It’s been a couple years now since my Epiphany. Voices from the Internet issued forth and said:
“Bushi. Much of the scifi and fantasy you have read has been comparative garbage.”
“Comparative to what?” I asked.
SLAH-WHAMO came the reply.
Since then I’ve grafted together other important lists and tables into something that’s pretty handy when rummaging through old books in secondhand shops. After all, Appendix N is only D&D’s list of inspirational reading, not an exhaustive list of all good classic SFF.
Has it really been only two years? I’m not nearly as prolific a reader as some of my blogging fellows, but it just feels like I’ve read more than two years worth of stuff.
Let me take this opportunity to look back on what’s now under my belt. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to limit myself to Appendix N here. Stuff I’ve read is in red, with some other notes included.
Anderson, Poul: THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS; THE HIGH CRUSADE; THE BROKEN SWORD
Bellairs, John: THE FACE IN THE FROST
Brackett, Leigh (I’ve covered three of the Stark stories and a number of assorted other short stories)
Burroughs, Edgar Rice: “Pellucidar” series; Mars series; Venus series (I’ve read the first Pellucidar book and the first three Mars books; also Tarzan, which interesting isn’t included here)
Carter, Lin: “World’s End” series
de Camp, L. Sprague: LEST DARKNESS FALL; THE FALLIBLE FIEND; et al (Also read the Tritonian Ring)
de Camp & Pratt: “Harold Shea” series; THE CARNELIAN CUBE
Farmer, P. J.: “The World of the Tiers” series; et al
Fox, Gardner: “Kothar” series; “Kyrik” series; et al
Howard, R. E.: “Conan” series (I’ve gotten to a lot of Conan, but not all of the stories yet. Huh. Another author with a lot of great stuff, and yet no Solomon Kane or Kull or Bran Mak Morn, which I also covered)
Lanier, Sterling: HIERO’S JOURNEY
Leiber, Fritz: “Fafhrd & Gray Mouser” series; et al (Check – Swords Against Death and Swords and Devilty)
Lovecraft, H. P. (What SFF fan worth his salt hasn’t read at least a few of his short stories?)
Merritt, A.: CREEP, SHADOW, CREEP; MOON POOL; DWELLERS IN THE MIRAGE; et al (I color him orange because I’ve only read one of his story stories in its entirety. Need to get to more)
Moorcock, Michael: STORMBRINGER; STEALER OF SOULS; “Hawkmoon” series (esp. the first three books) (Read Elric of Melnibone)
Offutt, Andrew J.: editor of SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS III (Maybe I need to hunt down this magazine? Anyway I read his novel My Lord Barbarian)
Pratt, Fletcher: BLUE STAR; et al
Saberhagen, Fred: CHANGELING EARTH; et al (Have read Berserker)
St. Clair, Margaret: THE SHADOW PEOPLE; SIGN OF THE LABRYS
Tolkien, J. R. R.: THE HOBBIT; “Ring trilogy”
Vance, Jack: THE EYES OF THE OVERWORLD; THE DYING EARTH; et al (Ah yes. These plus the first three Demon Prince novels, the first Alastor book, the Blue World, the Grey Prince, and a number of miscellaneous short stories)
Wellman, Manley Wade
Zelazny, Roger: JACK OF SHADOWS; “Amber” series; et al (I’ve read half the Amber books plus Dilvish, the Damned)
So I’ve covered more than half the Appendix N authors, and I’m sure I could have checked out more if I hadn’t been reading so much Howard and Vance. But they’re just so damn good…
At any rate, if you like the Forgotten Realms books and you think Drizzt is cool, go find Dilvish, the Damned or a Conan collection. I can’t in good conscience recommend The Dying Earth. You are not prepared, and your mind may not survive the magnitude of the blowing it will incur.
If you’re into scifi but are starting to feel like the Hunger Games is getting a little stale, try a Princess of Mars. If you’ve dipped 30 or 40 or 50 years back to Asimov and Heinlein, you’re getting close, but it gets even better. Check out Berserker! It’s a story about a fleet of Death Stars that fly around trying to exterminate all life! Pick up a collection of Leigh Brackett’s stuff. Did you know she wrote the first draft of the Empire Strikes Back?
If you think fantasy and scifi have to be separate genres, go read the High Crusade. Knights and footmen lobbing nuclear bombs at aliens — sooo good!
These are the lost classics! Seek them out!
Do it for Dejah Thoris, daughter of Jeddacks