The 100-Book Appendix N Reading List



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

(You can also download this list in a stripped-down format suitable for printing and tracking your Appendix N collection: PDF, Excel.)

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 (paid link), 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!

Happy 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!

17 thoughts on “The 100-Book Appendix N Reading List”

  1. Great post, but your link to download the file in Excel actually downloads a PDF.

  2. Those old TSR editors won’t give you a rest, Martin. Look what I found in the back of my Star Frontiers book! Another reading list. This one is “Reading For Fun and Ideas,” a list of nonfiction and fiction science fiction books. Steve Winter — who these days hangs out with Wolfgang over at Kobold Quarterly — was the editor for the book, so he probably had a hand in it. It dates from 1982, and includes Piers Anthony, Ray Bradbury, Phillip Jose Farmer, Niven and Pournelle and John Varley, among others.

    1. Martin Ralya

      Neat! Thanks for letting me know. I was planning to post on the “other” Appendices N, but I only knew of two: The one at the back of the Moldvay set (which I learned about on G+) and the one in Dragon Magazine #4 (which I think I learned about on RPGGeek).

      Star Frontiers, unfortunately, I don’t have. Is it in the basic or advanced rulebook?

  3. Advanced, but they both game in the same boxed set. If I get a chance this weekend to scan it in I’ll send it along.

    1. Martin Ralya

      That would rock! A decent photo of that page would also work just as well.

  4. I always felt that not including Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World” was an huge oversite. Its a great read and no less a fantasy than Tarzan.

    If you haven’t read it then you owe it to yourself to do so. Its aged well and still holds surprises.

    R.E. Howard loved The Lost World so much he named his favourite character after the author.

    1. Martin Ralya

      I’ve read no Doyle but Holmes that I can remember — thanks for the recommendation!

      I’ve also never heard that REH named Conan after ACD; that’s fascinating. Any chance of a source for that tidbit?

  5. Pingback: » Entering hibernation until December 2013 New Year, New Game

  6. Pingback: 102.6 The Lounge with Martin Ralya on Unframed » Misdirected Mark

  7. Doug Bailey

    Great stuff; thank you for compiling this.

    I think the best edition of Lovecraft is the three-volume Penguin set, which includes some textual corrections and expansions not present in the (admittedly lovely) Arkham House editions:

    Moorcock’s _Count Brass_ is from 1973, and its two sequels were published in 1973 and 1975, so they’re not post-Appendix N. Maybe Gygax just didn’t think they were worth mentioning?

    For _The Lord of the Rings_, the 50th-anniversary single-volume edition is the best available text:

    (And whatever Gygax says, _tLotR_ is not a trilogy: it’s a single story published in three separate volumes because of paper shortages in post-war Britain.)

    1. Martin Ralya

      Thanks! It’s always interesting to hear other takes on editions and the like.

      My current version of Lovecraft is one with footnotes, and yet more textual corrections, and I find it distracting to actually read.

      Good catch on Count Brass! I’ve updated the list to reflect that. I’m not sure how I missed it. Thank you. :-)

  8. Jonathan Davis

    Martin, thanks for sharing your efforts here. I used your list to rooted around the fantasy/scifi section of my local Half-Price Books. Your notes on each collection are invaluable.

    1. Martin Ralya

      I’m glad my list and notes were useful to you! Thank you for letting me know.

  9. Ben Quixote

    Martin, thank you for this! I hope you don’t mind that I used your list to create a List Challenge at the link below, as a tool to help me complete the list myself. I tried to be as faithful to your list as possible. It might be helpful for others as well. Thanks again!

  10. Pingback: The Fantasy Books that Inspired Dungeons & Dragons | Internet Archive Blogs

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top