Hunting down copies of old books for this project has been a lot of fun so far, but I needed a tool to make actual hunting easier — and if you’re looking for Appendix N books to read, you probably do, too. I’ve never seen Appendix N broken out book-by-book, so I decided to create a comprehensive Appendix N reading list.
I assembled this Appendix N reading list based on the common-sense guidelines I’m using for my Reading Appendix N project, so the list includes:
- Every book Gary listed by title
- Every book in every series that Gary listed by name
- For every author Gary listed only by name, one book recommended by me based on research and/or personal experience
To follow Gary’s advice to the letter, seeking out “all their fantasy writing” for authors listed only by name (or with “et al” in their listings), would result in a reading list more than double or triple the size of this one. That list is outside the scope of this project — for all practical purposes, I’d argue that if you read the 100 books on the list below, you’ve read Appendix N. And if that inspires you to read additional works by Appendix N authors, or to complete series that continued after Appendix N was published, rock on!
Notes about the list
The “Author info” link will take you to an author’s Wikipedia page — great for seeing their bibliographies and learning more about them and their work. The “Yore posts” link will take you to posts on this blog about that author and their work (if present). “Free ebooks,” if present, will link you to the author’s Project Gutenberg page so you can locate legal free copies of their work. Book titles link to Amazon, with a bias to collected editions when I could find them.
In cases where Gary didn’t list titles or series for an author, I’ve recommended a specific book based on my research, personal experience, or both.
The 100-Book Appendix N Reading List
- Anderson, Poul (Author info | Yore posts)
- Bellairs, John (Author info | Yore posts)
- The Face in the Frost (1969)
- Brackett, Leigh (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- Sea-Kings of Mars and Otherworldly Stories
- I recommend this volume because it includes her first Eric Stark stories, the very first being 1949’s Queen of the Martian Catacombs, as well as a cross-section of her other work; The Book of Skaith is a good fallback.
- Brown, Fredric (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- From These Ashes: The Complete Short SF of Fredric Brown
- I recommend this book because it collects all of Brown’s sci-fi and fantasy stories. The Best of Fredric Brown is a good alternative.
- Burroughs, Edgar Rice (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- Mars series (also Barsoom or John Carter):
- A Princess of Mars (1912)
- The Gods of Mars (1914)
- The Warlord of Mars (1918)
- Thuvia, Maid of Mars (1920)
- The Chessmen of Mars (1922)
- The Master Mind of Mars (1928)
- A Fighting Man of Mars (1931)
- Swords of Mars (1936)
- Synthetic Men of Mars (1940)
- Llana of Gathol (1948)
- John Carter of Mars (1964)
- Pellucidar series:
- Venus series:
- Carter, Lin (Author info | Yore posts)
- World’s End series (also the Gondwane Epic):
- de Camp, L. Sprague (Author info | Yore posts)
- Fallible Fiend (1973)
- Fallible Fiend is the fourth book of the Novarian series, preceded by The Goblin Tower (1968), The Clocks of Iraz (1971), and The Emperor’s Fan (1973; I could only find it in the linked anthology), and followed by two post-Appendix N books: The Unbeheaded King (1983) and The Honorable Barbarian (1989).
- Lest Darkness Fall (1939)
- de Camp, L. Sprague (Author info | Yore posts) and Pratt, Fletcher (Author info | Yore posts)
- Carnelian Cube (1948)
- Harold Shea series (also called the Enchanter, Compleat Enchanter, and Incomplete Enchanter series):
- The Roaring Trumpet (1940)
- The Mathematics of Magic (1940)
- The Castle of Iron (1941; expanded to novel length as The Castle of Iron in 1950)
- The Wall of Serpents (1953)
- The Green Magician (1954)
- Derleth, August (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- The Trail of Cthulhu (1962)
- I recommend this book because it collects a series of interlinked stories in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft, and they’re Derleth originals (as opposed to “posthumous collaborations” with Lovecraft).
- Dunsany, Lord (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- The King of Elfland’s Daughter (1924)
- I recommend this volume because it’s a pioneering fantasy work — a true prototype for the genre, written before the genre had a name.
- Farmer, Philip José (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- The World of Tiers series:
- Fox, Gardner (Author info | Yore posts)
- Kothar series (also Llarn):
- Kyrik series:
- Howard, Robert E. (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- Conan series:
- The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian
- The Bloody Crown of Conan
- The Conquering Sword of Conan
- I recommend these three specific collections because they contain every Conan yarn, in order of publication, without works from other authors interspersed. The scholarly introductions and appendices are also fabulous.
- Lanier, Sterling (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- Leiber, Fritz (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series:
- Swords and Deviltry (1970)
- Swords Against Death (1970)
- Swords in the Mist (1968)
- Swords Against Wizardry (1968)
- The Swords of Lankhmar (1968)
- Swords and Ice Magic (1977)
- Lovecraft, H.P. (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- The Dunwich Horror and Others (1963)
- I recommend this collection because it features a cross-section of Lovecraft’s work, including some of his best stories (my personal favorite being The Whisperer in Darkness). I prefer this definitive Arkham House edition.
