Gamebook store

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Apple's Halloween picks

I don't particularly regard Frankenstein as a horror story myself, or even science fiction, distrusting as I do the facile taxonomy of genre labels. At the same time, I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and still less a gift kelpie, so the fact that Apple have chosen my interactive Frankenstein novel as one of their Halloween picks on iTunes is surely cause to rattle dem bones in celebration. And as an extra fillip, I just heard that FutureBook has shortlisted it for their 2012 Innovation Awards. Oh, the dizzying brew of critical acclaim, even here in the humble vestibule of fame that is British digital publishing.

Frankenstein was launched as an iOS-only app in April - much to the ire of many who chose a digital path other than the one marked out by Apple. If your e-reader of choice is Android-based, or a Kindle, you won't have long to wait for the ebook versions. They'll be released too late for Halloween, but after all Christmas Eve is also a time for spooky stories.

And in any case, Frankenstein is more a tragedy or even a thriller than it is a horror tale - if we have to pigeon-hole it - and it's a story that is powerfully compelling whatever the season. Here's a little taste:

* * *

It isn’t hard to track the official. He leaves heading north and you find his horse at the first inn on that road. Hidden in the hedge, you wait until the last drinker staggers out and the lights are put out. Creeping up to the window, you see his two guards stretched out on wooden pallets in the common room. With the aid of an apple tree you climb up to the next floor and look in. The first room has two figures – the innkeeper and his wife, probably. In the next window, you see the official's floppy red cap.

The catch yields to the pressure of your hand. You ease yourself into the room. In the bed lies the man you seek. You hear his breathing change, sense the stiffening of his body.

‘You’re awake,’ you say to him. ‘Don’t try to cry out.’

‘Who are you?’ He is trying to speak loudly, you think, both to assert himself and to rouse his guards. But fear has made his voice a dry whisper.

‘Today you threatened friends of mine.’

‘The De Lacys?’ He sits up, reaches for a taper beside him.

* * *

Where's this scene going, do you think? Towards a calm discussion à la Voltaire's salon, or into the gory excesses of the Grand Guignol? The monster's moral development is entirely in your hands.


  1. Hi, was just wondering why the chronicles of the magi isn't available through kindle?