Hallowe’en is… an unexpected opportunity for covert fantasy gamebook shopping

October 18, 2009

ffbooksA very charming fun-packed Oxfam bookshop in Kentish Town has Hallowe’ened up its window display, with the effect that a – perhaps the – Fighting Fantasy book now has pride of place at the front there. Well, I wonder how much overlap there really is between fantasy gamer fans and whoever Hallowe’en is for. (Children? Occultists?) Though of course, you can see their thinking. Witches, wizards, warlocks… they’re certainly all supernatural and scary. Even if gamers’ supernatural beings are much more easily broken down into a list of numerical values than, say, a real witch would be. And then there’s the issue of how much Firetop Mountain is even about warlocks anyway, the title was, famously something of an afterthought

The project was initially titled The Magic Quest. Although both authors disliked this title, after ‘endless debates’ they could not come up with an alternative. Eventually the two came up with a compromise. Livingstone, who wrote the first part, had mentioned in the opening paragraph that the whole adventure took place in Firetop Mountain. Jackson, who wrote the final part, had created a climactic battle with a powerful Warlock. On the day the book was handed in it was agreed that the two elements would be combined to create the final title: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

Still, if you live in North London and are thinking of celebrating the magic and mystery of All Hallow’s Eve with a good book, and who isn’t, then this is the supplier for you. Even more interesting, perhaps, is the book displayed next to Firetop Mountain, the rather less well known “Shadows of Doom” by Stephen Thraves. The promise of unique fold-out adventure cards is probably enough for me; I’ll be back there tomorrow. Will the cards still be intact? You’ll be the first to know.

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