My copy of Scorpion Swamp for this read-through comes courtesy of eBay and is in generally pretty good nick. Seems there are finds still to be had in the wild, although I’m starting to understand that as I get further into the series, I’ll have less and less success in finding them. I know I could have a small collection of Citadel of Chaos’ and Forest of Dooms by now. Having said that though, I have found a few later books out there, so I’m not giving in on the humble charity shop just yet.
Scorpion Swamp brings us to what I believe is the first appearance of the word ‘PRESENT’ on the cover. Now, I always knew I would learn a few things along the way in doing this blog and you, dear, learned reader, will probably roll your eyes and say ‘Really?’, but I had no idea that the Fighting Fantasy books had writers other than Livingstone and Jackson. My mind was blown, younger-me never appreciated what the word ‘present’ represented. And then I discover there are two Steve Jacksons and the fake Steve Jackson wrote this one. Down is up, black is white and Guillermo Del Toro didn’t direct The Orphanage… But having recovered from this news, I have been able to dust myself down and carry on.
Perusing the internet, I discover that this isn’t exactly the most popular Fighting Fantasy book ever written, FF Reviews Archive stoking my enthusiasm with quotes such as ‘This is the book that turned me off buying FF books for 13 years’ and ‘I cannot complete this book. Not because it is so difficult, but rather because it is so boring’. I probably shouldn’t go there before I read a book again. Someone did slate City of Thieves though, so what do they know?
My own memories of this book are pretty much restricted to being in Keighley, up in my home of Yorkshire with my mum, she’d just bought me a copy of this here Scorpion Swamp and I was flicking through it in a shoe shop, horrified that I was expected to draw a map for this one as I’d never bothered before. I cannot confirm if the shoes were for me or not, apologies.
Apparently, this is how you draw a map –
The mapping is an important aspect of the book though as the introduction of a new writer brought new ideas. Areas may be re-visited in this title, which in theory I guess adds a certain logic to adventure, I always thought if I really was the adventurer in these books, nothing would stop me doubling-back and checking unexplored areas. How it works in practice, I guess we’ll find out. There also appears to be a choice of three quests to go on ( good, neutral and evil) with corresponding spells to cast based on your choice of alignment. I don’t remember any of this at all! But still, let’s not spoil too much, I guess I should get reading…