A Man of Letters - Sneak Peek
Issue #13 features an interview with Peter Darvill-Evans, covering his Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and work at Virgin on the Doctor Who original fiction ranges.
You introduced willpower as a new stat in Beneath Nightmare Castle. What made you tinker with the rules in your first book?
I think – and I must stress just how long ago all this occurred, and that my memory is notoriously poor in the absence of documentary evidence – that I had felt from the inception of Fighting Fantasy books that the standard stats made for a rather simplistic game experience. In each of my books I tried to stretch the original Fighting Fantasy concept, but in each case in a way that I hoped was appropriate to the subject matter. In a tale of Lovecraftian horror, willpower seemed like the necessary additional ingredient.
Choose Your Own Documentary™ - Sneak Peek
Issue #12 also features an interview with Nathan Penlington about his Choose Your Own Adventure-based interactive performance:
You’ve created a live, interactive performance using the format of the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Can you bring me up to date with how far you’ve got with your show?So we’ve made this very awkward documentary, which has become something greater than perhaps we first expected it to be. It started off as an experiment and now it’s taken on a life of its own. There are currently over 1500 possible paths, but it could well expand. There are certain narratives that we’ve opened up that we could go on to explore in the future. I could be making the show for the rest of my life.
Hooked on Classics - Sneak Peek
Issue #12 features an interview with Robin Waterfield, covering his Fighting Fantasy gamebooks:
Were you involved at all in the launch of the Fighting Fantasy novels series in 1989, and what do you think of this step away from gamebooks for Fighting Fantasy?I was involved in the sense that people asked me whether I thought it was a good idea – and whether I wanted to write one! I did think it was a good idea, and I did want to write one, but I got overtaken with other work: I was in the middle of my second, and last, stretch in the Penguin office, as a commissioning editor this time. I can’t remember what the plot was; my hero was a dwarf, though.
Pieces of Masonry - Sneak Peek
Issue #11 features the second half of the interview with Paul Mason, covering his Fighting Fantasy gamebooks:
Your first adventures were set on mainland Allansia, yet you moved to the Isles of the Dawn for this and your next book. What prompted this exploration?
The map. And, as mentioned above, the impatience with the status quo. The desire to go somewhere different, try to do something a little different. Blaze our own trail. With other writers, it took them out of Fighting Fantasy and into other series. With me... oh yeah, Robin of Sherwood and the (never-published) Virtual Reality gamebook. Looking back, though, I think it’s more valuable to do something a little out-there in a mainstream series like Fighting Fantasy, than to pick up one’s toys and leave for a smaller playground.
Where the Wild Things Are... - Sneak Peek
Issue #9 features an interview with artist Ian Miller who has a new webshop open:
Issue #9 is due out at the end of May!
Did you always want to be a professional artist, or did you have other childhood ambitions?
I wanted to be a crow, but somebody said I’d have to die first and, try for that the next time around. I tried running away from the moon about the same time, with some other children who lived close by. It was raining hard, and we ran in ever widening circles without any luck. It was always up above us, shining down, no matter how fast we ran.
Issue #9 is due out at the end of May!
Weaving an eBook World - Sneak Peek
Issue #8 features an interview with Chris Sterling of Worldweaver about their adaptions of the gamebooks for the Kindle:
How much input do Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone have in your adaptions?
Both Steve and Ian took a keen interest in the adaptations, and we worked very closely to get the combat and map just right. It took six months to perfect the gamebook engine, which can now be used on the entire series by only changing graphics and data files. The publishing team at Amazon were great too, championing the games as a useful improvement to a popular series.
Issue #8 is hopefully due out at the end of the month!
Tempting Talismans - Sneak Peek
Issue #8 features an interview with Ross Brierley of Laughing Jackal about their adaptions of the gamebooks for the PlayStation:
How familiar were you with Fighting Fantasy before this undertaking?
As a kid I used to play a lot of Dungeons & Dragons and HeroQuest so when my cousin gave me a game that I could play on my own and not have to wait until other like minded people were available, it was amazing. From then on I was hooked, and I remember playing through loads of gamebooks from several series, including a lot of books from the Fighting Fantasy series.
Issue #8 is out in January!
Whirling Dervish - Sneak Peek
Issue #7 also features a second interview, this time with fan Paul Struth:
Were you a great reader of fantasy fiction?Not really. The first book to make a big impression on me was The Lord of the Rings; I loved the dark bits, especially the scenes with the orcs in Moria and the tower of Minas Morgul. If I hadn’t read those, I probably wouldn’t have got interested in Fighting Fantasy. Apart from Tolkien, the only author to really catch my imagination as a child was Ursula Le Guin; A Wizard of Earthsea is still my favourite fantasy book of all time.
Roleplaying Rogue - Sneak Peek
Writer Graeme Davis is interviewed in issue #7. Here's a sneak peek...
How did you end up writing for Warlock magazine in 1985?I had been writing for White Dwarf since 1982, and as my college years drew to a close I decided to chance it and see if I could make a living out of writing for games. I had seen the rise of Fighting Fantasy and its various imitators, and gamebooks in general were wildly popular at the time - almost a Harry Potter level of popularity. I had co-written an analysis of the gamebook phenomenon for TSR UK’s Imagine magazine along with their regular book reviewer Colin Greenland, and did a semi-regular gamebook spot on BBC Radio Newcastle’s book programme; my first writing contract was to create two six-part gamebook series for Oxford University Press. Titled Quest Books (Kern the Strong and Oss the Quick), they were aimed at teenagers with reading difficulties, using the gamebook format and adventure content to encourage reading.
So when Warlock magazine started, it was natural that I’d pitch them some ideas. There were other gamebook magazines around at the time (I remember one called Proteus, and a gamebook-style comic put out under the 2000AD banner), but Warlock is the one that responded to my pitches.