To Leave A Bad-Ass Legacy, Turn To The Next Page: “Choose Your Own Adventure” Author Passes Away At 78
To listen to the dinosaur's prophecy, turn to page 31.
The man who gave readers an unprecedented level of literary agency has, in the words of Dumbledore, embarked on “the next great adventure”: Raymond Almiran Montgomery has passed away at 78.
According to a fascinating and comprehensive obituary on the “Choose Your Own Adventure” website, R.A. Montgomery passed away November 9th after a lifetime spent travelling, writing and running his own business. After being “kicked out of Yale Divinity School […] for spending too much time skiing and mountain climbing,” Montgomery spent several years teaching Peace Corps members in North and West Africa before he helped launch an entirely new genre of fiction by publishing author Ed Packard’s role-playing book Sugarcane Island.
Impressed by the educational potential of Sugarcane Island‘s interactive premise, Montgomery decided the novel would be first in a series entitled “The Adventures of You,” later called “Choose Your Own Adventure” after being contracted to Bantam. “Choose Your Own Adventure” went on to sell 250 million copies of over 230 titles in more than 40 languages, becoming the 4th-best-selling children’s series of all time. Montgomery occasionally authored books himself under the pseudonym “Robert Mountain,” but, contrary to standard practice at the time, insisted that “Choose Your Own Adventure” authors be credited under their own names, thereby helping to launch the careers of several aspiring writers.
Throughout his 78 years, Montgomery was passionate about education and promoting literacy, and was consequently adamant the series remain in print to help reluctant readers learn to truly engage in a book. Although illustrations in the series often depict male subjects, the adventures themselves also allowed an unprecedented number of readers to see themselves projected in the protagonist role, regardless of race, gender, or body type.
Montgomery’s final “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, Gus vs. The Robot King, was published last September. A movie based on his book Choose Your Own Adventure: Mystery of the Maya is currently in development at Fox.