A Question for the 25 and under crowd - What have you read?

If you are 25 or younger, which, if any, of the following authors have you read?


mmadsen

First Post
John Carter's red martian might be the good guys, and the green ones are the bad ones, but, it's pretty obvious what's going on.
I guess I'm dense. What's going on?
But, you are perfectly right in that a lot of those old stories are pretty brutal on the social morals scale. And that is kinda my point. D&D despite it's age and popularity, is still predominantly a suburban male thing. Do we want to tie the game to stuff that is so obviously bigotted?
You're concerned that D&D -- a game about killing quasi-people of other races and taking their stuff -- might be tied to stories of pre-modern people who see foreign tribes as outsiders?

I'd find it more disconcerting if pre-modern warriors behaved like modern humanities grad students.
And, at least where I grew up, they removed Merchant of Venice from the school curriculums.
Wait, are you saying that's a good thing?
 

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Burrito Al Pastor

First Post
I'm suprised how much of Appendix N isn't on the poll. No Lord Dunsany? No Lovecraft?

My answers, including omitted Appendix N authors: I've read Lieber, Howard, Tolken, Rowlings, Jordan, Mieville, Pratchett, Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, and probably some Derlith. I also have Carter, de Camp, Moorcock, and Burroughs stuff at home on my stack of "things to read".

Lovecraft is notorious for his racial intolerance, but I've never known that to stop anybody from appreciating his work anyways.

Incidentally, I had read none, and probably heard of very few, of these authors when I started playing D&D. I love a great deal of the Appendix N material to death - in fact, I'm on vacation now, and my reading material consists entirely of Lovecraft and Lieber - but while such material has certainly inspired me at times in D&D affairs, I wouldn't dream of saying that any of it should be read by D&D players. I've never thought of Appendix N of being a "suggested reading" list so much as a "if you were curious" or "you may also enjoy" list. I've read comics where the artist mentioned in an afterward what music he was listening to when he drew it.
 

mikegillnz

Explorer
I'm 24 so voted in the poll. To be honest though, I'd say that despite having most of the listed authors (although Vance is the only one of the top three I've read) they haven't had the hugest impact on my games.

The authors I'm most influenced by would be George Martin, Brandon Sanderson, and Jennifer Fallon. Sanderson especially, every time I run or play in Eberron I think of his Mistborn series.

Feist, Jordan, Tolkein, and Eddings have a certain amount of influence, although it'd be more subconscious as I try to avoid overt reference due to the number of my players who've read them. Martin's starting to get to that state now, with the number of friends I've lent him to, and I expect within a year or so I'll be getting pulled up on the amount of Sanderson's stuff I wholesale lifted into previous campaigns. ;)
 

JoeGKushner

First Post
One thing I'll add to the conversation, is that outside of reading pleasure, if you game, you should be making notes for gaming use. There is no reason why a piece of fiction can't be used to serve multiple purposes. For example, I occassionally throw some thoughts up over here discussing various books and what I try to bring to the game from them. These range from the 'popcorn' reading of the Forgotten Realms to older material like Doc Savage.

Even fiction you find cumbersome to read may yield some gems to the game table in the form of names, places, events, descriptions or some other inspiration.
 

Hussar

Legend
I guess I'm dense. What's going on?

You're concerned that D&D -- a game about killing quasi-people of other races and taking their stuff -- might be tied to stories of pre-modern people who see foreign tribes as outsiders?

I'd find it more disconcerting if pre-modern warriors behaved like modern humanities grad students.
Wait, are you saying that's a good thing?

Granted, I'm no John Carter knowledge well. I only read A Princess of Mars. That the martians may be different color coded, it's not too thick of a veneer to see where the politics behind the writing lies.

Well, to me, a game about whacking imaginary monsters for money doesn't carry a whole lot of moral or ethical issues. I don't expect great social commentary from House of the Dead either. By and large, you are killing the "evil" monsters because they are team evil and you're team good.

However, I don't think the game should start from a viewpoint where orcs are a stand in for a particular social group who deserve to be killed because they are just "lesser races". Nor should women be depicted as the prize to be taken by the victor.

