What was great about yesterday was the number of YOU ARE THE HERO backers and Fighting Fantasy Fest attendees who stopped by my stable to say (a) how much they had enjoyed the book, and (b) asking if there would be another Fighting Fantasy Fest in 2015.
Several people who have already read YOU ARE THE HERO also persuaded their friends to pick up a copy on the day. As to the other matter, discussions will be taking place in the new year...
I always enjoy attending cons because it's a chance to catch up with friends in the gaming community (in the case of Dragonmeet) and it was good to see Tony Hough, Graham Bottley, James Wallis, Dom McDowall, Jamie Fry, Stuart Lloyd, Daniel Gooch, Sarah Newton, Mark Crew, Helena Nash (check out her new Choose Your Own Adventure style story here) and many others. It was also good to properly meet Chris Birch (who, along with his team, did a great job of organising his first Dragonmeet), Michele Howe**, Pete Wood, Sam Ockham and Andrew Harman, who was wowing everyone with Frankenstein's Bodies.***
Dr Frankenstein (a.k.a. Andrew Harman) and his latest test subject.
I also met Pookie, who posted this recent review of YOU ARE THE HEROonline. And the most unlikely meetings of the day was with Alex Day off of YouTube (who was promoting his Sopio Cards), and the Krankies, who had parked next to us in the car park! (I don't think they were attending Dragonmeet, but I could be wrong.)
Ian and Steve stopped by after their Top 10 games talk, to sign books (including a couple of copies of YOU ARE THE HERO), which was nice, and they were joined by ace artist Tony Hough.
Steve, Ian and Tony signing for the FF fans.
Thanks to all the organisers, everyone who stopped by my table, as well as Linda, Nimrod and Thea who kept the Greens company during the day (and an eye on all our stuff from time to time). Here's to Dragonmeet 2015!
My stand and my minions. (They're actually getting quite useful now.)
* Talking of Kickstarters, I might be running another one next year. Watch this space...
** A special thank you to Michele's friend (I'm sorry but I don't remember his name) who told me a great fact about reindeer that will have to go in a future edition of Christmas Explained.
*** Talking of which, I really need to get my Steampunk dice game sorted out.
If you would like to pick one up, make sure you drop by the Author area. I'll also have some badges and dice for sale. After all, Dragonmeet wouldn't be Dragonmeet without the dice. And remember, if you are planning on popping along, this year Dragonmeet is being held at the Ibis Hotel Earls Court and ILEC Convention Centre (47 Lillie Road, London, SW6 1UD).
Tickets are just £8 until Friday night, and £10 on the day. It's free entry for children under 16 attending with an adult and there's are free local parking. (You can find out more at www.dragonmeet.co.uk.)
Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone are also going to be in attendance. They will be giving a talk about their Top 10 Games at 1.00pm and afterwards (at around 2.00pm) they will be stopping by my table to sign copies of YOU ARE THE HERO. So if you've yet to pick up a copy and missed Fighting Fantasy Fest 2014, why not pop along on Saturday?
It is almost three months since the world's first international Fighting Fantasy convention was held in London but two videos from the day have just been uploaded to YouTube by Fighting Fantasy Fest attendee, and YOU ARE THE HERO Kickstarter backer, James Aukett.
The first is Steve and Ian's excellent talk with Philippa Dickinson and Geraldine Cooke about the origins of Fighting Fantasy. The second is the Art of Fighting Fantasy panel that I hosted.
If you were there, they will doubtless bring back fond memories of the day. If you weren't this is the moment you've been waiting for. Enjoy.
So, Fighting Fantasy Fest... This time three weeks ago (as of writing*) I was unloading a carload of stuff** at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, ready for the first ever, dedicated, Fighting Fantasy convention. Almost twelve hours later, I was getting back into said car to return home. The bit in between was a bit of a whirl.
Jonathan Green, Geraldine Cooke, Zagor the Warlock, Steve Jackson, and Ian Livingstone at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2014.
