17
Dec
10

A Post-1979 D&D Inspirational & Educational Reading List

Perhaps still in time for the holiday super saver shipping, here’s my personal list of recommended reading for D&D players, a supplement to the original Appendix N in the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide:

  • Baker, Kage. Anvil of the World & its sequels
  • Banks, Iain M. The Player of Games, Use of Weapons
  • Barnes, John. One for the Morning Glory, Kaleidoscope Century
  • Chabon, Michael. Gentlemen of the Road
  • Cook, Glen. Black Company series
  • Cook, Hugh. Chronicles of an Age of Darkness series
  • Harrison, M. John. Virconium
  • Holdstock, Robert. Mythago Wood
  • Holmes, J. Eric. Maze of Peril
  • Hughart, Barry. The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox
  • Jones, Diana Wynne. Homeward Bounders, Chrestomanci series, etc.
  • Lynch, Scott. The Gentlemen Bastard series
  • Meynard, Yves. The Book of Knights
  • Moon, Elizabeth. The Deed of Paksenarrion
  • Powers, Tim. On Stranger Tides, The Drawing of the Dark
  • Pratchett, Terry. Discworld series
  • Salmonson, Jessica Amanda. Tomoe Gozen, The Golden Naginata, and Thousand Shrine Warrior.
  • Sfarr, Joann and Trondheim, Lewis. Dungeon series
  • Shea, Michael. Nifft the Lean & its sequels
  • Sterling, Bruce. Schismatrix
  • Swanwick, Michael. The Iron Dragon’s DaughterThe Dragons of Babel
  • Wolfe, Gene. Book of the New Sun, The Wizard Knight

Hyperlinks are provided haphazardly, and signify nothing about the works linked or not.

I chose publication after 1979 as a clear line of separation to make this an add-on to Gygax’s original, as a list of my own favorite D&D-esque books would show a high degree of redundancy with the ones he chose in ’79. In addition to all the ones everyone’s read, I’ve particulary enjoyed Lin Carter’s Worlds End series, John Bellairs, and Margaret St. Clair;  and if everyone hasn’t read The Broken Sword they should.

Some of the ones I’ve listed here would likely have been added to Gygax’s list had he written it later. At EN World he said this was true of the Discworld books, and he wrote a glowing back-cover blurb for the American edition of one of Hugh Cook’s fantasies.

The chronological cutoff did mean leaving out some things I personally would have added to the original:

  • Borges, Jorge Luis. Book of Imaginary Beings, others.
  • Davidson, Avram. The Phoenix and the Mirror
  • Klein, Otis Adelbert. Planet of Peril
  • Smith, Clark Ashton.
  • Swann, Thomas Burnett. Day of the Minotaur
  • van Gulik, Robert. Judge Dee stories.

I’ve tried to keep to the parameters established by the original Appendix N by focusing strictly on novels and short stories, despite the ample evidence that movies, other games, comic books, etc. were important influences on the corpus of classic D&Disms. (I made an exception for Sfar and Trondheim’s Dungeon, because it’s just so damn good.)

In the spirit of the original, I didn’t worry much about lumping SF and fantasy together. Genre considerations did convince me to move the following into this footnote, which are nevertheless a big part of my education in adventures and heists :

  • Child, Lee. Reacher novels.
  • Dent, Lester. Honey in his Mouth
  • Dumas, Alexandre. The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Gold, David Glen. Carter Beats the Devil
  • O’ Brien, Patrick. Aubrey-Maturin series
  • Winslow, Don. The Winter of Frankie Machine, California Fire and Life
  • Westlake, Donald. Dortmunder series, Parker series (written as Richard Stark), Kahawa

What would you add to Appendix N? Post it in the comments; if it’s one I meant to include but forgot I’ll add it above!

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8 Responses to “A Post-1979 D&D Inspirational & Educational Reading List”


  1. December 17, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Nice to see Powers and Chabon up there!

    I’m actually working on a big list of Appendix N-style stuff for the child and teen gamer, since I FINALLY have enough time to start working on my youth D&D program again. I’ve really been hating the tendency for people to go off on ‘kids these days,’ and how they wouldn’t appreciate tabletop role-playing in a world with console and MMO games. There is so much children’s and young adult fantasy out there that I can hardly keep many of them straight. Albeit, some of it comes in video game, comic book, or manga form, but to exclude those sources from consideration would be really disingenuous.

  2. December 17, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    “Jews with Swords” for the win! I was pleased to see that Eppy had this as a source for Swords Without Master. I also really liked Kavalier & Clay.

    I’ll look forward to your YA list. I really enjoyed The Lightning Thief et al., and my son got a surprising kick out of E. Nesbit’s Book of Dragons; as he gets older there’s a lot of good stuff out there I want to know about!

  3. 3 Ryan
    December 17, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Ahhh! I have a terrible weakness vs. reading lists… Thanks Tavis!

  4. 4 Allandaros
    December 17, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    I would unhesitatingly add Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen to the modern Appendix N addendum.

    Great to see Banks and Hughart up there, especially Use of Weapons.

  5. December 17, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I’ve taken the first Book of the Fallen with me on long trips twice, in the hopes of forcing myself to get into it, and so far I have failed. One thing that I find as I get older is that my attention span declines; I’m totally into the Hard Case Crime reprints right now because I can put ‘em in my pocket and read them in a couple of subway rides, whereas as good as I know Banks is I haven’t been able to penetrate the sheer page count of his recent Culture novels.

  6. December 19, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Jessica Salmonson’s Tomoe Gozen series: Tomoe Gozen, The Golden Naginata, and Thousand Shrine Warrior. Holy cow they are good.

  7. December 24, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    I *love* that Trondheim’s Dungeon series made this list.


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