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The greatest work IN English literature, now in the greatest format OF English literature: a chooseable-path adventure!
The greatest work IN English literature, now in the greatest format OF English literature: a chooseable-path adventure!
15,352 backers pledged $580,905 to help bring this project to life.

Five great artists, plus talking up murder with a ghost

Posted by Ryan North (Creator)

Yesterday we broke $175k and did it shortly after I was on the radio, talking to CBC's As It Happens about this project (I show up at about 11:15). It's been stunning to see how well this project has been received! I'm kinda running out of words to describe how great this experience is.

Since we broke $175k that means the book gets better, and today's surprise is there's five more awesome artists whose sweet art you'll be seeing illustrating To Be Or Not To Be. They are:

Again, I can't say how exciting it is to get to work with each of these people! This book is really turning into something special, you guys. Ahh!

So: STORY. We as Ophelia met the ghost with Hamlet, and had to decide whether to go with Option Facebook and question his identity, or go with Option Twitter and ask him why he just doesn't murder Claudius himself. We got more votes than ever this time (and way more votes that voted in rhyme) (see what I did there) and OPTION TWITTER was the clear winner! So let's do that thing we just decided to do!

But I should mention that part of the money we're raising is for editing this book, so you're seeing the PRE-EDIT ROUGH DRAFT version. Thanks for any typos you catch, but I can only edit these posts for half an hour after they're posted, so sometimes these errors are destined to remain forever and ever here but will indeed be fixed in the book!

It doesn't matter who he is, the real question is if this ghost is so big into murdering dudes why he doesn't just murder Claudius himself? Riddle him THAT.

"Excuse me," you say. The ghost pretends not to hear you. "Excuse me, Mister... Ghost?" you inquire, raising your hand.

"Sup." says the ghost.

"Hamlet tells me you want him to kill King Claudius," you say.

"Yeppers." says the ghost.

"Well, you'll pardon my rudeness, but - why does a ghost need someone else to commit a murder? Ghosts can bang pots around or whatever. Can't you just sneak up behind him and hit him over the head with one?"

Hamlet pulls you aside. "Ophelia, what are you doing?"

"I'm asking a question." you say.

"Who is this creature?" asks the ghost.

"Who am I?" you reply, incredulously. "Don't you know? Aren't you Hamlet Sr.?"

"She has her doubts." Hamlet explains to the ghost. The ghost again addresses you. "You doubt me?" he bellows.

"I seek proof." you say, standing your ground. The ghost becomes angrier, redder, almost changing shape. Lightning crackles around him.

"THEN HERE IS THE PROOF YOU SEEK!" he bellows, as a tremendous bolt of lightning flashes out to you.

Rather than electrocuting you, the lightning actually forms itself into a pleasant letter that deposits itself into your hand! In it Hamlet Sr. explains that ghosts can bang pots together, but it's hard, and something like murder is tricky enough to pull off when you're corporeal. Makes sense. The note goes on to mention some of the fun times you've had together in the past and some of your secret shared jokes too. You laugh when you read them. Oh man, this is Hamlet’s dad, that's for sure!

You have added the NICE NOTE to your inventory!

But already you know it's like a birthday card, which you'll keep for a while and then wonder when you should throw it out. The sentiment inside is still sweet, but are you going to keep a giant stack of birthday cards, growing ever larger until you're 80? No. So let's say you dropped it now! Less heartbreak that way.

You have dropped the NICE NOTE.

The only option here is "Talk about that murder thing with the ghost", so let's do that!

Talk about that murder thing with the ghost

You go over the basics of the murder plot with the ghost and Hamlet. And, surprise, you see some flaws in it that Hamlet didn't articulate.

"So Hamlet is supposed to murder Claudius," you say.

"Yes," Hamlet and the ghost reply, in unison. Then they notice they replied in unison and fist-bump each other. The ghost's fist goes through Hamlet's fist and stops a little inside it, but you can see what they were going for.

"And then Claudius will be dead and Hamlet will be king," you say.

"Yes," Hamlet and the ghost reply, in unison again. And then they fist bump each other again and it's even more off than the first time. They're not even aligned horizontally with each other. Come on, guys.

"So what's to prevent Claudius from becoming a ghost and seeking his own revenge?" you say, raising one eyebrow.

"Um," says the ghost.

"In fact, can ghosts kill each other? Because then the best case for us is that one of you ghost-kills the other and then considers himself revenged. Worst case is that you can't kill each other but instead exist as ghosts forever, which means the two of you -- each with an endless list of sins remembered from long before anyone left alive here was born -- continue to meddle in the living world, revenging yourself against each other, back and forth, for years and millennia to come."

"Oh um, I think - " the ghost begins, then coughs awkwardly. "No, - um, yeah, I think you only become a ghost under certain circumstances." says the ghost.

"Like being murdered when you still have things you want to complete on this mortal plane?" you ask.

"Oh. Right. That'd apply to Claudius too," the ghost says. "Huh."

