Sunday, 27 May 2012

Introduction

When I was a kid, I read Fighting Fantasy books.

I suppose this was just a simple side effect of being an 80s kid, growing up in the UK. I don't know if these were as popular in the States, in fact I'd be willing to bet that they were overshadowed by some other type of books. But in the late 80s through early 90s here in the Isles of the Great Britain, these were hot stuff. 

And they didn't hesitate to make you aware of how hot they were, either. The back covers proudly boast 'over 8 million sold worldwide' and so on. It was spectacular. As a kid, I always thought that they were written by Jackson and Livingstone, each and every one. Kids don't know how ghost-writing works. 

The first one I ever bought is shown in the picture - Vault of the Vampire. It was always one of my faves. This is partly because I've always had 'mad love' for vampires. Anything with vampires in it just brought my imagination to a boil when I was a kid, and even today I still read a crazy number of books including vampires. As I remember, the vampire in 'Vault of the Vampire' never sparkled, either. Those were the good ol' days...
Not a bad start to rebuilding a set, overall.

When I moved out of my parent's home, I stored all of these books in a cardboard box along with my 'The Ancestral Trail' magazines and a few other pieces of prized childhood memories, and explained to my mother in very careful terms how much everything in that box meant to me and asked her to keep it very safe. Naturally, the very first thing she did was throw it all out, because parents are like that. C'est la vie. 

I happened across a set of the newer editions in a 2nd hand bookshop a few weeks ago. They were only £3 for the set, so I grabbed them up, and then I had a fantastic idea. I would rebuild my collection.

The first three I had to get were my favourites as a kid - Vault of the Vampire, Sword of the Samurai and House of Hell. I found the first two easily enough on the same day, and grabbed them up. House of Hell is the only one that was missing from the set of the 8 newer ones I picked up, so it still eludes me. 

I then made the mistake of heading into the local 'tabletop rpg and gaming' shop in town to see if they had any. Sure enough, they had a few of them, all in rather poor condition. I picked a copy of 'Appointment with FEAR', only to notice a torn label on the front reading "1st printing". It was not, it's seventh. But the store manager still insisted on charging £5.50 for it, which is outrageous. 

The only other item I've been able to grab was an older copy of Warlock Of Firetop Mountain, the version with the 'old man wizard' shown on the cover. It's nice, but I hardly need two copies. To be totally honest, the editions I'm looking for are the ones with the dragon-box on the cover, with the green spine - that's the kind I had as a kid, so have the strongest nostalgia value for me. Lastly, you'll notice 'The Riddling Reaver' up above, a gift from a friend about two years ago, which has been sitting on my bookshelf looking rather unread until now. 

This brings my full set to date as - The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Vault of the Vampire, Sword of the Samurai, Appointment with FEAR, The Riddling Reaver, Forest of Doom, Citadel of Chaos, Deathtrap Dungeon, Creature of Havoc, City of Thieves, and Crypt of the Sorcerer. Not bad to start with, I think!

This blog will be divided into two 'parts'. The first one are entries like this, which will be about my hunting for the books themselves and any luck I'm able to have in acquiring the full set. The second type of entries are going to be play-throughs of the books themselves. I've already played through one of them, so I hope you enjoy both type of 'adventures' that I'll be discussing. Enjoy!

8 comments:

  1. Marsten, welcome to the Blogosphere and I look forward to watching your collection come together.

    Here's my tip to make it easier for you. The best bookseller I've ever come across is over there in the UK - Awesome Books. I can actually buy books from them and have them shipped out to Australia far cheaper than I can buy books here.

    They always have a good collection of Fighting Fantasy books, both the original green spines and the newer versions. Prices start at £2.50 and it's free delivery in the UK. A search on their site for "Fighting Fantasy" reveals they currently have around 55 titles in stock and are always getting new stock.

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    1. Hey David, I've had a chance to look over the site. They seem pretty good for the newer editions of the books. Should definitely help flesh out the main body of the collection :)

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  2. Looking forward to reading your posts!

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  3. Good luck with the collection. I love finding Fighting Fantasy books in charity shops. If it's a text I haven't played then I care less about the condition of the book. The local library once told me that it used to destroy books that had been written in - which meant that FF books never survived to reach the old stock sell-offs. (Dog-eared=loved and with many plays)
    I completed Citadel of Chaos on the iPad last night - the red book on the shelf torments me, but it's faster to correct mistakes by going backwards (which is cheating ;) ) on the iPad. But you just can't beat rolling dice and scribbling on an Adventure Sheet (although I like to improvise with the damage to speed the fights up).
    There's a good selling and collecting thread on http://fightingfantasy.eamped.com/ definitely useful if you're into specific editions - like the "green-spines"
    Often Ebay can be really surprising if you're just randomly searching.
    I've got quite a few spares -especially within the first 20 or so of the mid-80s editions, but I haven't posted the full list up at the moment (all v.cheap). http://adventuresandshopping.blogspot.co.uk/p/second-hand-gamebooks.html

    May your quest bring you many spoils!

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  4. I look forward to your journey, mainly because I'm also trying to collect the FF books. I wish you luck!

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  5. Man, epically good decision to write this blog! I loved these books and will be making my way through your list one by one. Great stuff!

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  6. Thanks for the recommendation, we hope you are enjoying the books. - AwesomeBooks

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  7. Hi Justin

    I have only recently discovered your blog! I had many of these books as a kid and, like you, have started collecting them again

    I found a great box set of the wizard published versions on Amazon. .. 20 books (including all 4 Sorcery! Ones) for £35 which started me off. In the 1980's I Started with the green zig zag banner ones and then the dragon banner ones when they changed so those are the ones i prefer although to be honest, I've just been getting whichever version is cheapest.

    I have most of them now as Amazon marketplace sells used copies for 1p + p&p so you can get copies for under £3. The conditions vary but most of them have been in good condition. Currently I'm replaying "Rings of Kether" which i remember hating as a kid but I'm actually enjoying it this time round.

    The only books i don't yet have are "Magehunter", "Revenge of the Vampire" & "Deathmoor", but they're going for silly prices at the moment! ... £55 for a used paperback? Yeah, right! !!!!!
    Anyway, this is a great blog and I've enjoyed reading it

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