It really came home to me that Fighting Fantasy Fest was actually happening when all the traders started to turn up and unload very professional-looking display cabinets and the like. And it was the presence of Otherworld Miniatures, Leisure Games, FightingFantasy.com, Snowbooks, Arion Games, All Rolled Up, Scriptarium, Tin Man Games, Inkle Studios, Gothic Manor, and Legend Photography that really helped to make what started out as a book launch into a proper con.
Otherworld Miniatures' Zagor miniatures in special FFF blister packs.
But of course the day wouldn't have been what it was without the presence of the host of Fighting Fantasy guests who made their way to Ealing especially for Fighting Fantasy Fest. There were the artists Chris Achilleos, Malcolm Barter, John Blanche, Leo Hartas, Tony Hough, Russ Nicholson, writer Peter Darvill-Evans also made it, along with very special guests Philippa Dickinson and Geraldine Cooke (who just made it in the nick of time to rapturous applause from the audience). But none of us would have been there in the first place if it hadn't been for our very special Guests of Honour, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.
Just part of the much marvelled at FF Exhibition.
Jamie Fry of FightingFantasy.com.
I am grateful to Neil Rennison for kicking off the talks with a presentation about Tin Man Games and the company's plans for the Fighting Fantasy apps, which was followed by the headline act of the day, as it were - Steve and Ian in conversation with Philippa and Geraldine (eventually).
One of the goodie bags given away on the day, plus contents.
FFF 2014 would not have run so smoothly without the help of my family and best friend Andy, so a massive thank you to them***. But the biggest thanks has to go to all those who attended. If you hadn't stumped up for a ticket or two, the event could not have happened.
There are already rumblings regarding FFF 2015. I think it's safe to say that if we do do it again, it won't be quite the same as this year, put I will also be sending out a questionnaire, in due course, for attendees of FFF 2014 to give their feedback and have their say regarding what they would like to see at the next Fighting Fantasy Fest.
Because of all the work involved in preparing for (and promoting) Fighting Fantasy Fest, I completely failed to blog about Bex Levene's Smiler's Fair book launch, or even what I got up to at Loncon 3 (which including accidentally saying "Hi" to George R R Martin). However, I'm back on the blogging horse now and would like to let you know about some other events that I shall be appearing at in the run up to Christmas.
MCM Comic Con London Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th October 2014
I'll be at MCM two out of the three days it's running, selling my Steampunk Pax Britannia novels as well as bringing along YOU ARE THE HERO this year.
Kilburn Literary Festival Sunday 2nd November 2014 (2.00pm-3.30pm)
I shall be at the North London Tavern, talking about how my History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks came to be, giving you the story of the book, as it were (rather like the 'Making of...' documentaries you get on DVDs). Steampunks in Space Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th November 2014
I will be at the National Space Centure in Leicester for a weekend of Steampunk splendidness. So why not come along and pick up one of my Pax Britannia novels while you're there? After all, Dark Side is set in space as well as on the Moon!
Dragonmeet Saturday 6th December 2014 (10.00am-6.00pm)
I'm going to have a table at Dragonmeet this year, so come along and pick up one of the last hardbacks of the first edition of YOU ARE THE HEROand get it signed at the same time!
Maybe I'll see you at one of the above...
* 7.00 a.m. ** Goodie bags, Kickstarter backer copies of YOU ARE THE HERO, bottles of water... *** It's been particularly gratifying to read other people's kind comments about how hard my wife worked on the day, and even one attendee remarking how much he enjoyed embarking upon an AFF adventure with my sprogs.
It's been a couple of weeks since YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, was released on an unsuspecting public, and with all the Kickstarter backer copies having been sent out into the wild now, the book has begun to receive some reviews, and very favourable they are too.
Geek Syndicate has this to say about the book: "You Are The Hero is a magnificent work that manages to be objective and passionate about the series it discusses. A more fitting tribute to the series that saw me through my youth I can’t really imagine." 4.5/5
Lew Stringer, the comic artist who provided a brand new Derek the Troll strip for the book, reviewed it both here and here. Lew said that the book, "looks very interesting because it seems to be written for both Joe Public and the hard core gamer, which can't be a bad thing... The book is well illustrated throughout with numerous images, including many full page book covers without the cover copy so that you can fully appreciate the art."
