Find the Kirillian! and The Galactic Pirate – Review

Science Fiction & Fantasy Review, No. 17, September 1983, p. 44.

McEvoy, Seth. Find the Kirillian! Bantam, NY, June 1983, 121 p. $1.95, paper. ISBN 0-553-23506-0. Be An Interplanetary Spy #1.

McEvoy, Seth. The Galactic Pirate. Bantam, NY, June 1983. 121 p. $1.95, paper. ISBN 0-553-23507-9. Be An Interplanetary Spy #2.

These are nothing more than puzzle books. A structured approach, similar to program learning texts, is used to guide the reader (player?) through various mazes, symbol manipulations, and pattern and logic problems. Incorrect solutions terminate the “mission,” and often the player (reader?). Since many of the puzzles involve writing all over the book, libraries are not likely to be interested, but children (“9 and up”) who enjoy puzzles might like them.

What adults think may be another matter. SF jargon, comic book art by Marc Hempel and Mark Wheatley, and simple plots are used to suggest that these are something extraordinary. Bantam’s accompanying news release claims the series is designed “to help bridge the gap between the arcade and the bookshelf,” and the back covers of both books loudly claim: “MORE THAN A VIDEO GAME! YOU MAKE THE DECISIONS!” The credits on the verso of the title pages would do justice to a movie, mentioning fifteen people and seventeen organizations, institutions, and publications. Personally, I couldn’t bring myself to give a child such a book. [Two more titles in the series, #3: Robot World, and #4: Space Olympics, were due in August.] — Lawrence I. Charters


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