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3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,741 Ratings  ·  344 Reviews
Chocolate or Vanilla? This simple choice is all it takes to get started with Meanwhile, the wildly inventive creation of comics mastermind Jason Shiga, of whom Scott McCloud said “Crazy + Genius = Shiga.” Jimmy, whose every move is under your control, finds himself in a mad scientist’s lab, where he’s given a choice between three amazing objects: a mind-reading device, a t ...more
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Harry N. Abrams
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May 24, 2010 Betsy rated it it was amazing
Quantum physics, parallel worlds, probability, entropy. Yes it's all in a day's work for your average everyday choose your own adventure book. Now just substitute the words "average" and "everyday" in that previous sentence for "extraordinary" and "twisted" and you've got yourself a pretty good description of Jason Shiga's graphic title Meanwhile. Simple enough in its concept and art that a ten-year-old would feel confident picking it up, yet jam packed with an insane degree of whimsy and darkne ...more
Feb 02, 2012 Janie rated it it was ok
When I first glanced at this in the library, I had a nerd-attack at the sheer genius of it. I mean, choose your own adventure COMIC?!?! However, after the first maybe, five endings, I got bored. I'm sorry! The thing about this book is that it's actually quite tricky to read the panels and follow the order of the story, and once you do get the hang of it, you have to start from page one to start over because virtually every single time because, unlike Choose Your Own Adventure books, the page tab ...more
Dec 14, 2015 Andrew rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics-alt
Great gimmick and it's executed very well. It's a choose-your-own-adventure comic, and it works a lot better than expected. Unfortunately Shiga didn't find time to write an interesting story or interesting scenarios. I read it a few different ways and found myself repeating the same passages, some times multiple times in one 'play through'.

I kind of hope there's another attempt at this. The branching paths are executed very well, and there's some pretty clever time travel and multiple-universes
Holy awesome. I always felt kind of meh about choose your own adventure books (there are only so many storylines that end in certain death and still keep me interested), but this is way. way. cooler. Ever read a choose your own adventure comic book? Especially one with 3,856 possible path possibilities? With multiple storylines that run on the same page and secret hidden pages that can only be accessed with a code? In fact, I feel kind of weird saying that I've "read" this book, seeing as I prob ...more
Jul 14, 2014 Miriam rated it liked it
Recommended to Miriam by: Ariel
Shelves: adventure
This visual variation on the old Choose Your Own Adventure books gets props for originality. The amount of work the author put in is staggering, and the story is fun. However, it is so difficult to follows the path from one panel to another that I couldn't really get into the story and enjoy it -- I was spending twice as much time finding the right place as actually "reading" since there isn't much text to slow one down. This might be better for a kid who is a slow reader. And maybe the techniqu ...more
Oct 26, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it
A choose-your-own-adventure done in a comic book format. Fun.
Jul 06, 2010 Don rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels

Jason Shiga is a genius and a madman. Branching-plot comics have been done before from time to time, but never to any great success and with no real innovation. Here, the innovation is in the reading experience itself: Instead of reading one page, then turning to a different page - as in most CYOA-type books - it's the comics panels themselves that twist and turn, with the reader's direction of flow guided by a series of pipes. Whe
Julie Suzanne
Jul 27, 2010 Julie Suzanne rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sterling & Verdi
This is a bizarre new format (at least to me) of choose your-own-adventure. WOW. It had my 10-year-old, who loves "manga" (I still don't really know what this is), drawing, and comics, unable to come up for air. It was written with exactly the same kind of humor, drawing, and topics that my son loves...uncanny. I also had a lot of fun figuring out how it works with him. I'd give it 5 stars but I was quickly frustrated with having to go through the whole story repeatedly in order to make differen ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Frank rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Pretty cool choose-your-own adventure-style book. This looks like it couldn't have been easy to create and I'm easily impressed by things that look like they wouldn't be easy.
Aug 15, 2015 Krystal rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
This book.

So like, I'm not smart enough for this book. It's completely deceptive. I actually ended up throwing it on a librarians desk because the science behind it fucking MYSTIFIED me. I'm just too dense to notice that the front page comes with instructions. :/

So enter my hero, who patiently guided my hand (and eyes) so I was fully able to enjoy this book. Thank you, Jesus. You always got my back.

