Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Stanley G. Weinbaum Link Roundup

Okay, most people focus on Weinbaum’s “alien aliens”, but I didn’t think people needed another lengthy comment on Tweel from his seminal Martian Odyssey story. Instead I went with connecting the famed Gygaxian Naturalism to Weinbaum’s striking propensity to create entire ecologies. You don’t see that in the other Appendix N entries. (The closest thing to it is de Camp and Pratt, but they operate on mainly a cultural level, not an ecological one.) While I have seen many worlds similar to those in Weinbaum’s Planetary series turn up in Traveller materials, I think the spirit of the Dungeon Master fretting over the balance and interactions of the ecosystem of his dungeons is actually more reminiscent of Weinbaum’s work.

Anyway, here’s this week’s retrospective:

RETROSPECTIVE: A Martian Odyssey and the Complete Planetary Series by Stanley Grauman Weinbaum

And below is the rather lean link roundup for this author….

Grognardia — “Gygax includes Weinbaum in Appendix N (and its equivalent in Mythus) and regularly mentioned him in the various Q&A threads as an author ‘very key to my thinking.’ That’s probably because of Weinbaum’s posthumously published novel, The Black Flame, which mixed science and magic in a post-apocalyptic setting. But Weinbaum made his name with his short story, ‘A Martian Odyssey,’ which first appeared in the July 1934 issue of Wonder Stories. The story was incredibly influential and often anthologized, so it seems likely that Gary would have read it. Even if he didn’t, I suspect another founding father of the hobby did, as I shall discuss shortly.” — “Back in the days of the pulps, the division between science fiction and fantasy was much more fluid then it is today (though I think they are starting to bleed across again). You could say that it isn’t that rigid these days, for that matter: Star Wars is just spaceships and wizards, laser swords and riding fantasy critters, right? I haven’t discounted titles from Appendix N authors just because the book appears to be science fiction, because for every Humanoids story that doesn’t quite fit, there is a Forerunner or Warrior of World’s End, or heck, Jack Vance or John Carter of Mars. The history of the game does stem from plenty of science fiction stuff; in a real way, the combined “Science-Fiction and Fantasy” tag really does apply to the books of Appendix N.”

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