This was a book I would have read some time in the mid-90s, in English. I describe it as "CYOA-like" because I don't know whether it was specifically part of the Choose Your Own Adventure line or a different branching-story book. It featured a spaceship with a young (teen, I think) captain (who may have been the only crew - I think either he was alone, or any other humans aboard were in suspended animation or similar) and an intelligent computer. The ship was launched in or near the year 2066 and so either it and/or the computer were called Hastings in commemoration of the battle in 1066.

I think it was one of those branching stories where the different paths don't necessarily make sense in continuity with each other. I remember in one there was a reference to something like Transformers (which presumably means the book must have been written at least after the mid-80s), describing some aliens encountered as resembling "transforming Japanese robots" or similar. The computer is antagonistic in at least some of the routes. I remember the ending that felt most like the "real" end to me involved time travel somehow: the main character ended up traveling back in time to before the ship was launched, possibly back to the "present day" of publication or even the recent past. There was some twist where either the disaster the ship was caught up in (possibly an AI takeover) or a disaster the ship had launched to escape (e.g. environmental collapse on Earth) would be averted because the character had changed history - I think by means such as bringing back a virus or microorganism that attacked technology, so the ship or computer could never be built. What I recall most clearly is that the one thing he had left was a Voyager-style golden record or CD, which contained valuable information but which he had no ready means to access. He notes the difficulty of explaining to anyone who asks that the reason it was made of gold is because it was created for use in space.

1 Answer 1


This is surely The Second Conquest by Allen Sharp, a choose-your-own adventure type book, published in 1985. The cover blurb confirm the main points in the question:

The year is 2066. Orbiting high above the Earth is a space platform which has been used to construct a giant space ship. The ship, which is to make the first manned exploration of the outer planets, is almost ready for launch. You are one of the technicians working round the clock to complete the final checks on the ship. Two hours into the night shift of August 24th, news reaches you that nuclear war has begun on Earth. Those aboard the ship decide to launch it into space. There is only one aboard with the knowledge to run the ship - a talking computer, called Hastings.

  • That definitely sounds like it! I'd have sworn the player character was more special somehow than a random technician who ends up there by accident, but that's memory for you. I'll wait a bit before accepting in case others turn up more details.
    – Amanadiel
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 13:24

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