- "Reader beware, you choose the scare!"
- ―The series' slogan
Give Yourself Goosebumps is a horror fiction gamebook series in which the reader chooses the story. All of the books are credited to R.L. Stine, but many of the books were ghostwritten. The books were written from 1995 to 2000, starting with Escape from the Carnival of Horrors, and ending with All-Day Nightmare. There are fifty books in the series, including special editions, and all of them are currently out of print, except for Please Don't Feed the Vampire!, which was made into a Classic Goosebumps book as a tie-in to the Goosebumps film.
After the success of the original series, Scholastic used R.L. Stine's experience in writing gamebooks to make a spin-off series where there is more than one ending, and the reader can be scared more times than they would be in a regular book. The books are very similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books. On the bottom of the page, there is a choice on what page to go to. They are not meant to be read in numerical order or else it will not make sense.
According to Scholastic, R.L. Stine's contract for the series Give Yourself Goosebumps did not stipulate that Stine had to be the sole author of the series (unlike Stine's contract for the original Goosebumps series). While all of the books are credited to Stine, many of the books were ghostwritten by various authors. Since none of the books credit ghostwriters, the actual authors to many of the books remain unknown. The only book that has been publicly confirmed to be ghostwritten is All-Day Nightmare, which was written by Scott Westerfeld.
There are over twenty endings per book, and the reader often makes choices by flipping a coin, rolling a dice, or other means. If the reader makes the obviously wrong choice, they may be told to go back and pick another option, or they may "die" right there on the spot.
The majority of books in the series have two separate stories based around the same plot line that the reader can take part in. One example of this is in Little Comic Shop of Horrors, which will either be about trying to escape from a comic book, or a basement underneath the shop. The books Escape from the Carnival of Horrors and Return to the Carnival of Horrors both focus on either rides, or sideshow attractions.
In some books, the continuity between scenarios is fairly good, but sometimes it is ignored (Lost in Stinkeye Swamp uses the same plot twist in both main scenarios, but with different origins.) Some of the books, also have a third storyline, generally called a "side story", which only consists of a few endings, and is over and done with after not much time. Some of the side stories, actually have no good ending, and must be avoided - the earliest example of this was Trapped in Bat Wing Hall. In some books, the choice leading to the side story actually appears before the "branch" between the two main stories does.
Checkout Time at the Dead-End Hotel and It Came from the Internet! in the main series, and most of the Special Edition books only had one storyline for the reader. The final book in the Special Edition series, Weekend at Poison Lake, has four full storylines and the reader is a completely different character in each one.
Deaths and bad endings are common in the Give Yourself Goosebumps series. Typically, there are only a few happy endings per book.
In many of the bad endings, the reader dies, but the death is typically implied and not stated directly. Typically, at the end of each plot-line, the reader will be met with the "THE END". Sometimes, this phrase is incorporated into a sentence. Other times, it says simply "END" or has a different phrase all together that makes sense within the ending (like saying "GAME OVER", if the ending involved virtual reality).
In many of the bad endings, the book criticize the reader for their bad decision making or cowardice. In some instances the reader can miss out on the actual adventure by making unadventurous choices; in most of these endings, the book will be somewhat insulting to the reader and point out that they have chosen a "boring" ending. The reader will also be ridiculed if they choose an obviously bad choice; in these instances, the book will usually demand that the reader turn to the "correct" page or suggest that they stop reading.
Types of endings
Although the endings differ between each book, the types of endings you can have achieve are often similar. Some of the most common endings are as follows:
- Permanent transformation
- Slavery or loss of control
- Becoming frozen or transforming into a stationary object (sometimes still aware of surroundings)
- Dying and becoming a ghost or other undead being
- Missing out on the adventure
- Becoming trapped
- Winding up in the wrong time and/or place
- Discovering your true identity
- Getting scolded by the book for picking an obviously bad or wimpy choice
- Surviving the adventure, but with something wrong (like you've been transformed, for example)
- Surviving the adventure, but not accomplishing anything important or having fun
- Surviving the adventure and achieving your goal
While these endings are the most common, there are many more types of endings in each book.
