In looking for links I found this draft which I thought I’d actually posted. It’s the genesis of the never really followed through which means the title was very accurate. Still, I figured it was worth posting as I have yet to see anyone discuss the kinds of books I brought up. Plus, Diadem of the Stars has been staring at me as I get ready to run Stars without Numbers at the D&D Meetup.
Over at Grognardia the wonderful Mr. Maliszewski asked for review suggestions.
Inspired by having recently purchased Jo Clayton’s Duel of Sorcery I suggested reviews of fantasy contemporary to the early editions of D&D because it became incestuous with fantasy fiction. There were, after, a lot of fantasy writers active in the 70s and early 80s who wrote neither pulp fantasy (which was the primary D&D inspiration) or Tolkien pastiche. Some fine examples are Bradley with her Darkover novels, Andre Norton who wrote a great number of Witch World books in the 70s, McCaffrey’s Pern, the afore mentioned Clayton and her numerous series (Diadem from the Stars (Diadem, Bk. 1)
was first published in 1977), the Deryni books, LeGuin’s Earthsea (and her excellent “The Language of the Night”, essays on fantasy writing well worth reading), Xanth, and the entire Ballentine Adult fantasy line (some of which did influence D&D).
The reason I asked is one thing I’ve realized in getting into the old school movement (and I remarked on this when discussing why “Swords of the Red Sun” failed) is my D&D experience wasn’t fueled by Conan et al. The more important realization was my inspiration comes from another line of fantasy (excluding my love of John Carter and his descendants) but something different. When I first got my basic set I read mostly sci-fi and looked for fantasy to fill the gaps. As currently hot I read lots of Pern, Darkover, Witchworld, and so on. While some might argue romantic fantasy owes its roots to these authors I’m disinclined to put them in that school.
Regardless, there are an equally valid influence for old school gaming in the sense that those of us who played back then read them. James said it would be a useful project but passed on it saying he lacked the knowledge (and, although he didn’t say as much, I suspect interest in acquiring it).