Two options here, Ophelia!

OPTION SENSIBLE: Continue talking the ghost out of murder
OPTION KILL SOME DUDES: Make a counterargument for murder being a good idea



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    1. Missing avatar

      Signe Birch Jensen on

      This is a tough one
      As killing people is fun
      But as the burden of science is terrible,
      I'm voting for option sensible

    2. Gabriella Ripoll on

      Though perhaps she should say, "Yo, I'm outtie,"
      I must say I'm going for option Marty.
      (Partial rhyme, yo.)

    3. Missing avatar

      Leah Dehnel on

      For the clever Ophelia to kill would be incomprehensible
      Therefore I must choose option SENSIBLE

    4. Missing avatar

      Richard Fitch on


    5. Oldtimeypro on

      Though the logic is rather crude,
      I'd like to see her change her mood,
      And after her eloquent critique,
      Resolve to kill herself a dude

    6. Missing avatar

      Azhdrake on

      Let's keep this tale comprehensible,
      Surly we should go for what is SENSIBLE.

    7. Ian Gazzotti on

      SENSIBLE's the way to go!

    8. Mary-Ann Wyatt on

      Any other option is indefensible
      Let us hear about OPTION SENSIBLE.

    9. Justin Tonarelli on

      However the way you may put it,
      Ophelia must act when she shouldn't,
      Even though the family must resolve the feud,
      It's time to fucking KILL SOME DUDES.

    10. Missing avatar

      Iris Close on

      i think i'd like to hear that counterargument. let's KILL SOME DUDES.

    11. Missing avatar

      George Harris on

      Kill some dudes. All the dudes!

    12. Adam Ford on

      KILL SOME DUDES, dudes

    13. Emily Rehm on

      Let's KILL SOME DUDES!

    14. Timmo Warner on

      Kill some dudes, please.

    15. Tasha Rivera on

      It would be reprehensible
      To be anything but SENSIBLE

    16. Manny on

      KILL SOME DUDES. What are you, Ophelia? CHICKEN?

    17. Matt Crawford on

      Well sir I don't want to be rude,
      But I prefer to kill some dudes.

    18. Missing avatar

      Kristina P on

      Option sensible: you're a scientist, you can't completely switch logical tacks mid-conversation!

    19. Becky Stodola on

      Away for the weekend,
      our impatience be stewed.
      With only 1 choice,
      let's KILL SOME DUDES!

    20. Missing avatar

      Debra Everett-Lane on

      It may be rude
      It may not be shrewd
      It may demonstrate a bad attitude
      But I vote that we KILL SOME DUDES!

    21. Missing avatar

      Benjamin Liu on

      Option KILL SOME DUDES

    22. Roxane Tourigny on

      Let's kill some dudes and the 200k target!

    23. Dianne King on

      Option: KILL SOME DUDES

    24. Missing avatar

      Zeke Willey on

      We should be using science to KILL SOME DUDES!

    25. Missing avatar

      Matt Klein on

      The psychopath inside me thus concludes:
      It's time we check out option KILL SOME DUDES.

    26. Kelly Tran on

      OPTION SENSIBLE: Continue talking the ghost out of murder

    27. Tyme on

      Three days!

      Let's kill some dudes then.

    28. Missing avatar

      Andrew O on

      Kill some dudes, anon.

    29. Daniel Brown on

      Dear Ophelia has a gift for science,
      Which could well have murderous appliance.
      So come my friends, let us not be prudes,
      We will don our lab coats, and KILL SOME DUDES.

    30. Missing avatar

      Spectra on

      Kill Some Dudes.

      I actually would prefer 'sensible', story-wise, but the name of the other option is just too rad not to pick.

    31. Missing avatar

      bluedyn on

      Judging by the sensible climate,
      Seems the group forgot about pirates.
      Surely we want to start some feuds
      With seafaring scalawags, let's KILL SOME DUDES!

    32. Cara Berger on

      Option Kill Some Dudes

    33. Missing avatar

      maya lowy on

      despite ghostly motives being defensible,
      i want more wise rhetoric so i'll vote sensible

    34. Taylor Martin on

      Hey guys let's keep cool and be SENSIBLE!

    35. Nicholas Dauphin on

      Let's Kill Some Dudes!

    36. Jeremy Greenburg on

      Oh hell yes, now we're getting somewhere!
      The suspense is making me lose my hair!
      We need to screw logic, we need to see some blood!
      Or my tears will come out in a flood!
      We don't need any sensible attitudes,
      Now hurry up and kill some dudes!

    37. Félix Marqués on

      Oh, c'mon! Option SENSIBLE is the most entertaining. I love the logic process. <3

    38. Neville Fogarty on

      Forget those sensible attitudes
      It's time to go and KILL SOME DUDES

    39. Missing avatar

      DaPatman on

      Let's make like Black Mage and pick OPTION KILL SOME DUDES!

    40. Raye Rodriguez on

      Option kill some dudes!! >:D