Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Fire*Wolf Saga

Back in the good old days of the early 1980s when my GrailQuest series of gamebooks was (literally) selling in the millions, I was struck by the sort of revelation that only comes to those who don’t get out enough. As I recall it now, my thought processes went something like this:

Gamebooks generally were all the rage among children at the time, but my fan mail suggested children weren’t the only ones reading them. (I had a couple of letters from university professors.) Was it not possible, I asked myself, that there might be a market for an adult gamebook series? I set my agent -— Murray Pollinger in those distant days -— to finding a publisher who would agree; and he swiftly succeeded.

Having had what might well have been a good idea, I proceeded to change it. Gamebooks, as you know, are almost always written in the second person, present tense. In other words, you are the hero. But I felt this was far too unsophisticated for an adult market and decided my new series would be the world’s first interactive novel, written, like any self-respecting novel, in the third person, past tense.

Thus was born the Sagas of the Demonspawn a traditional sword and sorcery fantasy featuring the barbarian Fire*Wolf, whose asterisk represented a glottal stop in the way his people pronounced his name.

Needless to say, while it was indeed the world’s first interactive novel, the buoyant adult market I expected never actually materialised. To my astonishment, it sold well enough, but to the same young gamers who were buying GrailQuest.

That was the first time Fire*Wolf surprised me. Today is the second. Because today Tin Man officially published The Complete Sagas of Fire*Wolf, which contains all four Demonspawn books in a single app. This is Fire*Wolf in an electronic loincloth and I never thought I’d live to see the day.

Wish me luck and buy the app. There are versions available for download from the iOS App Store, Google Play, Amazon Appstore for Android. The sagas are also available for PC, Mac, Linux and Android via the Humble Widget on the Gamebook Adventures website: