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Appendix N: The Literary History of Dungeons & Dragons is a detailed and comprehensive investigation of the various works of science fiction and fantasy that game designer Gary Gygax declared to be the primary influences on his seminal role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons. It is a deep intellectual dive into the literature of SF/F’s past that […]

When it comes to Appendix N, let’s be honest – there’s a little bit of a pecking order. Even most mainstream, casual readers have certainly heard of the likes of Tolkien and Lovecraft, probably Burroughs, and maybe Howard. Among genre fans and older gamers (which often overlap) and the true believers of the Cult of […]

Not too long ago I finally got through Sterling Lanier’s Hiero’s Journey. Although it undeniably put forth some creative and inspiring ideas, I wasn’t overly impressed. Jeffro’s noted that the book was one of the primary influences of Gamma World, and though I’ve never played it, reading the basic description of the game’s setting is indeed evocative […]

Leigh Brackett is something of a staple here at Castalia House and for the Pulp Revolution crowd at large, but I must admit it’s taken me quite a while to get to her stuff. I’ve seen Alex’s reviews, of course, and I’ve noted her constant exclusion by the “women have historically been excluded from SFF!!1” […]

Last week, I wrote an observation about Lovecraft’s works.  In the comments, several readers mentioned The Shadow over Innsmouth, a tale I had embarrassingly not read at the time.  I rectified this error soon after. And wow, what an amazing story!  An imaginative gem from beginning to end, with steadily mounting tension, an inspired explanation to the […]

Like most here, I’m a fan of HP Lovecraft’s stories.  The imagination is astounding and the description vivid and memorable.  However, when I first read these tales a few years ago, I was most impressed by Lovecraft’s technical writing prowess.  He had a better, more articulate command of language than many serious dramatic writers possess, […]

I recently mused on Twitter that Jack Vance may be my favorite Appendix N author, despite the fact that none of his books that I’ve read so far would likely top my favorites list. I’ve explored this ambivalence in the past, in other dimensions, and for the most part it still holds. Still, I’m finding that […]

I’ve nearly finished with the Solomon Kane stories, but there’s still a lot of chew on.  My most recent Howard-inspired musing flows from a line in “The Blue Flame of Vengeance.” Please excuse me as I meander a bit; of course I welcome you to join me. “While evil flourishes and wrongs grow rank, while […]

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