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!