​R.A. Montgomery Adventure: Children’s Book Series Author Dies In Vermont Home

By:
Staff Reporter
Nov. 15, 2014

R.A. Montgomery ‘Adventure’ book series author has died at the age of 78, but his family has not revealed the cause of death.

Montgomery passed away at his home in Vermont on Sunday, according to The Inquisitr. The author contributed many books to the Choose Your Own Adventure series, created in the late 1970s. A statement issued by the books’ current publishers was released.

“Montgomery, who was passionate about education all his life, felt that interactive fiction was critical to reluctant readers in achieving reading fluency, which is the final stage of achieving true literacy.”

He and his former wife, Constance Cappel, published four books at Vermont Crossroads Press that would later be included in the Bantam “Choose” series. These books were named “The Cave of Time,” “Journey Under the Sea,” “By Balloon to the Sahara,” and “Space and Beyond.” Montgomery penned more than 50 books for this series and its various offspring, including books in a series for younger readers.

The R.A. Montgomery ‘Adventure’ book series published 184 titles through Bantam Books between 1979 and 1998, including many by the author himself and several by his sons Ramsey and Anson. It was one of the most popular children’s series of all time, with over 250 million books in print, according to TMZ. Since its original publication, the series has been popular with both reluctant and advanced readers.

It has also been used in classrooms from elementary school to college. At the advent of the Internet age, the series was used frequently in curricula focused on explaining the interactivity of the world wide web to young children. Montgomery and partner Shannon Gilligan re-issued some books of the initial “Choose” series through Chooseco LLC, in Waitsfield, Vermont.

The re-release was featured in the LA Times and Newsweek magazine, and an electronic version of the first book in the relaunch, The Abominable Snowman, was available as an interactive download for iPod. He rewrote a 450-page draft of a novel about modern-day China.

Montgomery said that he wanted to travel and encourage culturally distinct Choose Your Own Adventure books from writers and illustrators in all parts of the world.

The R.A. Montgomery ‘Advensture’ book series is still popular today. Montgomery was born in Connecticut in 1936. He graduated from Williams College and attended graduate school at Yale University and New York University (NYU).

Originally created for 10- to 14-year-olds, the books are written in the second person. The protagonist-that is, the reader-takes on a role relevant to the adventure; for example, private investigator, mountain climber, race car driver, doctor, or spy. Stories are generally gender and race neutral, though in some cases, particularly in illustrations, a male bias is evident.

In some stories, the protagonist is implied to be a child, whereas in other stories, he/she is presumably a young adult.

The stories are formatted so that, after a couple of pages of reading, the protagonist faces two or three options, each of which leads to more options, and then to one of many endings. The number of endings is not set, and varies from as many as 40 in the early titles, to as few as 12 in later adventures. Likewise, there is no clear pattern among the various titles regarding the number of pages per ending, the ratio of “good” to “bad” endings, or the reader’s progression backwards and forwards through the pages of the book.

This book series allows for a realistic sense of unpredictability, and leads to the possibility of repeat readings, which is one of the distinguishing features of the books.

As the R.A. Montgomery ‘Adventure’ book series progressed, both Packard and Montgomery experimented with the gamebook format, sometimes introducing unexpected twists such as endless page loops or trick endings, notes The Toronto Sun. Examples include the “paradise planet” ending in Inside UFO 54-40, which can only be reached by cheating or turning to the wrong page by accident, and the potentially endless storyline in Race Forever.

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