The year was 2012 and Jonathan Green began to formulate ideas and started working very hard indeed…7th September 2014 saw the first dedicated Fighting Fantasy Fest convention as arranged by Jonathan Green. It also sees the release of his much anticipated tome, You Are The Hero – A History Of Fighting Fantasy. Having backed the funding of this book I am proud to boast my name will be featured within its pages along with many other fans.Here is a brief look at what was going on:
The Fest was a fantastic experience with a genuine one sided happy atmosphere, with authors and illustrators alike as well as fans from all over the world. Everyone who took part did an amazing job, with special thanks to Jonathan Green and Malcolm Barter for making me feel like a piece of Fighting Fantasy… Mark Lain, Steven Leicester for getting me there and prepping me with a meal the night before…and to to James Aukett whom we met at the fest and has helped reboot my collection, and I now just have 3 or so books to get.
Time to buy a real bookshelf!
____________________________________FIGHTING FANTASY FEST 2It’s September 2017. For the second time, brave adventurers and traders from all over the world were summoned to Ealing, London to take part a new Fighting Fantasy Fest organised by FF author Jonathan Green. The promise this time was ‘bigger and better than before’. And was it? In a word, yes! The Demonic Three aka Steven Leicester, Mark Lain and myself met up in Chinatown the night before for a catch up, meal and to take part in an Escape Room game by Hinthunt which we had organised many months before.
The Demonic Three assemble.
The following morning with our heads still buzzing from the night before, we catch the tube train to Ealing and coincidentally rendezvous with FF illustrator Malcolm Barter whereby we journey together the rest of the way to The University Of West London where the event takes place.
Jam and Mark with MalcyB
Jonathan Green is at the first display, signing away madly at You Are The Hero Part 2 copies that had only arrived hours before and he hurriedly dished them out to backers as they turned up. After he hands my copy and asks how fatherhood is treating me in reference to my baby, Cassia, a familiar face approaches. The former comissioner of Fighting Fantasy books charming Geraldine Cooke approaches and we greet each other going into conversation about how wonderfully strong the series has remained in the hearts of fans, old and new alike. She particularly liked my t-shirt emblazoned with red dice. Casually strolling towards us the co creator of Fighting Fantasy, Ian Livingstone joins in our chat clearly equally pleased Geraldine had shown up. I seized the opportunity to grab this picture.
Jam, Ian Livingstone & Geraldine Cooke at FFF2
As the next hour or so continued I would visit the traders tables of Jamie Fry, James Schannep and Fox Yason Productions LTD, the latter of whom have produced an audio adventure set in Firetop Mountain. CLICK HERE
for info. Nomad Games was also there promoting their new app Fighting Fantasy Legends.
Jam at Nomad Games stall
Also browsing was my hero Mr Liren Lin who had flown in all the way from the other side of the globe, and he took our photo after a nice catch up.
Old friends, Liren Lin and Jam
Slowly more and more friends from the Facebook FF group gathered as the morning went by.
Jam, Victor Cheng, Paul Scanlan and Colin Oaten
James (The Archmage) Aukett, Jam and Rob Learner
And of course, more Fighting Fantasy production heroes! Steve Jackson, who’s Sorcery epic was what hooked me into Fighting Fantasy back in the 80s
Co FF creator Steve Jackson and Jam
Illustrator, Tony Hough and Jam
Jam with fellow fan Paul Berry and illustrator Alan Langford
FF cartographer Leo Hartas, with illustrators Malcolm Barter and Pete Knifton
Writers Jonathan Green and Marc Gascoigne
Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson
Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson give a talk about Fighting Fantasy and where it is going in the future. Scholastic has now taken over as publishers and a big announcement was made which made the room fill with excitement. A brand new book will be released in 2018 written by none other than FF fan and star of The Fast Show, Mr Charlie Higson!!
Jam and author/ actor Charlie Higson
Scholastic promoting the new Fighting Fantasy range under their label
One of the biggest privileges this day was to have the illustrator Iain McCaig. He was one of the earlier artists of the series and of the recent limited edition Port Of Peril covers. Since Fighting Fantasy he has gone on to become an artist for Hollywood, and is widely famous for designing how Darth Maul and other characters would look in the Star Wars franchise. Here he is in a photo by Liren, I hope you don’t mind Liren but your photo was better than mine lol.
Liren Lin with Steve Jackson, Iain McCaig and Ian Livingstone
Of course the proceedings are not just about meeting stars but also interacting. So the Demonic Three and two extra all gathered round for some Advanced Fighting Fantasy fun held by Arion games.
AFF session with Arion Games
Graham Bottley of Arion Games
All too soon it was time to leave. But once again Fighting Fantasy Fest was a triumph for all fans of the series. The Demonic Three set off for their afterfest meal in Uxbridge. A fitting end to a magnificent day. Many thanks to everyone who signed my Yath2, and to all those who couldn’t make it this time I hope you will next time.
______________________________________FIGHTING FANTASY FEST 3
August 31st 2019 saw what became in my opinion the best Fighting Fantasy Fest to date. All the regulars were there and pleasingly Russ Nicholson ws in attendance after being ill during the second fest. It was he who granted permission for me to make my tshirt pictured with his iconic Ghoul image provided Ian gave permission and I made Russ, Ian and Steve one too.
Russ Nicholson and JamIan Livingstone had a new FF title Assassins Of Allansia out and was selling special signed hardback copies. I insisted to his son who was on the book stall that I wanted book number 44 as that was a weird number to me as I’ve already mentioned on the blog. He not only obliged and dug it out specially but also shared it’s Ian’s ‘weird’ number as well for the same reasons. (check out the car in Freeway Fighter)
Jam, Ian Livingstone and Robert Ball
Steve Jackson obviously in attendance. He has plans for a new book also after a three decade hiatus.
Jam and Steve Jackson
The lovely Geraldine Cooke also in attendance
Geraldine Cooke and Jam
A happy familiar face came marching up to me, the amazing Olly McNeil of World Of Legends. He had bought his live show version of House Of Hell to the event with actors Emily Carding, Robert Alan and Alexander Hunt. This for me was the highlight of the day and was what previous fests had been missing. Check out my House Of Hell page to read of my experience.
Jam and Olly McNeil
Emily Carding, Steve Jackson, Olly McNeil, Richard Alan and Alexander Hunt
More artists include fan favourites Malcolm Barter, Tony Hough, Alan Langford, Chris Achilleos and first time fester (hehe) Duncan Smith.
Malcolm Barter and Jam
Tony Hough and Jam
Alan Langford and Jam
Jam and Christos Achilleos
Jam and Duncan Smith
Of course we can’t forget the man who organised all this once again. Writer of many gamebooks in multiple series Jonathan Green.
Jam and Jon
John Robertson brought his Dark Room show to the fest as well as an audience participation of Deathtrap Dungeon
John and Jam
And lets not forget the camaraderie that is only found among the Fighting Fantasy fans
Richard Penwarden and Jam
Kevin Abbotts, Colin Oaten, Jam and Lin Liren
My tattoo twin Jamie Fry and Jam
And once again, an after fest meal with the other two thirds of the Demonic Three.
Jam, Steven Leicester and Mark Lain