I love reading. It’s one of my favourite things to do before bed. It forces me to take a tech-break. It inspires and activates my imagination in ways TV and Movies can not. Over the worst of the pandemic I was going to read the APPENDIX N books—Appendix N is the list that Gary Gygax listed as inspiration for the original Dungeons and Dragons books. While many of them are classics, and foundations of the fantasy genre, they are a cultural product of their time. For example, all the authors save a couple are men, and the authors are very white. I wanted to read more modern texts with a wider variety of authors and attitudes. Our game has grown and evolved, I decided I wanted my inspiration to do the same.
Appendix: Lit Book Club. A book club designed to provide players, game masters, and storytellers inspiration through fantasy and science fiction literature that breaks the Eurocentric-white-male norms of the genres.
I wanted books that I could mine for the many games I run or that just left me inspired in general. I came up with requirements for my list:
- I wanted a list focused on fantasy/science/speculative fiction.
- I wanted cultural diversity in the authors and stories. (more than 70% had to be white men)
- I wanted queer character and authors (at least 25%).
- I wanted some Canadian authors (at least 25%).
- I wanted to avoid Amazon (I don’t even use goodreads for lists, I have had to find other sources).
Every year I spent months coming up with a large list of books that I whittle down to 12. Each book is read over the course of a month, and then there are questions that are discussed with whomever is able to attend. I also have a new rating system using the different polyhedral dice in almost every tabletop role playing game that exists.
If you are in Vancouver I recommend Pulp Fiction Books or Iron Dog Books. They are local gems and great at bringing in what you need. I linked all the books to Indigo books, a Canadian bookstore chain if you need to use delivery. Sometimes you don’t have the money or space for new books, luckily these books should be at your public library. If you want to grow your collection I urge you to use a local, independent bookstore—if you don’t have a lot of space, pass them on to an aspiring game master/dungeon master/storyteller to help inspire them.
I created the book club for myself, however anyone is welcome to join. You can read, audio-book, get read to, whatever works for you. The questions we discuss are found here. You can join the discord chat here (This is also where we will be having the monthly chats). Tell us you are there for Appendix Lit. The discord has a Zero tolerance for posting spoilers or hate.
I’m very excited, let’s get inspired!