Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April A to Z - F is for Fighting For Your Fantasy. An interview with Justin MacCormack

Hello all! Today, we have Justin MacCormack, Fighting Fantasy trekker and author  of brilliant horror stories.

Today we find out what he's been up to...

“You have completed every Fighting Fantasy playthrough. What was your favourite book to play through?”#

I’m tempted to say ‘the ones which I’ve won’, but that doesn’t include a lot. In fact, the ones that I enjoyed the most are, as I expected, the ones that I had the strongest nostalgic memories with. Namely Vault of the Vampire, City of Thieves, and Legend of the Shadow Warriors.

“You are currently running a vote on the 5 Fighting Fantasy books that you should play through until you win. Are you looking forward to the current top 5?”

Oh god no. At this point, three of the books that are in the lead are from the main series, while the other two are the final parts of the ‘Sorcery!’ series. Those two are going to be an utter nightmare to play through, as they’re extremely difficult, and I need to figure out how to incorporate items from the first two books as well.

“Were there any books that you were dreading playing through?”

My dislike of the sci-fi FF books is the stuff of legend. It’s no surprise that I left so many of them for later on in my playthroughs. In general, I didn’t care for most of them. I would still happily give blood rather than play Rings of Kethar or Rebel Planet.

“You like playing various games and RPGs - which one is your favourite and why?”

I’m not very retro when it comes to gaming, I don’t care much for old-school number-crunching D&D style, and I’m not too into indie hipster GM-less games where you determine success by spending magic beans or pulling Jenga blocks or whatever. Give me a good, solid Call of Cthulhu tabletop adventure or an atmospheric World of Darkness one, and I’ll be happy. I’m currently playing in UK Masquerade Portsmouth, the oldest-running Vampire the Masquerade LARP in the world, I also run regular Call of Cthulhu games and I’m (seemingly constantly) planning a Changeling the Lost campaign.

“you have also released two anthologies of short horror stories. What inspirations did you draw from for them?”

Ah, you must mean my beloved “Return to ‘Return to Oz’”, available now at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LRZD1C6 (plug, plug), right? Yes, my newest anthology “Cthulhu Doesn’t Dance” is also out now, they are influenced by my general boredom with genre fiction. I love horror, but so much of it can be samey, with the same kind of tropes and genre conventions. I want to write different stories, from all kinds of genres, mixing them together to create different tastes to each one. So each book has ten short stories, each of which are very, very different. As far as I’m concerned, that’s what matters the most.

“What are you planning on for the future?”

Keep an eye on my blog for all the big updates. But in short, I’m going to have two more books out this year. The first, “Diary of a gay teenage zombie”, is exactly what it says on the tin – a coming of age LGBT drama about a zombie, written in diary format, exploring the theme of feeling as though you’re an outsider. The second book is the first in a fantasy adventure series set in the worlds of the faerie, struggling to protect their homeland from an ancient evil. This one’s tentatively titled “Twilight of the Faerie”, and it’ll be either four or five books long, depending on how it turns out.

And as for my www.Fightyourfantasy.blogspot.co.uk adventures, I do have a few cards up my sleeves in the next few months. Not to give too much information away, but you can expect to see several new playthroughs this year – ones from a series of books that you’ve not seen me do before. Stick around.

For another great gamebook kickstarter, check out Westward Dystopia which is well on it way to being funded.


  1. Replies
    1. Justin MacCormack no longer exists.

    2. I'm not trying to be rude, but "they" is a plural. Any second-grade English learner knows that. A person is an individual (singular), not a collection (plural).

      I'm all for people choosing their gender. More power to them. Do what makes you happy. But the rules of English and, indeed, the laws of nature dictate "he" = male and "she" = female. Choose one and go with it. Or come up with a new pronoun. I'm all for that, too. But don't use "they." It's an established plural.

      I will respect a person's choice. But when they start dictating to me what I have to say, that's where I draw the line. Whether it's right-wing or left-wing. You'd better DAMN well respect my choice, too.

    3. English is an evolving language, so it can be singular. If you say people can call themselves whatever they want whilst simultaneously telling them that you don't recognise them using the pronoun they is contradicting yourself in the same breath. Trolling. Why don't you leave another comment, so I can smash that apart as well.

    4. Before continuing, tell me where I said "people can call themselves whatever they want."

      I said they can choose their gender. I respect that choice. Then choose your unique title. Example: "John Smith" or "Mary Jones." Even a symbol, as Prince in the 90's did. But a name is *NOT* a pronoun.

      Thanks also for respecting others' opinions, even if they go completely against what you feel. I'm willing to do so. Are you?

    5. You are saying you respect peoples' choices, but then saying that they shouldn't choose "they" because it's not grammatically correct. I think that's a lame excuse.

      I love other peoples' opinions going against what I feel. Keep them coming.

  2. You are entitled to think that choosing a personal noun to call yourself is no different than choosing the shared pronoun to call yourself.

    I simply do not. A name is personal, unique, special. A pronoun is used by billions, many of whom are learning English as a beginning or 2nd language.

    Since you are obviously SOOOOOO much more knowledgeable about the "evolving" (I would say "changing," but let's go with your definition for the time being), what would YOU teach those early childhood English learners about pronouns such as "he," "she," "we," "they" and "them"?

  3. I'd teach them what the dictionary definition is because that's what you do - you start with the basic definitions and then you introduce the complexities later on.