I picked up a copy of this at the Fighting Fantasy Fest 2014, and if I'm completely honest, I wasn't really intending to. On my blog (fightyourfantasy.blogspot.com for those who are interested in seeing some more Fighting Fantasy on the 'net), I've uncovered and discussed more history and little esoteric bits of knowledge than I expect anyone would care about. Did I really need a handbook to list things I already knew? Not really.
That changed when I had a look inside and found that this wasn't just a handbook, it was a full compilation of everything. This book included every piece of rare and unusual artwork I'd stumbled upon in my years of reading Fighting Fantasy books, from original designer sketches of the maps to the 'quite interesting' Japanese cover for Deathtrap Dungeon. Each of the books has a section - the earliest ones in the series are covered in the most depth, appropriately enough. I sometimes wished that the later ones were able to have had more information given, but page counts are a brute to work to and there is only so many words you can write about Caverns of Malice.
It also covers the rare 'apocrypha' of the franchise in lavish detail, including whole descriptions of Casket of Souls, the Zagor Chronicles. Hey, do you remember Goldhawk? No? I do, and do does this book - he gets a whole chapter!
To sum it up - this book is huge. It includes every scrap of info on the Fighting Fantasy books, their production, their history, their fandom and their influences, and their modern reinventions. It contains things I didn't know about, and I've been playing these games since before the internet was a popular thing. The artwork it contains is bright and lavish, and very high quality. This is a book that is presented in a stunning manner, both full of depth and visually stunning. It is evocative of everything that fans of the Fighting Fantasy books have come to love about their hobby. It genuinely feels as if it contains 30 years of material! That is a phenomenal achievement.
And it gives my own blog a shout-out, so that's not half bad either.
Oh, and buy a copy of my book!
A collection of 13 short horror and dark fantasy tales
Now available from amazon!
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