Appendix N suggestions

Appendix N is the literary wellspring of the DCC RPG. Discuss it here, along with related subjects: D&D history, pulp sci-fi/fantasy magazines, pre-genre literature, etc.

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Bercilak
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Appendix N suggestions

Post by Bercilak » Fri May 11, 2012 6:37 am

Most of my fantasy reading came after Appendix N was codified. So, I read the things that were still popular in the 1980s--Amber, Fafhrd and Mouser, Moorcock, Lovecraft, but missed out on a lot of the earlier stuff. I'm currently (slowly) working my way through the works of the Appendix, but I'm not very knowledgeable about some of the authors. The following list is of the authors that don't have specific works attributed to them in Appendix N. I saw that finarvyn posted a list of some of those novels on his chronological list in the stickied message for this sub-forum. I'd like to hear what other people think, too. What work I should read for these authors? For now, I'm trying to read one novel (or collection) per author.

Brackett, Leigh
Brown, Frederic
Derleth, August
Dunsany, Lord
Lovecraft, H. P.
Norton, Andre
Weinbaum, Stanley
Wellman, Manley Wade
Williamson, Jack

-Berc

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Re: Appendix N suggestions

Post by GnomeBoy » Fri May 11, 2012 7:40 am

I had read somewhere that there wasn't much to Leigh Brackett's work... So I came to it with low expectations. I found a copy of The Best of Leigh Brackett fairly inexpensively, and eventually dove in. I can recommend it, if you want to be complete-ist. I can recommend it, even if you don't want to be complete-ist. There's a fair amount of variety, from sword and sandals, to star-spanning sci-fi, to sci-fi as stand-in for another genre, to sci-fi on a domestic scale. Most of the stories have doses (heavy or moderate) of the sort of post-War psychological angst you find all over Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone, and elsewhere in other popular work of that period. I happen to like that post-War psychological angst, so I enjoyed the book.
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Re: Appendix N suggestions

Post by dstack » Fri May 11, 2012 8:38 am

For Andre Norton I'd suggest Witch World. Nice interplanar travel, magic, interesting societies.

For HP Lovecraft... hmm with just one my favorite short story is "The Shadow over Innsmouth" - nice creepy community, good inspiration for D&D.

Frederic Brown... "Arena" is what I think you'd want. Inspiration for classic Star Trek episode. Neat little inspiration for a funky trap.

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Re: Appendix N suggestions

Post by bill4935 » Fri May 11, 2012 9:02 am

Bercilak wrote: What work I should read for these authors? For now, I'm trying to read one novel (or collection) per author.
-Berc
From your list I've only read Lovecraft (everything) and Norton (Quag Keep).

I too wanted to start reading these authors listed in "N" without associated titles, so last week I did some research into a good first work for each of them:

Brackett, Leigh: The Sword of Rhiannon (science fiction, set on Mars) or
Brackett, Leigh: The Ginger Star (set on a distant primitive planet)

Brown, Fredric: The Best of Fredric Brown (1976)
Derleth, August: The Watchers Out of Time and Others
Dunsany, Lord: The Gods of Pegana (find at Project Gutenberg)

Lovecraft, H. P.: --there are many equally fine collections of his short stories, like “H.P. Lovecraft: Tales”
--- as long as you read "The Call of Cthulhu" and "The Dunwich Horror" those are the main two for me. After that, you'll either want to read all the other Cthulhu Mythos stories, or you won't want to read any.
OR
For Lovecraft with more fantasy and less horror, read "The Silver Key" or the novel "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath"

Norton, Andre: Witch World, Year of the Unicorn, Elvenbane (Fantasy) or
Norton, Andre: Sargasso of Space (1955), Forerunner Foray (1973) (Science Fiction) or
Norton, Andre: Quag Keep (Actually set in Gygax's Greyhawk, written after playing with GG. Not high literature, but impressive for the time - a decade before a wave of Dragonlance hit the best-seller list.)

Weinbaum, Stanley: The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum, and the short story, “A Martian Odyssey”
Wellman, Manley Wade: Hok the Mighty
Williamson, Jack: Darker Than You Think (1948)

Note: For someone starting fresh on Appendix N, I would recommend you start with Vance's Dying Earth, Leiber's Ill Met In Lankhmar, Howard's Conan (even the comic books by Kurt Busiek are a good start for Conan), and of course The Hobbit. That covers barbarians, fighters, thieves, wizards, halflings, elves, dwarves, goblins, dragons and Hyperborians. And they're all fairly enjoyable authors to read too.

