Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Warhammer Wednesday: Space Marine Terminators

Last week it was all about the Space Marine Terminators over at the Black Library. I've written about Terminators a few times myself, over the years.

The first Warhammer 40K story I ever wrote for Black Library featured an Ultramarines Terminator called Brother Rius. Salvation was reprinted a couple of times as part of other Space Marine collections, and always seemed to be popular.

More recently I wrote about the Imperial Fists Terminator Brother Nabor of Squad Scipio in the Path to Victory gamebook Herald of Oblivion.

Did you know that Herald of Oblivion is Black Library's best-selling Path to Victory gamebook? If you haven't read it yourself yet, you can pick up a copy here.

Talking of Black Library eBook collections, my most recent Warhammer short story Sticks and Stones can now be purchased as part of the collection Eaten By Rats.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts

Coming to a Christmas stocking near you soon from Snowbooks* is Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts.

Some readers of this blog may already have What is Myrrh Anyway? in their collection of Christmas books (published in 2008 by Icon Books), Well Christmas Explained is the brand new hardback edition of the book (and actually has the word 'Christmas' in the title).

If you have already read What is Myrrh Anyway? then you'll know that the book's a great read - "As welcome as a warm glass of mulled wine on a wintry night," according to the Good Book Guide - but you will also be thinking, "Why do I need to buy it again?"**

And to you I would say, "Because the text has been completely revised and updated, and at least another 10,000 words of content added. That's why."

So if you want to know where tinsel comes from, or when a frost fair was held actually on the surface of the River Thames, or if you've ever wondered why we build snowmen at Christmas***, then add Christmas Explained to your wish list this festive season.

* Rather appropriately.

** Unless you're buying it as a suitably festive gift for someone else.

*** If it actually snows.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Thought for the Day

"Books are like old friends. Sometimes you have to let them go."

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Fighting Fantasy Fest 2014

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,, 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

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.

Just some of the highlights of the day
  • Meeting so many FF fans and backers of YOU ARE THE HERO.
  • Meeting the Demonic Three (a.k.a. Mark Lain, Steve Leicester and Jam Hirons).
  • Seeing a Goblin patrolling the queue attempting to register on the day and berating them generally.
  • The FF Exhibition.
  • Damien Sparkes' FF miniatures.
  • People asking me to sign original copies of Spellbreaker and Knights of Doom, along with my other gamebooks at the mass signing.
  • The FF Auction (with Ian Livingstone working the room like a pro).
  • Getting the band back together. (All of the WARLOCK level backers who went for lunch with Steve and Ian back in June 2013 were there.)
  • Thomas Nielsen winning the costume competition dressed, appropriately enough, as Zagor the Warlock.
  • Facebook friends and Twitter adventurers meeting in person for the first time.
  • My Skill, Stamina and Luck t-shirt.
  • Having my photo taken by Legend Photography alongside Ian and Steve.
  • The positive atmosphere and happy con-buzz (which still hasn't left me).

Who let that Goblin in?

Pure Evil Miniatures' take on some Fighting Fantasy classics.

The Downside
  • Timings going a little out the window (but thank goodness the hotel let us stay on for an extra hour).
  • Not getting my own copy of YOU ARE THE HERO signed by all of the guests.
  • Not having enough time to speak to anyone beyond saying "Hello, thanks for coming" in some cases.

The creators of Fighting Fantasy, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, and the author of YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, Jonathan Green.

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.

If you missed the event, the exclusive Zagor the Warlock miniature that was given away in the event goodie bag is now available to buy from Otherworld Miniatures. And if you'd like to see some more photos from the day, you can do so here.

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 Centre 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!

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 HERO and 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.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Gamebook Friday: YOU ARE THE HERO reviewed

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

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 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."

And then there are the 22 5-star reviews on*,  the 5-star review on, and the 5-star review on**.

If you would like to pick up a physical copy of the book, you can do so here. However, if ebooks are more your thing these days, you can download a digital copy of YOU ARE THE HERO here. And if you enjoy it, feel free to add your own review online.

* As of writing. ;-)

** That has mysteriously vanished!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Steampunk Thursday: Leviathan Rising

Luzifer-Verlag, the German publishers who published a German edition of Unnatural History last year, will soon be releasing a German language edition of my second Pax Britannia novel Leviathan Rising. And here's the new cover by Timo K├╝mmel...

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Warhammer Wednesday: The Connoisseurs of Pain

The Dark Eldar are getting a lot of attention from Games Workshop at the moment. The revamped Warhammer 40K army have some very cool troop types, not least of which are the haemonculi and their various, tortured pain engines.

Both feature in my Warhammer 40K gamebook Herald of Oblivion, which (incredibly) is already over two years old! If you've not read it yet, you can pick up a copy here.