There used to be a series of adventure puzzle books at the local library where I grew up, and I have been having a real hard time tracking them down.

  • SciFi was a constant theme. As far as I remember, the books always took place on alien planets, or some other SciFi setting.
  • The books almost always involved having to escape from some sort of predicament.
  • The books were non-linear. For example, you might be asked to pick a direction and flip to a differant page. You might be given multiple possible solutions to a puzzle, each one pointing to a differant page. This was a less common element, as these books were not of the "choose your own adventure" sort, however, if you took the wrong path you could die.
  • The books were vivid in colour, and had particularly strange artwork (even for a SciFi book - though these were the impressions of a 10 year old boy).
  • In one book, the hero crash lands on an uncharted alien planet. Throughout the pages, the hero points out the particularly odd and amazing creatures and phenomenon encountered on the planet.
  • I remember one scene where the hero has to escape from some giant alien frogs.
  • In another scene, the hero is presented with a sort of maze, with three exits. Two exits led to other pages, and could be played on until successful completion. One exit led to the hero dieing a grizzly death.
  • I read these books in a library in Sydney, Australia. At the very latest, I would have read them up to 1999.
  • As I previously stated, the books heavily featured interesting art work depictions of the scene and puzzle. As such, the books were fairly large - about as tall as an A4 page, but wider.
  • I'm pretty sure my brother had one of these books. I've asked him if he remembers the name. Did the protagonist have a robot buddy, perchance?
    – Buzz
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 2:12
  • Was the art work you refer to only on the cover or throughout the book? I'm wondering if this is the Fighting Fantasy series. Some of the were a bit more sci-fi than fantasy. I remember one where the protagonist was force to enter some kind of gladiatorial combat on an alien planet.
    – Darren
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 13:04
  • @Darren, the entire book.
    – Gnemlock
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 14:33

2 Answers 2


I believe you are describing The Planet of Terror, from the Puzzle Master series, by Patrick Burston and illustrator Alastair Graham. My brother had a copy of this book in the 1990s, although I am not familiar with the other Puzzle Master works, which include The Castle of Fear, the Island of Horror, and The Sea of Menace. They do not all appear to have science fiction themes, but several of them look plausibly SF.

My brother's book was fairly large, as you describe it, and the interior artwork by Alastair Graham was indeed quite striking. There are numerous adventure puzzles and mazes with exits to different other pages, including a page with giant alien frogs. (The frogs are on the correct path to the solution, if I remember right.)

  • Looks cool, but I cant really tell. I'd really need to see one of the pages, but I'm not having any luck finding any, online. Might have to go check it out at a library.
    – Gnemlock
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 22:20
  • @Gnemlock I found a number of different covers searching online, but none of the interior pages. Maybe my brother or my parents know where the book is and could find it to shoot a few interior snaps.
    – Buzz
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 0:20
  • I have attempted to purchase the linked book, but Amazon wont ship to my address. Ill try to track it down from the library. If correct, Ill take some pictures to add to your answer when I accept it.
    – Gnemlock
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 1:53
  • 1
    if correct, the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/40325/…
    – Otis
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 17:09

I was looking for similar books to which you are referring. The one's mentioned above looked too child-like for me, so I continued my search and found "Be an Interplanetary Spy".

This twelve-book series designed by Byron Preiss Visual Publications was published by Bantam Books starting in 1983. The books combined the simple branching-story structure of the Choose Your Own Adventure books with visual puzzles; the ultimate result is a very heavily illustrated, video game-like gamebook series. Because the books encourage the reader to write in them, it's somewhat difficult to find "clean" copies.


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