And thank you hubs. For totally passing out early on a Saturday night so I could putter around o
Jun 04, 2010 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphicnovels
A sort of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure graphic novel with a hint of Chutes & Ladders fun. Brilliant and wacky and non-stop fun.
This book is incredibly trippy - in a good way. It's kind of a Choose Your Own Adventure in graphic novel format featuring time travel, entropy, quantam physics, and a doomsday device. It starts out innocently enough - do you want chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Choose which path you want to take and follow the tubes to the correct tab, which takes you to another page where the story continues. Various other choices along the way cause the story to split yet again, revealing a story that grows s ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Dec 17, 2010 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it
Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

Well, this *is* a book but a very unique one. You've never seen anything like this before: plastic pages with tabs all along the edges and tubes that run up, down, right, left and all over the place. In fact, this is more like playing a game than reading a book. You start out with the choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream and from there on every choice you make changes the story and the p
Jul 16, 2010 Josh rated it it was amazing
It is very rare that a book comes along with a completely different way of telling a story. This book does that and does so largely successfully. The linear nature of time is cleverly looped back on itself, as is time's potentially branching nature. And, the story is hard to imagine being told in any other way than the way it is (by following a maze of lines through cells of comic book art).

I also greatly enjoyed the stories exploration of entropy and the "best of all possible worlds paradox" (
Ben Rowe
Nov 21, 2013 Ben Rowe rated it liked it
I have a lot of nostalgic good will for "choose your own adventure" type of books and I am always drawn to books that try to do something a little bit different so I was understandably drawn to Meanwhile which is the only choose your own adventure style of graphic novel I am aware of.

Meanwhile is very clever. The way the choose your own adventure works within the story is very well thought out and is a visually appealing follow the string/paths which are utilized together with tabs at the ends o
Amar Pai
Sep 11, 2010 Amar Pai rated it it was ok
Interestingly laid out choose your own adventure book / graphic novel. It's a simple story initially, but at many points the comic box presents with two choices. Rather than 'turning to page x,' you follow the line representing your choice to the edge of the text, where it matches one of numerous vertically spaced differently colored tabs. The mechanism is elegant, though following the comic boxes can be a bit difficult. (They're not left to right; you have to always look for where the next conn ...more
Christian McKay
Mar 03, 2010 Christian McKay rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
My experience with Meanwhile was sort of an inverted parabola. I entered into it with a great deal of excitement (having been swept to great heights by FLEEP and Bookhunter. So what is that? A parabola that starts high on the Y axis? Screw it, we'll just leave that analogy behind all together). Anyway, I was excited. Then I entered and beheld the lay out--the ingenious pipe system that not only defied all comic layout background knowledge but also utilized a tab system that doesn't allow you to ...more
Apr 03, 2013 Nick rated it it was amazing
Why did I read it?

It was suggested to me at a reader's advisory workshop last year, and I happened to see it on the shelf yesterday.

What happened?

Jimmy walks into an ice cream shop and has the choice of vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Sounds like the beginning of a normal book, right? Wrong! Have you ever read a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel? Well, this one is just like that...just on steroids and in graphic novel form.

Shiga pretty much gives you complete control of what happens in this novel
Jun 02, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 4th grade and up
OK, so I didn't read it all. But give this visual Choose Your Own Adventure to anyone who loves math, mazes, and/or comics. The choice between chocolate and vanilla spins out into 3,856 story possibilities, many of which end in doom. This will keep you occupied for a while.

I don't even understand this note in the front: "Once the outline of the story was structured, a computer algorithm was written to determine the most efficient method to transfer it to book form. However, the problem proved t
Jan 05, 2016 Andrey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
If I had to to rate the visual part, I’d give it 2 stars
If I had to to rate the interactive adventure part, I’d give it 3 stars
If I had to to rate the story itself, I’d give it 4 stars
But I cannot rate “Meanwhile” as a book, it’s a piece of art, and it’s bloody awesome!
I loved the concept, being a fan of the Choose Your Own Adventure series from forever ago, but the reality was a little less satisfying. I appreciated the work that went into this, but it was a challenge to read and follow the story paths. Someone who loves puzzles, riddles and challenges will probably really get into this. As i read, I kept seeing story lines that looked more interesting than mine, but couldn't figure out how to get there, and so I ended up reading the same handful of possibili ...more
Jan 22, 2016 Malcolm rated it liked it
Meanwhile is a fictional book written by Jason Shiga. The book is sci-fi in some places, and realistic fiction, if time travel, destroying the world machine, and a time reading device is possible. I read it because it looked interesting.

