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About the Story
"You have a weird rash on your arm, so you head to the medical clinic in search of a cure. In your way stand impenetrable bureaucracy, predatory aliens, nurses with a penchant for amputation, and your own mortal clock ticking towards your death. Good luck. " - Alive and Narrating
Nominee, Best Short Story - Nebula Awards 2016
Alive and Narrating
2017 Nebula Nomination Thoughts: Short Stories
Normally I’m not a fan of “Choose Your Own Adventure”-inspired stories. Caroline M. Yoachim’s version worked for me because it retains a somewhat linear narrative and meta-narratively taunts the reader for following—or failing to follow—the directions. A fun, quick read.
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WttMCatIRS|HStLPD:0 is essentially a short story masquerading as a CYOA but is meant to be read from beginning to end as nearly every choice leads to the subsequent section, and it becomes patently clear that Z is the death-end. It gets extra stars since I enjoy this kind of snark, but is not really interactive. The author lampshades this more than once.
The humor is pleasantly amusing and an effective parody of classic Choose Your Own Adventure fare chronicling your adventure as a human getting a rash checked out in the medical bay on a space station. The setting is a casual riff on Douglas Adams and the satire gets across that, yes, seeing a doctor is difficult, but none of it bites due to a lack of actual "bureaucracy" since you slide right through the choices and experience much less hold up than an actual patient would.
It's short and doesn't overstay its welcome, reading very much like a clever tutorial-walkthrough that Infocom would write for the reader as an introduction to a longer CYOA. This would also be a good short example for people who want to know how choice-narratives work without actually committing to reading a long one.
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