It never came to fruition. For the most part, whenever it was mentioned, it was done so in tandem with gaining permission from the Grand Wizard at Penguin - a manifestation of Penguin Books. The first mention of the club was in a reader's letter from reader, Harvey Lawrence, who suggested the club in "The Warlock's Quill" section of issue 3. The editors in the guise of The Warlock, answered this by saying they might potentially be able to "twist the arm of the Grand Wizard at Penguin" into giving a special subscription rate to Warlock magazine for members of a "Fighting Fantasy Club", should one be created. They said:
“ Hey, that’s not a bad idea! Would other readers be interested in a Fighting Fantasy Club? Members could get a membership card, badge, regular newsletter on what’s happening in Fighting Fantasy and maybe even a special subscription rate to Warlock magazine if we can twist the arm of the Grand Wizard at Penguin! Let us know what you think. ”
Later on the same page, The Warlock responds to another mail concerning a Fighting Fantasy/Gamebook Club by saying "Someone else who wants a Gamebook Club! Are you listening, Grand Wizard?".
In "The Warlock's Quill" section of issue 5 the Grand Wizard was one again mentioned in connection with a prospective Fighting Fantasy club: "And finally, the FF Club. We’ve had many, many requests for a Club. At the moment they’re stacked up on the Grand Wizard’s desk. Do not ignore these pleas, O powerful one!"
As an addition to this issue's "Warlock's Quill", there was a special "Fighting Fantasy Club Update". The Warlock expressed thanks to the multitude of readers who supported Harvey Lawrence’s suggestion in issue 3, that a Fighting Fantasy club should have Priority One status. It ended by saying "By hook or by crook, we’ll bend that Grand Wizard’s arm yet!"
Issue 6 was the first to be published by Games Workshop as opposed to Penguin Books. From this issue onwards, the Grand Wizard was not referred to. Interestingly, in the introduction, the potential for a Fighting Fantasy club is mentioned for the last time in the Warlock magazines. Previously, whenever the club was mentioned, so was the Grand Wizard as a potential obstacle to its set up. The editors wrote:
“ A constant stream of letters implores us to set up a Fighting Fantasy club. This is beyond even the Warlock’s mystic powers – it is a matter that can be decided only by Penguin Books and your editors-in-chief in person. But we hope that Warlock magazine can become the nucleus of a nationwide gamebook ‘club’. We’ve got a lot of ideas about how to go about this, and we’ll reveal all in future issues... ”
We can glean much from the above. First, Penguin Books is referred to, rather than the Grand Wizard at Penguin. This suggests that with the change in ownership of Warlock magazine, came a change in how Penguin was to be viewed in relation to it. Second, the editors placed themselves in an equal position to Penguin Books in making the decision, where previously they had intimated that it was down to the Grand Wizard alone to decide. Third, by proffering the suggestion that they hoped Warlock magazine could become the nucleus of a nationwide gamebook ‘club’, this appears to have been an attempt to deflect any more calls for a Fighting Fantasy club, in favour of concentrating on delivering the core Fighting Fantasy products.
- ↑ Among those who wanted to join immediately were: John Stephens, Edward Shelton, Henry Andrews, Ben Cowell, Gavin Fudge, Ian Liennard, M. Anderson, Gideon Clifton, Andrew Flynn, Paul Wilkinson, Lee Gerrard, Aacun Naik, Sean York, John Wilson, Steve Clarkson, David Jones, Roger Kelly, Quentin Crisp, Richard Barrow, Craig Kendrick, Richard Wickenden, Mark Thompson, Hayden Matthews, Jonathan Tyers, John Jackson, Ian Macdonald, Brian Gray, Sean McGovern, Michael Burns, Philip McHardy, Paul Johnson, Daniel Hunt, Marten Steel, Nicholas Kruys, Mark Stewart, David Cattanach, John ‘Sulthad the Master Thief’ Battle, Ewan Pearson, Scott Strait, Paul Monaghan, Archmage J. Stanton, Dean Willetts, Tim Peach, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson (heh, heh).