DISCLOSURE: I blog at Castalia House, where Jeffro Johnson is the current webmaster.
As the readers of this blog are no doubt aware, I have been reading and reviewing the works of “Appendix N,” the list of books that inspired the late Gary Gygax when he first created the Dungeons and Dragons tabletop role-playing game back in the 70s. The reads have been enlightening and enjoyable, showing me a world of fantasy rich in imagination, a world of classics unfairly maligned as retrograde and “problematic.”
However, the one who started me on this literary journey was none other than Jeffro Johnson, the current webmaster of the Castalia House blog. His contagious interest in classic fantasy works, along with his concern that the classics were being deleted from the collective consciousness of geekdom, inspired me to begin reading the classic authors and come to my own conclusions about their books. I couldn’t believe I missed out on so much good stuff growing up, but better late than never.
Now, however, Jeffro has written Appendix N: The Literary History of Dungeons and Dragons, a book that analyzes the works of Appendix N on a much deeper level than my spoiler-free reviews do. He goes into details about not only their relevance to D&D, but their wider themes as well, themes that he says are now foreign to modern works and modern writers. I have read the chapters that covered works that I already reviewed, and they really do unpack the sheer depth contained in those old works. For the full effect, however, it is better to read the actual works, all of which are available on Amazon in many formats.
If you’re a fan of classic fantasy, you cannot go wrong with this book. Get it on Amazon and be blown away.