Over at the OD&D Discussion boards, things have (predictably) begun to heat up. The intensity of the response is so baffling, it has prompted this question from the forum denizen known as The Perilous Dreamer:
Would someone fill me in on why there is so much hate for jeffro and for this book, because I am not seeing where any of this is coming from.
It’s not about me. The sort of suppression fire you see here… well, it’s strange to say this, but it’s a type of warfare.
Howard’s tales lack the de Camp verisimilitude–Howard never tried, or never tried intelligently, to give his preposterous saga the ring of truth…even when they’re most insulting to the rational mind. Howard had the maniac’s advantage of believing whatever he wrote; de Camp is too wise to believe wholeheartedly in anything. All the great fantasies, I suppose, have been written by emotionally crippled men. Howard was a recluse and a man so morbidly attached to his mother that when she died he committed suicide; Lovecraft had enough phobias and eccentricities for nine; Merritt was chinless, bald and shaped like a shmoo. The trouble with Conan is that the human race never had produced and never could produce such a man, and sane writers know it; therefore the sick writers have a monopoly of him.
I had no idea that this sort of thing went on when I was writing my book. I was baffled by the fact that these supremely talented authors that engineered the foundations of fantasy and science fiction were so strangely and weirdly obscure. I know when I read them I kept saying to myself, “why didn’t anyone tell me to read this author before?!” and “why is the only discussion about this on some stale blog posts from the OSR?!”
The fact is, there are people that can only enjoy contemporary works, that have a difficult time reading anything from before 1980, and that have a meltdown when they encounter things from before 1940. And whether they know anything about me or not, they are my enemies from the moment they catch wind of anything related to my efforts.
How can you know if you’ll like my book or not…? Well I’ve seen enough to have an idea. If you have read any Howard or Lovecraft or Merritt and thought to yourself, “I’d really like to read more stuff like that,” then you’ll be glad to learn more about the authors that would have been considered to be their peers by the designers of the first wave of role-playing games. If you look at the Appendix N reading list and don’t recognize more than a few names, you will come away with a list of authors that you are excited about and that you’ll want to start reading right away.
If you’re the sort of person that thinks that the ugliness of a Damon Knight is something to aspire to as a critic, then you’ll hate it.