Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes…

New Appendix N series installment for you:

RETROSPECTIVE: Nine Princes in Amber, by Roger Zelazny

Accolades continue to roll in for this series, with Board Gamers Anonymous providing the latest: “No matter what kind of blog reader you are – Meta or Mini – Jeffro has a great post for you. His specialty is writing 2,000-word essays on groundbreaking Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels. So he can speak authoritatively about the literary origins of our most beloved RPGs. Yet Jeffro can also zoom in on specific aspects of adventure gaming and show us how we can become better role-players.”

My jaw is literally dropping. One of the posts he’s calling out is a completely untempered rant of pure gamer rage. Also… “authoritative”? Well… I guess that is maybe starting to emerge. For the first time in my life I kind of sort of know something about something. That’s kind of cool. Even an average guy can become an authority on a narrow enough topic if he does enough reading, writing, and thinking. But I’m ending up more with some kind of crazy romp through the literature, a celebration of all its wondrous diversity, and a storm of speculation with regards to how it can be used to revitalize some of the more obscure aspects of the early role playing games. Hopefully it’s a fun read that gets people excited about gaming, but honestly, I’m a bit short on gravitas.

Compare my stuff with James Maliszewski’s and you’ll see what I mean. He is, point for point, more insightful, more familiar with the trends in literature, and aware of a much wider range of works in the rpg side: “The style of fantasy the ‘Amber’ series represents is one that seems largely to have fallen into disfavor as the 1970s wore on and the influence Tolkien — and his pastichists like Terry Brooks — became ever greater. Although Gygax’s published writings betray comparatively little influence by authors like Zelazny, he continued to express admiration for their writings and several of his unpublished projects, such as Shadowland, might have taken D&D in a more Zelaznian direction.”

And of course, while I’m busy putting this stuff together, other people are getting the chance to play it:  “Of course, I’m stealing liberally from a bunch of different sources, from GURPS Tales of the Solar Patrol to Vornheim to bits of the Wilderlands to Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards to a variety of Appendix N authors (Vance and Burroughs in particular), all in the service of creating a sort of science-fantasy mishmash that’s maybe a bit reminiscent of JRPGs like Phantasy Star.” Man, I would have had no clue what this guy was talking about three months ago, but that sounds really wild.

Anyway, I gotta get back to the WordPress editing screen here…. I’m of the opinion that my mind simply cannot be blown anymore, but we’ll see what we turn up as we go through this pile of battered paperbacks I have here…!

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One response to “For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes…

  1. Jeff Eppenbach September 23, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    In style, I find the Amber novels closer to detective fiction, than most fantasy. It flows like Robert B. Parker’s Spencer than Conan. And, I’ve read alot of both. One of these days, I need to finish the second series.

    “When I said I wanted to die in my sleep, I meant I wanted to be stepped on by an elephant while making love.”

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