- Merritt, A. (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- Creep, Shadow! (1934; sometimes titled Creep, Shadow, Creep)
- Dwellers in the Mirage (1932)
- The Moon Pool (1919; listed as “Moon Pool” in Appendix N)
- Moorcock, Michael (Author info | Yore posts)
- Hawkmoon series:
- The Jewel in the Skull (1967)
- The Mad God’s Amulet (1968)
- The Sword of the Dawn (1968)
- The Runestaff (1969)
- A second Hawkmoon series, The Chronicles of Brass, follows this one. It’s post-Appendix N, beginning with 1985’s Count Brass.
- The Stealer of Souls (1963)
- Stormbringer (1965)
- These two collections present the first nine Elric tales by publication date (including what, chronologically, is often considered the last Elric story). The Elric series is extensive and wasn’t written in chronological order, so there are many options for where to go from here.
- Norton, Andre (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- The Many Worlds of Andre Norton
- I recommend this volume because it collects a number of Norton’s shorter works, and is generally well-regarded. (It was later re-released as The Book of Andre Norton.)
- Offutt, Andrew J. (Author info | Yore posts)
- Swords Against Darkness III (1978; editor)
- Pratt, Fletcher (Author info | Yore posts)
- The Blue Star (1952; listed as “Blue Star” in Appendix N)
- Saberhagen, Fred (Author info | Yore posts)
- Changeling Earth (1973; revised in 1979 as Ardneh’s World)
- St. Clair, Margaret (Author info | Yore posts)
- Tolkien, J.R.R. (Author info | Yore posts)
- The Hobbit (1937)
- Alternately, consider this boxed set, which includes The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
- Ring trilogy (also The Lord of the Rings):
- The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)
- The Two Towers (1954)
- The Return of the King (1955)
- Vance, Jack (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- The Dying Earth (1950)
- The Eyes of the the Overworld (1966)
- I recommend Tales of the Dying Earth, which includes both of Gary’s listed titles plus two post-Appendix N works: Cugel’s Saga (1983) and Rhialto the Marvellous (1984).
- Weinbaum, Stanley (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- The Best of Stanley Weinbaum
- I recommend this volume because it collects a number of Weinbaum’s short stories, including his most famous, A Martian Odyssey (1934).
- Wellman, Manly Wade (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- Who Fears the Devil?
- I recommend this collection because Wellman is best known for his John tales, and this volume collects them all.
- Williamson, Jack (Author info | Free ebooks | Yore posts)
- The Best of Jack Williamson
- I recommend this volume because it collects a range of Williamson’s early stories.
- Zelazny, Roger (Author info | Yore posts)
- Jack of Shadows
- Amber series:
- Nine Princes in Amber (1970)
- The Guns of Avalon (1972)
- Sign of the Unicorn (1975)
- The Hand of Oberon (1976)
- The Courts of Chaos (1978)
- I recommend The Great Book of Amber, which includes all five listed books plus the second Post-Appendix N series of five books; that series begins with 1985’s Trumps of Doom.
Free ebook versions
You can find some of the works in Appendix N as free ebooks, notably those that are old enough to be in the public domain. Project Gutenberg is a good place to start, as is Amazon’s Kindle store, which has many titles for free and sells others for a buck or two. And, of course, your local library will likely have many of them available for free as well!
I’m a print guy, and I wanted to be able to add the books I read as part of this project to my collection, so I’ve provided Amazon links for those who feel the same; if you buy something after clicking on them, I earn a small percentage (at no cost to you). My experience buying used books on Amazon has been overwhelmingly positive.
What counts as a book?
By virtue of the DMG’s publication date, 1979, every book in Appendix N is at least 33 years old at the time of this writing. Many are much older, and a lot of these titles have enjoyed great popularity and thus many reprints in different forms and formats. Burroughs’ John Carter stories, for example, exist in single volumes, two-book collections, and multi-book collections.
While 100 may sound like a suspiciously convenient number for this reading list, I didn’t do anything to make the list come out at exactly a hundred books. I tried to apply common sense to deciding what to count as a book, and a hundred is where the list wound up.
If a title was widely released as a single volume, that obviously counts as a book. In the case of short stories, like REH’s Conan yarns, I picked specific collected editions; if you choose different editions, you may wind up reading more or fewer books. For The Lord of the Rings, which was originally seven books but is best known as a trilogy, I went with what I thought most people would expect — three books, in that case.
No matter how you skin this particular cat, reading every title listed in Appendix N means reading a lot of books. If your personal path through this fabulous appendix results in reading a few more or a few less than a hundred books, no one’s going to call you on the carpet — just enjoy the reading!
It looks pretty straightforward, but this list took me many hours to build — researching authors to choose representative works, finding the best Amazon listings to link to, adding notes where I thought notes would be helpful to readers, proofreading, and playing with the format until I found one I thought was both informative and uncluttered. I hope it’s useful to you, and that it leads to many happy hours of reading!