First up, we have Ken Hite… easily among the biggest names in rpg design:
“Appendix N: The Literary History of Dungeons & Dragons (Nonfiction, Jeffro Johnson, 2017) Compilation of game-advice, critical, and ludohistorical blog entries inspired by or reacting to titles and authors in Gary Gygax’ ‘Appendix N’ to the AD&D DMG. I’m broadly sympathetic to Johnson’s grumpy conservatism, and likely guilty of the same structural sins in my own lit-crit-book-from-blog, so I won’t address those. It does need a stronger edit for misprints and malapropisms, but its real value depends on where you are in your own reading. If, like they were for Johnson, Fritz Leiber and Tarzan are unexplored country for you, this is Recommended; for me, it was Okay. –KH”
You know, that comes off a bit on the “meh” side, but as Alex points out… recommended [for people unfamiliar with the works described] is still Recommended.
Meanwhile, we have truest of the true-fans Cora Buhlert weighing in with this:
“Johnson is one of the better puppy fan writers and his Appendix N project was actually sort of interesting…”
Given the amount of bad blood in the fandom scene, this is actually pretty high praise all things considered.
Not to give the wrong impression, there are hard core Appendix N fans out there. Why them and why me…? Well… for people that are sick to the back teeth over derivative, “pink slime” fantasy from the past thirty years or so, Appendix N is sort of a de facto textbook on how to create something new. Which is ironic because it’s entirely focused on something old.
If that doesn’t make any sense, well… read the book! And then go read Cirsova! It’ll all make sense, trust me!