June 1, 2015
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So with the draft I completed yesterday, I am now two thirds of the way through a survey of forty-two Appendix N books.
I remember what it was like after the first third. My mind was blown and I was burnt out. But I took a second to dip back into game bloggy type stuff again. I reviewed ACKS and Dwimmermount and Sorcerer… and it was great because I could just see things and articulate things that were simply beyond my imagination before. No, I didn’t set the world on fire anything. This was a very modest step up from illiterate buffoon to semi-literate clod… but wow did it ever feel like I was suddenly gaining some kind of super powers or something. Hit by lightening and bitten by a cobra…!
So now I’m sitting on twice that level of exposure… twice as many posts written in an attempt to convey what it is that I’m getting out of all this. And it scares me. I mean… there are things here that just flat out change you. You can’t unknow them or unthink them. You can’t go back.
I mean before I couldn’t imagine all this stuff; I didn’t even know that I didn’t know about it. But now…? To think that at the height of the D&D hysteria, what Christians could have done had they incorporated Lord Dunsany and Poul Anderson into their sanctioned materials rather than going into full “Crucible” mode. To think that Gamma World actually came from somewhere– that it wasn’t just James Ward being his own freaky self. To know what Lovecraft was really all about. To even have the faintest idea who Leigh Brackett and Stanley G. Weinbaum were….
The thing that gets me though is when I go back and reread things that I know I’d looked at a year or so ago again. When I read them, I see things on so many more levels… I see threads that I didn’t even pick up before. I have a shred of context now from which to understand things. And before…? I think… I think that this is analogous to what an education is supposed to do for you. And I think I’m beginning to realize that I pretty much lack one. And that both frightens and saddens me at the same time, because I know I’m not the only one that was ill-served by the schools and colleges and everything else.
But no, I have no idea where this is going at this point. I mean… I said basically everything I had to say last year and now I’m here after having done it again. I guess it’s time now to take a look at these books and find something to say. I have no idea what’s going to turn up during this last leg. I don’t even know if I can be gobsmacked anymore. But we’ll see what happens….