ tradition of translating Stoker's novel to new media. It started with stage, then radio, then film.
It's "a phantasmagoric bodyshock horror story that focuses on the tenets of extreme gluttony and one creature’s psycho-compulsive desire to consume the world around him."
Taking cues from Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s conception of horror isn’t a hyperbolic focus on blood and viscera, nor is it concerned with gothic notions of ghosts or death: rather, the anathema is an internalised grotesque; it is the body itself that is to be feared, treacherous from the inside and predisposed to intense bloating, mutation and the eventual emergence of the literal monster from within.
Most shocking, however, is the book’s horrific dénouement in which (spoilers ahead…) the Caterpillar descends into a life of abject reclusion, shutting himself away for an undisclosed period of time before an act of eclosion which sees an entirely different creature emerge from the now empty shell of our hero’s grossly disproportionate and outsized body.