Games designer Jake Thornton even gave YOU ARE THE HERO a mention over at Quirkworthy.com.
Realm of Chaos 80s loved the book! "The book is a joy! An absolute joy! Even if you have a slimmest interest in FF this book is worth buying. Every page brings a new memory, a new fact and a bigger, broader smile!"
Starburst Magazine had this to say: "Green has produced a beautifully edited and firmly present account of a phenomenon that for some is as important as Transformers or Star Wars and yet has been pretty much overlooked by the mainstream. If you’ve recently become reacquainted with the idea of turning to page 400 and want to know more about this strangely British fandom, then this is the best place to start." 8/10
Corehammer.com also liked it: "You Are The Hero is an absolute triumph. It is a love letter to a cherished memory, written with a scholars knowledge and a fanboys heart."
FFF 2014 will be the first time Damien reveals the results of the project he has been working on for the last year with Ian Livingstone, and as one of those lucky individuals who has already had a sneak peak I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.
FF fans and dedicated miniatures collectors are not going to want to miss this... So buy your ticket today, before they run out!
Thanks to the fact that Amazon are a law unto themselves, despite YOU ARE THE HERO's official publication day being this coming Sunday, some lucky individuals have already managed to get their hands on the book and give it a read. And, as a result, two reviews have appeared online already.
The first I became aware of was this one on The Realm of Chaos 80s blog: "The book is a joy! An absolute joy!... Even if you have a slimmest interest in FF this book is worth buying. Every page brings a new memory, a new fact and a bigger, broader smile!"
And then this one appeared on Amazon itself: "This absolutely excellent new publication is the definitive history of the triumph of the Fighting Fantasy book, chronicling their rise, their fall and their 21st century re-birth as essential tablet/phone apps. Crammed full with all the art work you will ever need about the series, maps, full colour paintings, concept work and much much more.
Even if you only have a cursory flick through the books back in the day, you NEED to own a copy of this one."
Of course, having said that these are the first reviewers, they are in fact the first reviews written by the book-buying public. YOU ARE THE HEROhas already been reviewed by SFX Magazine, and three other individuals, whose quotes appear on the back cover.
If you happen to read YOU ARE THE HERO, a favourable review on Amazon would be much appreciated. And, to be honest, if you're the sort of person who's going to purchase the book in the first place, I would hazard to guess that your review will be a favourable one. ;-)
I know that some of those attending Fighting Fantasy Fest are already preparing what they're going to wear for the day, and I have it on good authority that will we see at least one Zagor the Warlock!
It's not too late to put together your own FF-themed outfit for the day. Indeed, anyone dressing up for FFF 2014 will be able to take part in a costume competition, the winner being decided by the other attendees on the day. The prize? A framed, signed poster of Ian Livingstone's Blood of the Zombies book cover!
Well have no fear, because the event has its own bar for the day - The Black Lobster Tavern - and the DoubleTree Hilton has a cafe, literally just across the foyer from where we'll be celebrating all things Fighting Fantasy. Even better, a lunch hour has been factored into the schedule for the day.
Of course, you could also spend that hour perusing the stalls in Port Blacksand and Darkwood Forest. Among the traders are:
Otherworld Miniatures - who have produced the highly collectible Zagor miniature that will be in every attendee's goodie bag.
Leisure Games - purveyors of only the finest board games.
Among the traders attending Fighting Fantasy Fest 2014 is All Rolled Up. All Rolled Up produce unique accessories for gamers, called ARUs.
"ARU offers an innovative, flexible and all-in-one solution for bringing your gaming to the table. A game roll that combines pocket, pen tidy and dice bag into a single accessory - so that when you're All Rolled Up you're ready to game. But, it's not just for gamers... All Rolled Up can carry dice, eraser, index cards, sticky notes, beads, writing gear, drawing kit, board game components, trading cards, wargame miniatures, stationery, make-up and more."