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Re: Appendix N suggestions

Post by goodmangames » Sat May 12, 2012 11:08 am

Bercilak wrote:Brackett, Leigh
Brown, Frederic
Derleth, August
Dunsany, Lord
Lovecraft, H. P.
Norton, Andre
Weinbaum, Stanley
Wellman, Manley Wade
Williamson, Jack
I dug up "best of" compilations for many of these authors, then read the stories they were best known for.

I agree with the others that H.P. Lovecraft is terrifically inspirational and deserves a "wide net." Start with some of the "best-of" compilations (there are many) then just keep reading. :)

Paizo did a recent compilation of Manley Wade Wellman's Silver John series, which is probably his best-known work.

Stanley Weinbaum's sci-fi seems "normal" nowadays, but do a little google-fu...he was the first sci-fi author to depict aliens as anything other than "evil creatures that have come to steal your women." His aliens have some culture and intelligence, which was pioneering for its time.

For Lord Dunsany, definitely read The King of Elfland's Daughter. In fact, I may have made a typo in the DCC RPG Appendix N, as I think the original DMG version does list that specific title (I'll have to check). The King of Elfland's Daughter has very magical prose, a great story, a "different" version of elves (very different from Tolkien), spells...it's got everything!
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Re: Appendix N suggestions

Post by finarvyn » Sun May 13, 2012 5:44 am

bill4935 wrote:For someone starting fresh on Appendix N, I would recommend you start with Vance's Dying Earth, Leiber's "Ill Met In Lankhmar", Howard's Conan (even the comic books by Kurt Busiek are a good start for Conan), and of course The Hobbit. That covers barbarians, fighters, thieves, wizards, halflings, elves, dwarves, goblins, dragons and Hyperborians. And they're all fairly enjoyable authors to read too.
That's a really nice "default" list for newcomers. :D The Hobbit is a relatively short novel and Lankhmar and Conan are all short stories, so it wouldn't take that long to read them, either. If I had to pick one Dying Earth story it would be "Eyes of the Otherworld."

And that list does give a good feel for most of the fundamental elements in old school gaming, including the quest (Hobbit) and urban adventures (Lankhmar) and dungeon delving (some of the Conans).

By the way -- did you mean "Hyborians" or "Hyperborians"? Hyboria is the world of Conan. Hyperboria is one nation in the Conan world plus is used by other authors as the name of their world.
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bill4935
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Re: Appendix N suggestions

Post by bill4935 » Sun May 13, 2012 7:55 am

finarvyn wrote: By the way -- did you mean "Hyborians" or "Hyperborians"? Hyboria is the world of Conan. Hyperboria is one nation in the Conan world plus is used by other authors as the name of their world.
People say I have a tendency to ramble on less-than-interesting subjects, so I myself have been called a Hyperborian.

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Re: Appendix N suggestions

Post by beshawn » Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:20 pm

A few other (more modern) suggestions. Although these start to trail off the path of "sword and sorcery", they are all recommended nonetheless.

Gene Wolfe - Solar Cycle
Ursula K. LeGuin - The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Wizard of Earthsea
Guy Gavriel Kay - Tigana

Anyone else have other suggestions for authors/stories that fit with the Appendix N theme, but not explicitly included?

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Re: Appendix N suggestions

Post by beermotor » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:59 am

Barnes and Noble had a nice hardback HP Lovecraft omnibus for $20 last winter, or the one before, I forget. Anyway, it's awesome. It's part of their Library of Essential Writers.

I don't think it's in Appendix N, but you should read Riddley Walker (and Mouse and His Child, and all Hoban's other adult novels, they're great).

Also, Into Thin Air by Krakauer. Mountaineering should be very dangerous.

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Re: Appendix N suggestions

Post by svaragog » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:00 pm

I'm surprised I didn't see any of Brian Lumley's Primal Lands stories. Kinda like Conan with a touch of Lovecraftian mythos. There are three anthologies out there, House of Cthulhu, Tarra Khash:Hrossak, and Sorcery in Shad. Very Appendix N stuff. I read a couple stories in Lumleys Haggopian and other Tales book. Definately worth checking out.

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