No, this Project Really Wasn’t for the Benefit of Gamers
October 29, 2016
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I really need to point out just how surprising this turn of events really is. And I know I keep saying this, but as the narrative shifts… people are going to gradually lose the capacity to imagine what things were really like before.
As I worked through my Appendix N survey, there was never any doubt that I was a game blogger. Even if I started a post in the overall thrust of something focused on literary criticism, I would often pivot back to gaming somehow. Consequently, I would get feedback along the lines of, “hey, this is a great thing you’re doing for gamers.” And, “this is going to be a fantastic resource for role-players.” Also, “this stuff has no place in the Hugo shortlist; there are plenty of other awards for gaming-related writing. Won’t you please step aside so a legitimate sff fan can take your place…?”
Not all of that was intentionally condescending. But it was. The subtext was, “hey… you’re pretty big stuff for a game blogger, but you’re not anything special out here in the book scene, you turkey.” Well, if all of this was for the gamers, then where are they…? Far from showing up in droves, you can actually look back and see where popular game bloggers quietly dropped out of the discussion. One game blogger this year actually deleted his Appendix N posts when he found out that this was a fairly controversial topic. Some gamers that broach the subject write as if there are hordes of zealots roving the internet refusing to read anything that’s not on the Appendix N list. Oddly enough, they fail to mention any names. It’s bizarre!
So where is the action right now…? It’s with people that want to piece together what the science fiction and fantasy canon really is in contrast to what we’ve been told that it is. It’s with people that want talk about old books without the usual politically correct framing. But most of all, it’s with people that want to read and create new short fiction in the style of the old masters. Yes, people do drop back into a bit of game blogging when the topic warrants it. It’s almost as if gaming and gaming history are now a first class element of literary criticism. But that’s a only very small part of what’s happening here.
My Appendix N posts simply weren’t written for gamers. You’re not going to see them write about it or link to it for the most part. Just why that is really isn’t that interesting, really. What is interesting is that no one saw this coming. Gamers were pretty well done exploring the implications of Appendix N several years ago. The real audience for my Appendix N posts were a group of people that nobody could imagine even existing.