I understand where you're coming from, but, me, I'd prefer to keep any political commentary out of the game. If a given table wants to add that in, fine, no problem. But, killing goblins as a stand in for Red Commies isn't what I want to base my RPG's on.
 

mmadsen

First Post
Granted, I'm no John Carter knowledge well. I only read A Princess of Mars. That the martians may be different color coded, it's not too thick of a veneer to see where the politics behind the writing lies.
Could you spell out the "politics"? I'm not sure what you mean.
By and large, you are killing the "evil" monsters because they are team evil and you're team good.
Right -- which is how most humans have seen the world from the beginning of time.
However, I don't think the game should start from a viewpoint where orcs are a stand in for a particular social group who deserve to be killed because they are just "lesser races".
I don't think anyone's been recommending a thinly veiled Nazi allegory, with Nazis as the heroes, and I certainly don't think Howard's Conan works support that point of view at all.
Nor should women be depicted as the prize to be taken by the victor.
In a pre-modern setting, women generally are a prize to be taken by the victor. I can understand not wanting to emphasize that in your own game, and I can understand not reveling in the idea, but I would never fault a story for depicting non-modern characters behaving in non-modern ways. That's practically the point.
I understand where you're coming from, but, me, I'd prefer to keep any political commentary out of the game. If a given table wants to add that in, fine, no problem. But, killing goblins as a stand in for Red Commies isn't what I want to base my RPG's on.
I don't see pre-modern characters, in a pre-modern setting, acting in a pre-modern way as playing out some distasteful, modern ideology. If quasi-Romans defeat quasi-Celts and sell the survivors into slavery, that seems perfectly reasonable -- and not a justification for enslaving anyone today (or in our recent past).
 

Lorion

Explorer
I'm 25 and have read Leiber, Howard, Tolkien, Moorcock and Pratchett. Loved all of them, but Howard's my clear favorite. I've got Dying Earth, but have yet to read it. I'd love to read Mieville. :)
 

Mercutio01

First Post
Granted, I'm no John Carter knowledge well. I only read A Princess of Mars. That the martians may be different color coded, it's not too thick of a veneer to see where the politics behind the writing lies.
What politics? No, really? A man on the losing side of the civil war gets sent into the past of Martian history where he encounters more war and is forced to survive in a literally alien world based on his own skills. He finds races of men in a continuous war, finds the most gorgeous girl in the universe and sets off on an adventure to rescue her from a race of giant green bug-men with four arms.

However, I don't think the game should start from a viewpoint where orcs are a stand in for a particular social group who deserve to be killed because they are just "lesser races". Nor should women be depicted as the prize to be taken by the victor.
1. You obviously haven't really read this book because Dejah Thoris is hardly a prize to be taken by the victor. She has just as much guts and gumption as John Carter. 2. No race is killed by any other race because they are "lesser," EXCEPT the white race which does kill all the other races because the Therns think they are superior. Indeed, they are the ultimate villains on Barsoom.

I understand where you're coming from, but, me, I'd prefer to keep any political commentary out of the game. If a given table wants to add that in, fine, no problem. But, killing goblins as a stand in for Red Commies isn't what I want to base my RPG's on.
Where does this idea come from? Certainly not from Edgar Rice Burroughs "A Princess of Mars" which was written before the Communist threat even existed and was serially published in 1912.
 

Hussar

Legend
There was no communist threat in 1912? Really? Considering The Communist Manifesto was written in 1848, I think you might find that Communism really was a major issue in many countries by 1912.

Reread A Princess of Mars. The Green martian martial culture where no one knows their parentage, all children are communal, all property is communal. Sound familiar? Then add the idea that the Green Martians are completely immoral, have no pity, the only time they laugh is at other's pain. It's a pretty thinly veiled commentary on Communism.

But, you are right, the whole Red Commies thing is anachronistic.

BTW, my point about the "lesser races" wasn't meant as a comparison to Burroughs actually. Sorry, was moving on to a different topic. I meant that I didn't want to play in a thinly veneered racist game. I wasn't trying to say that A Princess of Mars was racist.
 

Ariosto

First Post
On Burroughs, and all caught up in that nexus here: There are complex subjects not really done justice in the context of treating them as mere rhetorical ammunition for propaganda in furtherance of one thesis or another.
 

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