- Escape from the Carnival of Horrors
- Tick Tock, You're Dead!
- Trapped in Bat Wing Hall
- The Deadly Experiments of Dr. Eeek
- Night in Werewolf Woods
- Beware of the Purple Peanut Butter
- Under the Magician's Spell
- The Curse of the Creeping Coffin
- The Knight in Screaming Armor
- Diary of a Mad Mummy
- Deep in the Jungle of Doom
- Welcome to the Wicked Wax Museum
- Scream of the Evil Genie
- The Creepy Creations of Professor Shock
- Please Don't Feed the Vampire!
- Secret Agent Grandma
- Little Comic Shop of Horrors
- Attack of the Beastly Babysitter
- Escape from Camp Run-For-Your-Life
- Toy Terror: Batteries Included
- The Twisted Tale of Tiki Island
- Return to the Carnival of Horrors
- Zapped in Space
- Lost in Stinkeye Swamp
- Shop Till You Drop...Dead!
- Alone in Snakebite Canyon
- Checkout Time at the Dead-End Hotel
- Night of a Thousand Claws
- Invaders from the Big Screen
- You're Plant Food!
- The Werewolf of Twisted Tree Lodge
- It's Only a Nightmare!
- It Came from the Internet
- Elevator to Nowhere
- Hocus-Pocus Horror
- Ship of Ghouls
- Escape from Horror House
- Into the Twister of Terror
- Scary Birthday to You!
- Zombie School
- Danger Time
- All-Day Nightmare
There was going to be a forty-third book in the Give Yourself Goosebumps series. However, early in the year 2000, the Goosebumps franchise ceased production due to R.L. Stine's fallout with Scholastic. The plot details and title are unknown, but the cover artwork by Craig White, which depicts three monstrous penguins, implies that the forty-third book would have been themed around either the Arctic or Antartica.
Tim Jacobus, the illustrator for the original series and Goosebumps Series 2000, illustrated Escape from the Carnival of Horrors; his signature is covered up on the front by Choose from Over 20 Different Scary Endings!, but it is visible on the back. Mark Nagata took over from book two, Tick Tock, You're Dead!, to twenty-four, Lost in Stinkeye Swamp. Craig White illustrated the rest, using computer animation software, from twenty-five, Shop Till You Drop...Dead! to forty-two, All-Day Nightmare and all eight special editions.
Until the twenty-third book, Zapped in Space, the US covers boasted a metallic-holographic prism effect involving a single abstract design repeated on the cover that would change shape or form when it was exposed to different areas of light. All US versions had a single tagline on the back of the book.
In the UK, books until Please Don't Feed the Vampire! had covers that had the majority of their artwork obscured by a slime-like substance.
- There are two books in this series that continue other Goosebumps books. These include Return to Terror Tower, which is a sequel to A Night in Terror Tower from the original series, and Revenge of the Body Squeezers, which is a sequel to Invasion of the Body Squeezers: Part 1 and Part 2 from Goosebumps Series 2000.
- Sometimes characters from other Goosebumps books are mentioned, and some actually appear in cameos, such as Slappy the Dummy and Monster Blood, who appear in Escape from the Carnival of Horrors.
- All Day Nightmare was the last Goosebumps book until Goosebumps Graphix six years later.
References in other Goosebumps media
- The Snake Lady, Muglani, Cronby the Troll, Professor Shock, Fifi the Vampire Poodle, Countess Yvonne, The Annihilator 3000 and the E. Ville Creeper's Plants appear in the Goosebumps film as background monsters.
- Cronby the Troll, Fifi the Vampire Poodle, and the Annihilator 3000 also appear in Goosebumps: The Game. Other monsters from this series that appeared in the game include the Purple Peanut Butter, Officer Murphy, and the Living Mannequins.
|Main series||Original series • Series 2000 • HorrorLand • Hall of Horrors • Most Wanted • SlappyWorld|
|Spin-off series||Tales to Give You Goosebumps • Give Yourself Goosebumps • Goosebumps Presents • Triple Header|