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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!
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.

$400k unlocked. WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN

Less than 48 hours left!

Yesterday at $384k I said we were "on our way" to that final stretch goal of $400k. Apparently instead of "on our way" I should've said "will definitely unlock in less than 12 hours" because WE TOTALLY DID IT. We're at $408k as I write this with a little less than two days left!

The final, $400k goal was this: the Kickstarter-exclusive prequel miniadventure, "Poor Yorick", will now also be printed in full colour! AHH it's gonna be awesome. Every tier gets an ebook version, but it's the "TOTALLY SWEET" ($25) tiers and above that that get a physical copy. If you want to bump up your pledge to get in on this sweet physical reading action, just visit the project page and click on "Manage Pledge". And thank you! I'm honestly amazed at how awesome you've made this project.

We started 28 days ago with a black-and-white book with 30 illustrations. We're now offering multiple full-colour books with every ending illustrated, all at the same price, and all thanks to your support. It's kind of an insane deal! And I'm really glad we made this happen together. I seem to keep saying thank you, you guys!

Here's an illustration from the book by Anthony Clark. And yes that is Hamlet riding Claudius like a skateboard, obviously that is a thing you get to do in this book.

So! We are all out of (our FOURTH set of) stretch goals. But we're at a point where we've kinda already made this book the best possible thing it is possible for a book to be, so I'm not sure what else we can do here. This being the case, here is our final set of ULTIMATE STRETCH GOALS:

$425,000 = another 25 books sent to libraries and schools!
$450,000 = another 25 books sent to libraries and schools! Also I will ... create a pizza that looks like Hamlet and... eat it?
$475,000 = another 50 books sent to libraries and schools!
$500,000 = I will literally explode

Storywise we had to decide between OPTION EISENSTEIN (do a training montage!) or OPTION DEMILLE (skip the montage!) Voting was heavily slanted towards training montage (thanks Arthur for tallying the votes, thanks everyone else for voting in rhyme!) with a bunch of people voting for noted physicist Einstein over noted Soviet-montage filmmaker and theorist Sergei Eisenstein. It's my fault because before the voting I included an animated gif of a dog named Einstein driving a DeLorean. I got into your subconscious.

So let's continue!

Training montage!!

You reading a book by candlelight, flipping to one page, furrowing your brow, and flipping back.

Hamlet in a lab with a textbook in a recipe stand, pouring a small amount of liquid into a flask, turning the liquid from transparent to a dark, rich purple. The purple liquid exploding, leaving Hamlet blinking and covered in soot.

The pages of a page-a-day calendar, tearing themselves off and fluttering to the ground.

You sneaking around a building at night, stopping to read your book by candlelight, then slapping your forehead and extinguishing the candle. You sneaking past the armed sentry of Marcellus, Bernardo, and Francisco who never notice a thing.

Hamlet holding a knife in his fist, you touching him gently on the arm, showing him how to let the blade rest in his hand, lightly, gently.

The face of a clock, its hands spinning rapidly.

You and Hamlet in an argument, Hamlet gesturing towards a fresh tear in his coat, you holding scissors in one hand and your "How To Get Away With Stuff" book in the other. You answering his accusations by reading lines from your book, and Hamlet's body language softening until he's holding up the torn fabric, shrugging, smiling. You holding up the book so he can see. The two of you bursting into amazed laughter.

You and Hamlet surreptitiously adding bright green liquid into each other's drink, then passing the mug to each other. The two of you about to drink, then sniffing the drink experimentally, laughing, playfully punching the other, then pouring the mugs out onto the grass. The grass withering and dying instantly.

This image fading into a shot of you and Hamlet, asleep in bed late at night, smiles on your faces and giant stacks of books on each side of your bed.

Congratulations! You have both fully levelled up your skills in sneaking, poisons, stabbing, and getting away with things!!

The only option here is "Proceed with maxed-out skills!" so let's do that!

Proceed with maxed-out skills!

It's a new day, and you and Hamlet wake up in bed together, surrounded by the stacks of books you've been reading. And as of this morning, you've read and mastered every single one of them. It's a beautiful day, Ophelia. It's the kind of day that makes you think, "Man I bet I could totally murder a head of state by noon."

