I’d been getting better about my book buying, but being in the same town as one of the best flea market book-stores in the state over the weekend meant another stack of paperbacks to add to my To-Read pile. I’m being a bit more judicious about what I grab, simply because I have so much already, but I did not want to pass some of these up: Sword of Rhiannon (Brackett), Hiero’s Journey (Lanier), Berserker (Saberhagen), a crumbly Incompleat Enchanter (deCamp) that was thrown in for free on account of being crumbly, as well as a book each by Norman Spinrad and Philip Jose Farmer (I don’t remember the titles offhand). I passed up a pretty sweet looking Gardner F. Fox book in part because I’ve already got a huge stack of him in unread magazines (including the next story I have to read in the Fall 1945 Planet Stories!), but I may pick it up some other time if I make more headway in my stacks.
One guy at one of the place who has all sorts of cool toys and magazines and stuff (who I got some Astounding from before) continued to posture about how rare and expensive and hard to find Planet Stories was when I asked if he’d seen them (“Oh, some of them go for over a hundred bucks!” “most of the ones I’ve found, I’ve got for $8-$12, and I’ve got about a dozen of them” “Oh, well they must not’a known what they had!”), so if I’m going to keep collecting them, I’m probably going to need to turn to eBay (where they still mostly cost around $8-$12). Then again, I really need to read all (or some) of what I have first. These magazines have waited 70 years for me, they can wait until I’ve at least finished half of the stack I’ve got.
I’m about halfway through Sceptre of Morgulan, and I have so many thoughts about it, especially in light of Matthew Ryan’s guest post in which he cites Tolkien as one of his biggest influences. His own tale is very un-Tolkienien, and while the D&D influence is obvious, the output is much more in line with pre-Shannara fantasy than it is with the sort of ‘pink-slime’ fantasy that normally comes out of D&D + Tolkien. I am not kidding when I say it’s like “vampire-hunting in Lankhmar”. Can the process be reversed? Can Appendix N-like stories be extracted from D&D + Tolkien by someone who has paid careful enough attention to the implicit setting and mechanical minutia of demonology even without the benefit of directly having been influenced by those things literary forebears? Am I giving Ryan too much or too little credit? I don’t know, but his books are amazing and a breath of fresh air!
Jeffro’s at one of those stages of “done” with his Appendix N book that is somewhere between “completed” and “finished”, but when it is done done, you can bet I’ll be buying copies for my friends and try to bully local book clubs into reading it. I’m hoping he will go for multiple formats, including a coffee-table edition with Doug Kovacs or Erol Otis dust jacket for myself and a student’s paperback edition I can snap up a few of for everyone else.
I was going to announce this earlier, but Wednesday came and went and a few hiccups resulted in delays, but everything’s good now. I’ll be writing an occasional piece at Castalia House for Wargame Wednesdays. I will not be moving my entire posting series over there, since there is a rotating weekly group of writers, but generally speaking, I’ll be featuring the first of whatever series I’m covering over there and the rest over here. So, uh. Avalon Hill’s Bull Run pt. 1 is up! Part two will go up here tomorrow or Wednesday.