Meanwhile is about what can happen after choosing one ice cream, and the choices, and possibilities that can happen. I have not read all the possibilities, since there are over 3000, but the characters I have seen are Jimmy, The inventor, Mom, Dad, The ice cream
Sep 17, 2015 Stephen rated it it was ok
I like the idea of a chooseable-path graphic novel, and the execution of that part of the concept is sound. The art is distinctive and fits well with the visual style of the panels, and it's fun to trace the little pipes all over the place (except the few times they are a tangled mess to discourage cheating, when it's easy to lose track of the pipe you're supposed to be on and you get shunted to the wrong next panel). The plot, with its allusions to the pop physics concept of alternative realiti ...more
May 29, 2015 Bruce rated it did not like it
If you’re a fan of maze puzzles, choose your own adventure books or a gamer, then don’t pick vanilla ice cream. Chocolate gives you a bellyache that will send you to Professor K’s lab and the choice of playing with his time machine, his memory transfer device (the SQUID), or the Killitron, a vault like structure which will eliminate all human life except for the operator locked safely inside.

I admire the conception and the craft and mathematics that went into the creation of this game, but as so
May 18, 2015 Josiah rated it did not like it
Jason Shiga might be the most innovative thinker in gamebook history. His system of using tubes to branch out into many, many more storylines than any other interactive book I've seen could have revolutionized the gamebook industry, were it not for the extreme complexity of its design. From the introductory note to Meanwhile: "Meanwhile began as a series of seven increasingly complex flowcharts. Because of asymmetries in the branching, a special notation had to be invented for the final three c ...more
Mar 28, 2015 Garrett rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while a book is found that is worth reading again and again. With each reading, something new is encountered and the experience of the reader grows. Normally, books with this quality treat heavy emotional themes, or carry a profound commentary on life. However, Jason Shiga’s graphic novel Meanwhile manages to pull its audience through multiple readings while lacking a serious tone or a deep commentary on human existence. His book is just fun to read. It is a graphic variant of th ...more
Petter Ruenes
This is a book where you can make choices that serve different outcomes. It's not a traditional graphic novel, but it is more like a book with roleplaying elements added to them. It all begins with choosing what flavor of ice cream you want, vanilla or chocolate. As the story progresses and you make your choices it can lead to happiness or doom. It's quite advanced with a tab and tube system showing which page and which boxes to read. It's a bit overwhelming in the beginning, but yo
Becky B
Definitely the most unique graphic novel I've ever seen. This tale starts with a simple question of whether the character wants chocolate or vanilla ice cream, and choices from there can lead to countless different plot lines involving a mad scientist and adventures with his time travel, mind swap or doomsday machines. You need to read the inside front cover and the note on how complicated it was to put this creation into book form. Crazy! Jason Shiga gets big time creative points for even knowi ...more
Nov 15, 2014 ▓▒░єℓℓα░▒▓ rated it it was amazing
This, my friend, possesses the greatest story you'll ever imagine. And it's not just the plot in the pages.

I read this book when I was, what, 7? Something like that. It was my favorite book ever. This is a Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) graphic novel. You're taken on a journey through time and space, experimenting with new options. And it all started with deciding whether or not you wanted vanilla or chocolate ice cream.

I returned it to the library with a sad look on my face. It was way overdu
On a recent trip, I decided not to take the turn I usually take to get through Grand Island. I decided to keep heading north, hoping to find a drive-through coffee hut. I didn't find one, so I eventually turned and headed east to go home. Seconds later, a car was turning in front of me and I had nowhere to go but into the other vehicle. My decision to keep going north seemed simple and innocuous at the time, but it cost me a point on my driver's license and a driver's side headlight.

This book re
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Jason Shiga is an award-winning Asian American cartoonist from Oakland, California. Mr. Shiga's comics are known for their intricate, often "interactive" plots and occasionally random, unexpected violence. A mathematics major from the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Shiga shares his love of logic and problem solving with his readers through puzzles, mysteries and unconventional narrative ...more
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