You prop yourself up on your side and face Hamlet. "We'll start by following Claudius, learning his routine. We'll be in full stealth mode the entire time, so nobody should detect us." you say.

"We have gotten way good at sneaking," Hamlet agrees.

"We'll do three separate missions, each with idiosyncratic naming," you say. "On Secret Mission Act 3 Scene 3 we trail Claudius for a while. During Secret Mission Act 3 Scene 4 we stake out Gertrude; maybe she knows something. And in Secret Mission Act 4 Scene 2 we trail your friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in case they have any information."

"I like it," Hamlet says. "Nobody has seen us for weeks, so they won't even be looking for us. It's perfect."

"That's kinda the reason I made this plan be so awesome!" you say. You roll on top of Hamlet and kiss him, holding his face in your hands while he holds yours in his. It's nice. Eventually you pull back from the smooch.

"Let's do this!" you say in unison.

You both have morning breath but that's neither here nor there.

The only option here is "Begin Secret Mission Act 3 Scene 3" so let's proceed! Wow we're getting a lot of story today; isn't that awesome?

Act 3 Scene 3

You and Hamlet are pressed invisibly up against the wall of the royal church, your clothes blending in with the stone and mortar perfectly.

Claudius is here, talking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and he's speechifying. He's got one hand out in front of him, holding it in the air. It looks pretty dramatic!

"I like him not," Claudius says, "nor stands it safe with us to let his madness range. Therefore prepare you. I your commission will forthwith dispatch, and he to England shall along with you."

"Dude, nobody's seen Hamlet for days," Rosencrantz replies.

"Yeah, we can't take him to England because not a single bro knows where he is," says Guildenstern.

Claudius lowers his arm.

"Well, poops," Claudius says, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern look at each other and it's awkward and then they leave.

Polonius comes in and offers to spy on Hamlet for him by hiding himself in Gertrude's room, just in case Hamlet ever show up. It is a weird, pervy plan, but Claudius agrees to it, and Polonius leaves.

Finally alone, Claudius again raises one arm out in front of him as he says "O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven; it hath the primal eldest curse upon't, a brother's murder." You and Hamlet exchange a glance. Dude is not only guilty, he confesses his guilt to an empty room. Wow. And Claudius is STILL confessing his crime for like another minute, until he finally bows and prays.

You could kill him now if you want. Or you could let him twist in the wind a little longer.

Two options, and this is our last choice! Tomorrow is the final story update. Do we end this now, or do we let him go?

OPTION EXUNT: Kill Claudius! FINALLY
OPTION DON'T EXUNT YET: Let him go, it's time to engage Operation Act 3 Scene 4

Leave your vote in the comments, and thank you!

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      Eliza on December 20, 2012

      Too easy now: to simply run him through,
      The killer kill’d and father thus aveng’d;
      We’ve trained to stab and get away with, too –
      Our montage shows this Cain is quickly bench’d.
      But kill him now, with knowledge at the dike
      Though yet unknown? The scientific mind
      Demands all answers, fine and coarse alike.
      In Gertrude’s closet, truth lives still to find:
      Was she a part? Did she her husband kill
      By bringing second husband to her bed,
      Or did she early on seek out that thrill,
      With lover plot to kill the man she’d wed?

      Don’t exeunt yet, lest training wasted be;
      Sneak on some more to scene four of act three.

      also: NOOOOO THIS CAN'T BE THE LAST ONE

    2. Missing avatar

      dora on December 20, 2012

      Kill him now, and settle the score?
      Tempting, but I want to read more.
      I say only a runt
      or a coward'd exeunt.
      Engage Operation Act 3 Scene 4!

    3. Missing avatar

      Anna on December 19, 2012

      OPTION EXUNT
      Roses are red
      Violets are blue
      fake king must die
      “Exunt” I choose you

      Kill him now and let it be the end. oh yeaaaa!

    4. Nathan on December 19, 2012

      Exunt! With haste, good man.

    5. Missing avatar

      Iguana Baritone on December 19, 2012

      Exunt. We must Exunt with haste.

    6. Missing avatar

      Brilliand on December 19, 2012

      EXUNT. We must end with an ending.

