As I prepare to write fantasy in the new year – which is going to dominate this blog a bit over the coming month, and yes, that means I actually plan on writing something this month (I flag my illness last month, but still, my record on this blog has not been particularly stellar, something I am anxious to improve in the coming year) I am looking over my old inspirations once again. I'm a firm believer that you need to recognize where you come from while you are writing – without knowing those inspirations, you can't get past them. Assuming, of course, you want to.
Around a month ago, I wrote about my early experiences with Fighting Fantasy, and how they really were fantasy to me when I was a kid. There was a lot more to the gamebook field than just Fighting Fantasy, though, and – heresy here – I would go so far as to say that they weren't the best in the field. They might have been the first, but the field improved as time went on. The first non-Fighting Fantasy book I picked up – and I can very clearly remember this – was a Lone Wolf, the Darke Crusade, Book 15, and it made quite an impression. Here was an ongoing campaign, part of a long narrative story. I eagerly sought more of the books, though never managed a complete set...something I may have to remedy, now I think about it.
There were countless others, and as a part of my preparation, I have gone ahead and picked up three complete series, comprising sixteen books in all – two of them complete runs of an ongoing quest, a complete arc, and the rest independent...but not Fighting Fantasy. Those books I know, these books I know less well. I've gone for the four-book 'World of Lone Wolf', featuring the adventures of a wizard – in the same world as Lone Wolf, but a different area, the six-book 'Golden Dragon' series, which are not dissimilar to the Fighting Fantasy books, but that I have never actually played through, and the six book 'Way of the Tiger' series, where you play a ninja assassin. Cool, huh!
(And...damn I'm tempted by the new Fabled Lands books. I think they might end up being next on my 'to-buy' list...Dragon Warriors made me a huge Dave Morris and Oliver Johnson fanboy...)