Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mazes and Monsters, cover to cover... I

We've all heard about the really poor film Mazes and Monsters starring Tom Hanks. It was based on a book By Rona Jaffe a moderately accomplished author, she has 17 more books published than I do, one of them was lamentably Mazes and Monsters published in 1981.

The book and film were controversial to some, hated by others. It was a very fictionalized spin on misreported actual events, the real story can be found elsewhere. I vaguely recall seeing the film itself, it was clearly nonsense at the time.

My mother got me the book sometime in the mid 80's and was glad she found me a book that was D&D related (and for a sale price). At first I was outraged...she had no idea what evils the book had wrought and clearly didn't recall seeing the horrible movie (she may have luckily missed it). I avoided going off on much of a pique and didn't' throw a tantrum or dispose of the book in the nearest trash can, Eventually I ended up reading it and not hating it all that much.

For some reason I can't recall why it's been sitting on one of my bookshelves collecting dust for the past few years while a host of other books languish in storage. there's been some buzz about Mazes and Monsters out there on the internet again so I figured it was time to re-read the book. I have read it in about 25 years and my views of literature have likely evolved some since I was younger. A re-reading of "Mazes and Monsters" by Rona Jaffe seemed a good idea to share with you, oh gentle reader, on this blog.

The dust jacket is white with a blue grid and tells us Rona Jaffe in big blue letters, is the author of "Class Reunion" a book I've never read. In smaller stylized type the tittle of the book is shown to us as a sort of dungeon map style and among the title is a small red heart. A small read heart you ask, what can that have to do with Dungeons and...I mean Mazes and Monsters?

Here are a few excerpts from the dust jacket: "It was only a game...", "four friends brought together by their obsession with a game of imagination", "They could have been anyone's kids: attractive young students sent to college to prepare for life, offered the American Dream. Yet rejected it for their secret fantasy world, Why?"," The game fulfilled their needs. But then they took it a step too far"

Hmmm...looks like we could be dealing with a cautionary tale here. The dust jacket goes on to tell us Rona Jaffe is taking us into the lives of today's generation of college students and the book is a terrifying thriller, the book is filled with treasures for the reader that will make it the most extraordinary read of the year ( I hope not,I just got back to the Children of Hurin which I'm also reading).

So there we are...how could I not continue reading after that fascinating dust jacket?
I must crack the spine for I am dying to refresh my feeble memory and delve into this perceptive work of breathtaking depth where the loves and needs of a group of youths ensnared by the strange phenomenon of Mazes and Monsters is revealed (according to the dust jacket).

more to come


  1. Oh, then you'll LOVE this: Blog of Holding has been watching the original M&M movie and extrapolating the gameplay in order to create an actual PLAYABLE retroclone of Mazes and Monsters. I've been following the progress and it's been a fascinating read:


  2. May need to poke around a bit as the list of entries is incomplete. Here's the most recent one detailing combat:


  3. Thanks Sniderman, I've come across blogofholding recently-ish and it's got to be part of what inspired me to dig in and reread the novel.