    7. Missing avatar

      Amy on December 19, 2012

      Every time I see this play, during Act 3 Scene 3 I want to shout at Hamlet to pay attention to what Claudius is saying and then kill him already. AND NOW I CAN!

      Lets' kill Claudius already! EXEUNT.

    8. Missing avatar

      sloopy88 on December 19, 2012

      Exunt, pursued by a bear.

    9. Bob B. on December 19, 2012

      Operation Dumbo Drop!

      By which I mean drop that dumbo, Claudius. Exunt!

    10. Ben McKenzie
      Superbacker
      on December 19, 2012

      Hamlet, on his own, might his hand defer;
      But Ophelia, wisdom gained, would spur
      Him on to sate his dark trav'ller's need.
      No more delay; make fast the bloody deed!
      EXUNT

    11. Missing avatar

      Andrew O on December 19, 2012

      With only one update left
      there's no time to punt
      We must rush ahead
      and choose Exunt!

    12. Morgan Payne on December 19, 2012

      This is the last stunt!
      Time to exunt!

    13. Missing avatar

      Signe Birch Jensen on December 19, 2012

      The climax of a story
      Needs not contain a lorry
      But in such a drama
      To fulfill the karma
      A murder will do nicely
      So slit his throat precisely.

    14. Missing avatar

      Lisa on December 19, 2012

      Let's get this over with punk
      come on, choose option Exunt
      (It's slant rhyme)

    15. Daniel Gonzales on December 19, 2012

      Don't exeunt! I wonder how long we can stretch this out.

    16. rmagahiz on December 19, 2012

      Ex(e)unt omnes!

    17. Jonathan Stein on December 19, 2012

      There's little time left, so I will be blunt,
      And say that we should choose option Exunt.

    18. Forsaken on December 19, 2012

      Ex-nay on the xeunt-ay! Bring on Operation Act 3 Scene 4.

    19. Pablo Soares on December 19, 2012

      Silly Ryan making mistakes
      On his book and updates
      So I'm just glad he's not my aunt
      Because otherwise I'd EXEUNT

    20. Missing avatar

      Andrew Daniels on December 19, 2012

      I think Hamlet doesn't kill him here because he doesn't want Claudius's soul to be clean (i.e. praying/confessing) during the moment of his death. Vengeance isn't enough, Hamlet wants DAMNATION! Let's help the kid realize his dream. DON'T EXUNT YET!

    21. Michael on December 19, 2012

      Oh man...well I feel like there's an obvious choice here since it's our last choice I want to see it end......but what will happen if we don't Exunt Yet....so that one...DON'T EXUNT YET!

    22. Christina Squitieri on December 19, 2012

      Don't exunt yet! Also, I think it's "exeunt" (plural) :D

    23. Missing avatar

      Susan Schomburg on December 19, 2012

      But wait, don't exunt yet!

    24. Paul Verlinden on December 19, 2012

      Oh, also, can we continue to get story updates like these from now until May? For backers, at least? It would help keep the excitement up, and it would be like we get to enjoy the book before we even get it.

    25. Paul Verlinden on December 19, 2012

      I remember when I read the original / Shakespeare's ripoff, I was super annoyed that Hamlet didn't just finish it here. So what if Claudius is praying? Be done with it. All of which is to say, while I'm sure we could get quite a bit more mileage from the second option, I vote for EXUNT.

      Question: Will you be including all of this new material in the book that we end up getting? And if so, does that mean we get more illustrations for the possible deaths down this path? Please?

    26. Louis Kolkman on December 19, 2012

      O boy, o boy, o boy! I finally get to kill someone
      Even if only by proxy!
      Exunt it is!

    27. Ally on December 19, 2012

      EXUNT! Let's leave this kickstarter with a bang! Or a stab. Or a...whatever the onomatopoeia for someone dying to death from poison is, I dunno. But dude's totally going down!!

    28. Benjamin Rabin on December 19, 2012

      Exunt! Time to end this!

    29. Missing avatar

      Jessica Hopkins on December 19, 2012

      I wish we could drag it out, but since we can't - Exunt!

    30. Nathaniel MacDonald on December 19, 2012

      EXUNT!! That Claudius dude's had it too good for too long. Better to off him before the Shakespearian middle act good guy-bad guy tilt.