Monday, 9 August 2010

iPad news

No, not that iPad news. You'll have to hang on just a short while longer before we can bring you that. But while you're waiting to hear when the green comet is going to light up the App Store (soon, very soon) you might be interested in this report on Russ Nicholson's blog about the Fabled Lands game coming on iPad.

Fabled Lands was a series of connected swords-n-sorcery gamebooks I wrote with Jamie Thomson back in the 1990s. We don't usually cover that branch of the fantasy family tree around here. We're more into Dunsany and John Collier than Feist and Gemmell. But if you allow that the point of contact between those two extremes might be authors like Moorcock, Whitbourn, Tim Powers and Susanna Clarke then possibly there's a line of connection to be drawn.

And while I'm on the subject of fantasy, there are interesting stirrings of something fresh in the genre, in the form of a movement called the New Weird. Okay, not really all that fresh (other than in name) as you can trace it back to In Viriconium, indeed to Gormenghast, and thence back to Gothic literature. But that dark, spicy strain of fantasy is enjoying a bit of a renewal of late. I like it because it brings a little of SF's progressiveness and naturalism to a genre that is often stilted, twee, contemptibly conservative, and slavishly adherent to familiar tropes. (Although if you like all those elven council sagas don't let me put you off.) The New Weird, though, is a bit grungier and rather more likely to shake your world-view than reinforce it. If it sounds like it might be your tincture of opium, you could do worse than start with this manifesto by Paul Charles Smith.

None of which applies to Fabled Lands, I hasten to add, which is unreconstructed FRP-style adventure as it existed in the heyday of gamebooks. Coming soon to an iPad near you.


  1. Very exciting! I hope this bodes well for the future of games and other forms of storytelling (both interactive and otherwise) on the iPad.

  2. Fabulous imagery - I particularly like the toppermost image and it's fascinating to read Russ's posting and see how his drawings have been adapted for the new format.

    All in all fascinating stuff - the IPad era is upon us.

  3. @Sandy - well, I don't think the FL game will win any prizes for innovation in interactive storytelling, but it promises to be a good fun 2D CRPG/visual novel in the Japanese tradition. For real innovation, take a look at what UK new-gen publisher Nosy Crow are up to.

    @Peter - that one is Russ's favorite too. Megara have done a beautiful job of adapting his illustrations and we're hoping the games will go on to cover all the rest of the FL series.

    The iPad era? You bet!