I’m delighted to announce that the Savage Realms project I have been working on is now going live on Kickstarter. My latest book, The Tavern and On Gallows Hill is joined by two others, penned by Pat ONeil, and David Lowrie of Blackdog Gamebooks. It’s a chance to back three amazing gamebook productions in one go, in a huge triple whammy style. Best of all, whatever level you back at, it’s already funded in less than 12 hours! Congratulations to TroyAnthony Schermer. Here is the link to view this incredible project. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/malivor/three-new-savage-realms-gamebooks-by-three-guest-authors?ref=project_facebook
Did you know…?
In 2015 gamebook author Jonathan Green launched his very own ACE Gamebook series with a little experimental Kickstarter. The classic children’s story Alice In Wonderland became interactive fiction under Green’s experienced pen. It was a successful project, and those whom backed at a higher lever reward received a gorgeous white-cottoned hardcover special edition, decorated wonderfully with Kev Crossley’s art in golden foil. Very few of these actually exist, possibly only 50 copies although an exact amount was never divulged. In 2021, an American gamebook collector paid in excess of £1000 for a copy. This trumps the much sought books 55-59 from the Puffin Fighting Fantasy series and Grailquest book 8 put together! How lucky was I to back the project at the time, not just at the level needed to get one of these rarities, but also attend a public demo at The Asylum in Lincolnshire before the books release.
Well this year saw the release of another two books; Jamthology and The Druids Of Pneuma. With these tucked under my belt I prepped to continue work on LIG4, then recieved a rather interesting and exciting request. I have been asked to guest-author for the Savage Realms gamebook series by its creator, the much revered TroyAnthony Schermer. I can’t say ‘No’ to such an honour, and I shall make this book not only better than any I have written for myself – but also better than most I have read. I dare not give out spoilers, especially at this early developmental stage, but work has commenced and the idea is even better than the one I reserved for a full length amateur FF. So there! Eat your heart out Stephen Hand.
Back in the eighties game books were at the height of their popularity, selling in their hundreds of thousands. Come the nineties, the video game era took over and game books saw a decline, with even the most popular series being pulled from the shelves. With game book fans of yesteryear now adults, they now wish to introduce their children to the genre, with many of them becoming authors of interactive adventures in their own right. The game book market is now reviving, as this generation looks for ways to bring children back to reading rather than screen time.
My new book, JAMTHOLOGY, is an introduction to game books with four thrilling pre-bedtime sized adventures, which start off easy and grow progressively more involving until you finish a seasoned game book adventurer. It is ideal for readers of all ages who wish to begin a journey into interactive stories and pit their wits, rather than read standard cover to cover books.
All profits go to charity. Click here to view on Amazon
I’m delighted to announce a project I have been working on with my stepdaughter is about 75% done, and will probably be released early December. She will be joining the ranks of gamebook illustrators at just 16 years old, like her favourite did, the late Martin Mckenna. It will be my fourth publication inside 18 months. Watch this space for more…
So the special edition sets of The Druids Of Pneuma have started finding their way into their new owners hands. Let’s take a look at a couple of things that make them so special.
1) It’s not branded with the LIG logos. We get to enjoy Malcolm Barter’s art The Bella Mort without the monofett LIG crest across the top. No ISBN or blurb either.
2) It’s a hardback. One of only 35 in existence. Okay, 36 if you include the proof copy. There will never be anymore made, making them rarer than a Magehunter lol.
3) Some text has been removed. If you are a follower of the Literally Immersive Gamebooks page on Facebook, or backed at a Walraven level, you will no what something is when you find it which may be important. Otherwise, your quest may get a little stifled.
4) There is a credit list, and write up about how the book took a quarter of a century to get from my head to its published form.
5) They’re all signed. You’re welcome 😜 Paperbacks will be available on Amazon next week.
So a couple of days ago I received the proof bound of my latest gamebook , The Druids Of Pneuma – the third title in my Literally Immersive Gamebooks series. There are 36 of these hardback copies in existence, all taken by a backer of this grand project. They have 410 sizzling references to look forward to with artwork by Fighting Fantasy illustrator Malcolm Barter, Mike Tenebrae on internals, and Pat O’Neill on fillers. The book will officially launch after these special hardback editions are posted off, and be available on Amazon in late May.
Hey hey! Today I endeavour to finish off the second rewrite of The Druids Of Pneuma. What a nightmare last hundred refs it has been. With plot holes and cross links galore having to have been ironed out, it isn’t any wonder Puffin rebuked 19 year old gamebook writers. Anyway, I think I have come up with a lovely story, or peril and woe, action and adventure, monsters and magic.
