I’ve been curious whether Gary ever added anything to Appendix N post-1979, be it books he forgot to include or post-1979 works he would have included if he’d written the DMG later on.
So I did some digging and found this post Gary Gygax wrote on EN World in 2007, a bit more than a year before his death, which answers the latter question:
The fact is that I wouldn’t change the list much, other than to add a couple of novels such as Lanier’s second Hiero yarn, Piers Anthony’s Split Infinity series, and the Disc World books.
I would never add other media forms to a reading list. If someone is interested in comic books and.or graphic novels, they’re on their own.
Frankly, I find very few new fantasy books in the general S&S vein worth reading. I do enjoy the “Diskworld” series, and Glen Cook’s “Black Company” novels are appealing to me. Those are about all that spring to mind. The fiction I have been reading these days is mostly murder mystery (I loved the “Judge Dee” series), historical (such as Cornwell’s various series), alternate history, and some re-reading of old fantasy & SF books.
Those are fascinating comments for all sorts of reasons, but let’s start with the books!
The new books
Here are links to Gary’s 2007 recommendations in the format I used for my 100-book Appendix N reading list:
- Anthony, Piers (Author info)
- Split Infinity series (more often called Apprentice Adept):
- Cook, Glen (Author info)
- Black Company series:
- Books of the North:
- The Black Company (1984)
- Shadows Linger (1984)
- The White Rose (1985)
- The Silver Spike (1989)
- The Books of the South collects this novel along with the two below.
- Books of the South:
- Shadow Games (1989)
- Dreams of Steel (1990)
- Along with The Silver Spike, these two books are collected in The Books of the South.
- Lanier, Sterling (Author info)
- The Unforsaken Hiero (1983)
- Pratchett, Terry (Author info)
Chronicles of the Black Company collects all three of these books.
At least as interesting to me, though, are the questions Gary’s comments raise.
Why Lanier’s later Hiero tale but not, say, the second series of Amber novels? Did Gary mean the early Discworld novels, which were partly sword and sorcery parodies, or the later ones where the world shades into more of a Renaissance-like period and the tone is markedly different? Why no comics, when Gary wrote “…countless hundreds of comic books went down, and the long-gone EC ones certainly had their effect” in the introduction to Appendix N?
I wish I’d been doing this project while Gary was still alive, because I’d love to ask him those questions. Not in a critical way, but out of genuine curiosity.
I’m also curious whether or not, as his comment implies to me, Gary’s take on D&D remained essentially unchanged between 1979 and 2007 — because if what D&D was to him did change, why wouldn’t his recommended reading list change as well? I’ve had a complicated up-and-down relationship with the game over the past 20-plus years, so perhaps my reading of his comment is colored by that.
If there are more threads out there like the ones I linked above, I’d love to find them. Gary was a prolific forum poster in the last years of his life, and I bet other folks asked him about Appendix N. I’m glad we have this record of his thoughts on the topic, though — and, if you want to add Gary’s 2007 recommendations to your Appendix N reading list, another few dozen books to read!
I’ve read every Discworld book with the exception of a couple of titles like the cookbook and history (Pratchett is my favorite author), the first couple Black Company novels, and a ton of Piers Anthony that, surprisingly, doesn’t include the ones Gary recommends. After I finish Appendix N, I’ll probably circle back and check out some of the titles from this mini-list.