Picoreview: Ryan North – To Be or Not To Be


You give up on your revenge plan and instead devote your (after)life to being a marine biologist and oceanic cartographer. And it turns out Ghost Marine Biology is pretty advanced compared to Alive Human Marine Biology, due in no small part to how you can hang around on the ocean floor for as long as you want and can’t die.

A fun, clever, metatextual choose-your-own-adventure retelling of The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark in which you can play Hamlet, Ophelia or Hamlet’s Dad. Among the multitude of options available, the choices that follow the plot of the original play are marked with a skull-and-crossbones, but where’s the fun in not messing around with a classic of Western literature? I really enjoyed the extended thank you page that thanks the whole universe and the sequence of events that led up to the book’s creation, going right back to the big bang, illustrated as is only right by diagrammer extraordinaire Randall Munroe of xkcd fame. I also enjoyed Ophelia’s depiction as a tempering voice of reason and the inventor of the thermometer (and, by association, central heating). Oh, and the story thread that sees Hamlet’s dad become a ghost marine biologist, using his ghostly powers to explore the depths of the ocean. Beats the hell out of whining and moaning and talking to skulls, amiright? The book’s illustrations are a bonus: a delightful sample of some of the best artists working in webcomics.


Choose your own path to purchasing To Be Or Not To Be – your adventure starts here!


Poet. Author. Beard. Husband. Dad. Four chickens. Dog. Cat. I can sometimes fix my lawnmower.

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About Adam

I'm a dad and the author of the poetry collections The Third Fruit is a Bird and Not Quite the Man for the Job, the novel Man Bites Dog and the short story collection Heroes and Civilians.

Bookings for public appearances can be made through Booked Out Speakers Agency

This website was created on Dja Dja Wurrung land.
contact: adamatsya@gmail.com
Like what you read?
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Heroes And Civilians, featuring Stories about superheroes, octuplets, giant monsters, rabbits, robots & astronauts, is FREE TO DOWNLOAD RIGHT NOW!

ta-wit ta-woo
Quelle Grammage!
on days when i’m pretending to work at home and avoiding the housework it’s nice to know the TROLL BEWARE sign is only a 15min walk away. i wrote a poem today with a line in it about jazz-handing a gap in reality and I am very proud of that line indeed oh yes. Just a bunch of heroes hangin’. work in progress
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