Upon completion it shall be shown to three trustees for preliminary perusal, and the wonderful Mike Tenebrae will be briefed on internal illustrations. I have come up with a plan for limited Kickstarter rewards, which people will be able to get a special edition hardback or paperback as well as other goodies. Whether or not that funds, the book will be available on Amazon shortly after the Kickstarter ends. I’m guessing it’ll be a couple of pounds more than the first two Literally Immersive Gamebooks as its over twice as long at 410 references.
Of all the book projects I am ever likely to do, this is probably the most personal to me, and a product of my 19 year old self and 44 year old self combined. There’s that number again! It will also contain a couple of Easter eggs here and there. A 25 year old work is about to come alive. And with a cover by Malcolm Barter, binding me to the Fighting Fantasy series I love and grew up with. This is a dream come true. I’ll be at the Fighting Fantasy Beero tonight, if you cannot make it I wish you all a merry Yuletide break and happy New Year.
So here we have it. The sublime Rhianna Pratchett enters the Fighting Fantasy franchise with her adventure Crystal Of Storms, becoming the series’ first female author, and armed with illustrator Eva Eskalinen. So how well did the pair do through the eyes of this age old fanatic of FF? Before I sink my teeth in properly, let’s have a look at the premise. A previously uncharted area of Titan, Pangaria… made up of a cluster of floating islands. Yes, floating! With this being a new area it gives Rhianna free reign to do whatever she likes. Even her own ecosystem of creatures. Clever! And she has introduced technomancy to the world, which has been created by a race of friendly Goblins within the archipelago. This is how the islands float. Don’t bicker, we’ve had friendly ones before, Giblet, Marsh Goblins etc. So one day, one of the floaty islands crystals goes pop, and it drops into the sea, sparking your thirst for adventure. It’s a great idea and I really love Rhi’s writing, comparable to Jonathan Green’s and Ian Livingstone’s. This girl is on fire.
Eva’s art is rather reminiscent of the much panned two-dimensional work of Vlado Krizan. While there is a slight improvement, most of these illustrations belong in a fairytale book for under fives. Sorry, it’s just not a met standard given the rock album cover Gods and Hollywood storyboard artists we had before. But of course, ScholasticUK know what kids like better than the six year olds of the eighties that actually read these religiously for four decades. I could moan all day but what good would it do? This is not to slate Eva or her art, it’s great, but just mismatched to this series which used to leap from the pages and tear your face off. Incidentally, I rather liked the Shark Kin illu, old creations are floating through now. Actually, I remember Jon asking for a reminder of it’s stats in the Facebook group. Superfan Victor Cheng answered like lightening. I’ll bet that’s when it was added to the mix. Speaking of which, there’s a whole lot of JG mechanisms on loan here, from creatures and codewords to settings and humour. The latter of which can sometimes get a little excessive… (you’ll see.) There are several typos – even in the intro heading – but in all fairness typos we’re always rife in the series. A couple of plot hole refs can have you flittering around the same island all day so you need to use some common sense. (investigating smoke for example, and how did I get a gold coin out of nowhere to recharge my wings?) In a place like Pangaria, I would have expected a gazillion Bird Men characters as well. Or how come The Watch members are not this species? Would’ve made sense in a suspended habitat.
All in all, this is a good book and a clever adventure. Whilst is isn’t up there with the series greats and that isn’t an Aakor on the cover, it’s certainly a great debut albeit influenced greatly by Jonathan Green whom mentored the author. Do another one Rhianna, and consult OOTP even more 😁👍
Well it seems the Fighting Fantasy franchise has been completely sold out to ScholasticUK. It’s with deep regret I have to post this as the cover of the brand new Fighting Fantasy adventure. How twee, and how mocking of everything good up to now… and that’s been sparse!
For all those who might say… ‘but these books are now aimed at 5-8 year olds’… screw you! We was also that age when we started collecting and we got the likes of this.
Fighting Fantasy art is one half of the glory, and now its been handed to people who do not know the series nor have the style to suit. While there is every possibility Rhianna (yes, his daughter) has turned out a good story, I strongly believe we will have another Higson-esque adventure that just doesn’t capture the feel of Titan. And hey, another coverstyle. Scholastic ripping completist collectors off once again no doubt to make this ailing experiment with a legendary series a bit of profit. Which begs me to ask once again… I wonder what proportion of the profits come from old school collectors and how much comes from modern youth, not including those who buy them for their kids to relive their own youth? Scholastic have decided to ignore die hard fans once more, and I say fuck them.
Up until now, I only purchased new adventures in the Scholastic range. This hideous travesty of a cover sees me divorcing from any modern FF releases that are not from classic talent. It breaks my heart to say this, but everything Scholastic has done to this point apart from Assassins Of Allansia is either fatally flawed or absolute and utter trash, trumped by the modern generation of authors who actually know the genre such as Mark Lain, Victoria Hancox, James Schannep and Dane Barrett to name a few.
This is the death of a legend.