The first official D&D novel, a surprise

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Well, a surprise to some, as I'm assuming others already know. And for those who didn't know, a double surprise.

The book?



Written in 1979. Not a Dragonlance novel. Not Gord. Not a FR novel. But this one-off.

The second big surprise? Written by Andre Norton. Which was a pen name. Actual name of the author is Alice Norton. The first D&D novel, a game almost exclusivly played by boys and men back in the day, had it's first novel written by a woman. I think that's neat. And not just any woman. But a great writer: "She was the first woman to be Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy, first woman to be SFWA Grand Master, and first inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame "

Anyway, just thought I'd share, because I found that cool.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Well, a surprise to some, as I'm assuming others already know. And for those who didn't know, a double surprise.

The book?



Written in 1979. Not a Dragonlance novel. Not Gord. Not a FR novel. But this one-off.

The second big surprise? Written by Andre Norton. Which was a pen name. Actual name of the author is Alice Norton. The first D&D novel, a game almost exclusivly played by boys and men back in the day, had it's first novel written by a woman. I think that's neat. And not just any woman. But a great writer: "She was the first woman to be Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy, first woman to be SFWA Grand Master, and first inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame "

Anyway, just thought I'd share, because I found that cool.
Great post!

Three things-

1. I did not know that was the first D&D novel. Sadly, I was unaware of it.

2. I did not know that Andre (ahem) Norton needed an introduction in our circles!

3. Related to (2), I am so old, aren't I?


EDIT- I just looked it up, and found out she played in GH with Gygax et al., which is the basis for the novel. Everything is connected!
 

Arilyn

Adventurer
I read this book when it first came out. I believe Andre Norton was interested in the hobby, and might have played a little?

The book isn't really much like D&D, though. I remember being kind of disappointed, despite being an Andre Norton fan, and not just because it wasn't much like the game.

Pretty cool it's back in print though. I'd mostly forgotten about it. Be fun to give it another read.
 

darjr

I crit!
I read this as soon as I could get a copy after I found out about it. I did like it. I started the sequel but never finished it.

The first is a “real” people drug into D&D, kind of like the cartoon, but with amnesia. Which struck me as interesting that it would have the same trope. I wonder if this was a common idea or trope back then?
 

Arilyn

Adventurer
I remember the characters had dice bracelets that would spin during important moments. I think. And it was people from our world getting sucked into D&D land, Greyhawk, from what Sacrosanct says about first chapter. It was an odd story, but details are really hazy.
 

Arilyn

Adventurer
I read this as soon as I could get a copy after I found out about it. I did like it. I started the sequel but never finished it.

The first is a “real” people drug into D&D, kind of like the cartoon, but with amnesia. Which struck me as interesting that it would have the same trope. I wonder if this was a common idea or trope back then?
Read a lot of fantasy back then, and yes, it was a pretty common trope. 😊
 

Parmandur

Legend
I read this as soon as I could get a copy after I found out about it. I did like it. I started the sequel but never finished it.

The first is a “real” people drug into D&D, kind of like the cartoon, but with amnesia. Which struck me as interesting that it would have the same trope. I wonder if this was a common idea or trope back then?
It was and is a common trope: lookign at you, Jumanji.


I'd lay odds any D&D movie that comes to pass will likely fall into this trope, too.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I don’t know if I’d count that. I mean, it wasn’t a group of kids being transported to a fantasy world. It was a guy being transported to a place people believed existed.
It was a contemporary person being transported to a fanciful world of figurative meaning (Dante and Medieval Catholics believed in Hell, but not in the physical sense as depicted. Source for further reference: C. S. Lewis, Oxford professor of Dante, humorously enough).

And Dante didn't invent that sort of structure either. The oddity is actually the modern Fantasy without a frame story of mundane people traveling to another world.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Read a lot of fantasy back then, and yes, it was a pretty common trope. 😊
Yup - to the extent that it got its own name: "Portal fantasy."

As far as "true" portal fantasy, where you literally cross into another plane or universe, the most popular examples I can think of are C.S. Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia" and Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series. But if you widen the frame just a little, to include stories where the fantasy world is nominally part of our own but so cut off from the mundane that it might as well be another plane... man, the list goes on forever. Everything from "Peter Pan" and "The Wizard of Oz" to "A Wrinkle in Time." You could even make a case for "Harry Potter," although the dividing line in that one gets much fuzzier as the series wears on.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I read this as soon as I could get a copy after I found out about it. I did like it. I started the sequel but never finished it.

The first is a “real” people drug into D&D, kind of like the cartoon, but with amnesia. Which struck me as interesting that it would have the same trope. I wonder if this was a common idea or trope back then?
Joel Rosenberg also used the idea in his Guardians of The Flame series, and did very interesting things with it, like Karl being unable to teach someone how to Barbarian, because he had never actually learnt himself, but just magically gained X levels in the class when he was transported while playing a Barbarian PC. And the fact that they all had to find a balance between their character’s persona and their own, with Karl completely sublimating his character in the end, while John Michael simply allows himself to become Ahira the Dwarf, because he never liked being John Michael anyway. (I think I have their names right! Lol)
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Yup - to the extent that it got its own name: "Portal fantasy."

As far as "true" portal fantasy, where you literally cross into another plane or universe, the most popular examples I can think of are C.S. Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia" and Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series. But if you widen the frame just a little, to include stories where the fantasy world is nominally part of our own but so cut off from the mundane that it might as well be another plane... man, the list goes on forever. Everything from "Peter Pan" and "The Wizard of Oz" to "A Wrinkle in Time." You could even make a case for "Harry Potter," although the dividing line in that one gets much fuzzier as the series wears on.
Also the John Wick movies.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Joel Rosenberg also used the idea in his Guardians of The Flame series, and did very interesting things with it, like Karl being unable to teach someone how to Barbarian, because he had never actually learnt himself, but just magically gained X levels in the class when he was transported while playing a Barbarian PC. And the fact that they all had to find a balance between their character’s persona and their own, with Karl completely sublimating his character in the end, while John Michael simply allows himself to become Ahira the Dwarf, because he never liked being John Michael anyway. (I think I have their names right! Lol)
Or that guy who became an engineer and unleashed engineering upon the fantasy world...
 

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