Only just started reading but want to share this excellent book for those even remotely interested in the literary influences on early D&D. There is also an appendix in which Jeffro and Tunnels and Trolls creator Ken St. Andre have a conversation filled with enough references to keep one reading for ages.
John Wright pens the Introduction, followed by essays covering forty-three of the books singled out in particular and recommended by Gary Gygax. Besides the St. Andre interview the appendices contain critiques and overviews of Ron Edwards’s Sorcerer, Alexander Macris’s The Adventurer Conqueror King System, and James Maliszewski’s Dwimmermount.
Castalia House should be releasing a trade paperback version in the next month or so.
I asked Jeffro about his focus on Appendix N and he mentioned his desire was to understand why early D&D was so strange to him. “I wanted to solve problems I faced in running games– problems that I now see stemmed from a stunted imagination,” he said. He also mentioned that the project steadily turned into “something else” and at the beginning had no idea he would eventually get to read and enjoy stories by those that were influenced by his earlier criticism.
There is definitely enough content to stimulate the most stunted of imaginations with coverage of books by well known authors such as Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber to more esoteric and old school authors such as A. Merritt.