Scholastic, $3.99, ISBN 0-590-51665-5
Nothing dates anything more than writing about the Internet during the days of its infancy, and It Came from the Internet came out in 1999. You use a “web crawler” to look for websites, chat rooms are in, and the World Wide Web resembles more of an acid trip in virtual reality than anything else. That’s not to say that this is a bad thing – Videodrome and Hackers are dated as can be these days, but those films are still fun, after all. The problem is that this one is inherently a bland and even dull campaign.
Basically, your computer is infected by a virus that causes your web crawler, Spyder, to crawl out of your computer screen and bite you. The bite infects you with a virus too, and now, your memory is fast fading even as you slowly transform into a web spider yourself. Oddly, there is not much body horror here as you change – maybe that’s too scary for the kiddies out there – you just sort of become a web crawler that looks like a human in some instances, while at other times you do become something like the thing on the cover.
There are some inspired moments in this one, but on the whole, it isn’t particularly interesting or memorable. You will be rushing from one point to another, not really knowing what is happening, and many of the bad endings are LOL random sorts that show up just because RL Stine isn’t in the mood to keep things going anymore. Sure, there is some amusement in reading about “virtual Internet” and how falling for something that will be considered a scam email today is treated like a happy ending, but come on, that’s not why you play gamebooks.
There isn’t many scares or much creativity here, just another filler entry into the tail end of the Give Yourself Goosebumps series. If anything, it suggests that Mr Stine is running out of steam as well as ideas.