Cancellation of Puffin Range

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Well, it wasn't just FF that died. The whole Gamebook thing just faded away ... the market was dead ...[1]

The Fighting Fantasy series hadn’t been selling as well as it had in recent years.[2]

The reason for the cancellation was money. There was a perception of retailers that the craze was over. I don't think many Puffin staff had ever really liked FF very much (they liked the money, of course). They never made much effort to promote the series ... In a way FF was a victim of its own success. Its early sales were so spectacular that when it settled down ... it seemed to be doing so badly in comparison that it could be axed with relative impunity.[3]

Cancellation of Puffin Range covers the discontinuation of the Fighting Fantasy series under the Puffin Books imprint.

For details on books under consideration at the time the range ended, see Unpublished Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks

According to correspondence between gamebook writer Jonathan Green and Fighting Fantasy fan John Stock in 2001, Puffin had temporarily ceased commissioning new titles for the range in early 1995 (the last published title of the range, Curse of the Mummy, would appear in the October of the same year) after several years of roughly only three new titles each year.[2][4]

At this point Puffin was considering a shake up to the range in an attempt to win back the young reading audience.[5]

Richard [Scrivener] wrote to me in August 1995 explaining that the delay in commissioning me was due to Puffin looking at ways of re-vamping the entire series. The thrust of this was the inclusion of some kind of electronic dice in a fold-over cover. There was also talk of improving the paper quality and of having full-colour illustrations throughout. In the end the electronic dice idea didn’t prove to be viable but other changes still needed to be finalised.[2]

The new plan that was finally settled on was to have all new titles be shorter than the previous standard with only 300 paragraphs and for older back-catalogue titles to be edited down (by then Fighting Fantasy editor Marc Gascoigne) to 300 and reprinted. The first title of this new strategy was to be book 60, Bloodbones by Jonathan Green as the original book scheduled for slot 60, Night of the Creature, was delayed due to other commitments on the part of author Marc Gascoigne. It was written after being formally commissioned in the January of 1996 (with publication set for October/November), Green also producing a black and white map for the book.[2] Mike Posen was commissioned to supply the illustrations and these were submitted along with the completed book.[6]

No evidence currently exists to indicate that any other potential titles went beyond the "idea" stage to reach a formal commissioning. As 1996 moved into 1997 the chances of the range continuing dwindled further.

It had now been a while since FF59 had actually come out and there was still no sign of a publication date for Bloodbones FF60. Every so often I would hear from Puffin to say that they were postponing the relaunch. I think the last date I was given for Bloodbones being published was March 1998 but, of course, it never happened.[7]

It is not known at what point Puffin finally pulled the plug on the range or at which point the "rights" to the series reverted to Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.

See AlsoEdit


  1. Interview with Jamie Thomson at the Internet Archive record of
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Letter from Jonathan Green at the Internet Archive record of AMYLASE
  3. Letter from Paul Mason at the Internet Archive record of the old
  4. Letter from Paul Mason at the Internet Archive record of the old - "I was waiting for a contract for my own book proposal The Wailing World for two years, continually reassured by Marc G[ascoinge] that the series hadn't been cancelled."
  5. Letter from Jonathan Green at the Internet Archive record of AMYLASE - "Puffin felt that some of the more recent gamebooks had become too complicated, alienating the child target audience that FF relied on for its sales. They wanted the gamebooks to be more straightforward and less obscure."
  6. Interview with Jonathan Green at the Internet Archive record of - "The same artist even did roughs for the cover but, as far as I know, went no further than that."
  7. Interview with Jonathan Green at the Internet Archive record of

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