The Island Of The Lizard King

I often like writing about stuff I love. It’s even better when it’s stuff that I love that has influenced my writing. If you’ll allow me to bang on about books for a bit then read on. Not just any books but a series of them and how their style directly goes into something I’ve begun working on.

This is going to sound a bit ‘back in my day’…

When I was at school the word ‘geek’ was not a prefix for a thriving culture but something far lesser thought of. This was years before Marvel and DC were making big screen movies that make comic books something far more mainstream and accepted. I played Warhammer 40k table top battle games, video games and I also loved Fighting Fantasy books.


Fighting Fantasy books were part story and part game. They were an advance on a Choose Your Own Adventure book in that you had to keep a dice handy for combat with various monsters which would sap your stamina gauge and situations in which you would need to test your luck. The first ever book I played was Freeway Fighter, essentially the Fighting Fantasy take on Mad Max as you drove a car across the wastelands searching for fuel to keep your car moving. I borrowed it from the tiny library room in my primary school and they kept rotating the title to keep a few fresh ones coming in. You could design a whole new character for each book but I usually tried to keep the same stats and imagine I was like Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap.


I’m always interested in ways of telling a story, not just words written on a page. Lately I’ve been looking at writing a piece of interactive fiction, a story that the readers themselves drives along with their own decisions. It’s probably going to end up being something you can play on a mobile phone or a tablet.

The challenge in this is that there is no linear stream and I’m already concocting flow charts for different responses. This means a single turning point can then expand massively to cover every possible response. I’m working on an opening scene which will end up being proof of concept to test if this kind of thing will work. Eventually I’m hoping it’ll be four to five hours of a text based story that responds to your decisions and questions.

If it goes right, it’ll be brilliant.