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Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
21. The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin.
22. Rebellion at Christiana by Margaret Hope Bacon.
23. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.
24. This Sweet Sickness by Patricia Highsmith.

25. Sandstorm: A Forgotten Realms Novel by Christopher Rowe. I'm not precisely sure how long it's been since I read an RPG tie-in novel, but I know that the last one was Homeland, which is one of the worst books I have ever read. It's one of the Drizzt Do'Urden books, and this was when everyone was going crazy for Drizzt, and I was curious, and, well. That was the last but not the first D&D-related novel I read; when I was 10 I heard about and tracked down a library copy of Quag Keep (that's right, I was HARDCORE), and I read and enjoyed the Dragonlance books back in the day. The first trilogy came out when I was in junior high, and I was heavily into D&D then--in fact it's probably safe to say that insofar as I had a social life at all, D&D (and, on occasion, Gamma World or Champions or Top Secret) was it. Otherwise I read, and while I never went quite as crazy for the Dragonlance books as I did for Tolkien or McCaffrey, they had the virtue of being about a world in which I already knew the rules, and into which I could insert myself (or at least a character created by me) without much effort. And whatever its weaknesses, Dragonlance had great characters--I still get a bit misty thinking about good ol' Flint Fireforge--and one lesson that I took from RPGs is that characters are paramount.

I played D&D into college (my LJ handle, which I use all over the internets, comes from Snurri Icebreaker, my dual-classed fighter/ice mage, who was named for Snorri Sturluson), but aside from that one time at Sycamore Hill--seriously, who would turn down the chance to play when HOLLY BLACK is going to be the DM--I haven't played in 12 or 15 years. I haven't much wanted to. The trouble with RPGs, for me, is that they use the same brainspace that I use for thinking about and writing fiction, so when I play I tend to write less. Which is fine 99.99% of the time, but not right now, because after reading Sandstorm I want to be playing in a D&D campaign SO FUCKING BAD.

If you have never heard of Christopher Rowe, then I sort of envy you, because he's one of those writers that I wish I could go back and read again for the first time. Until now I'd probably have said that about "The Voluntary State," his cyber-absurdist mindfuck novella that was nominated for (and should have won) every award in the genre the year that it was published. Now I'm not sure. I know that if I was to go back and discover him at fourteen or fifteen, I'd want someone to send a copy of Sandstorm back in time to me, because it blows any Dragonlance novel out of the fucking water. Characters are paramount, like I said, and Rowe's characters have a life beyond what's on the page; I think that even for me to try to encapsulate them here would diminish them. What you need to know is: great characters, thrilling action, mystery and intrigue, romance and sacrifice, a fertile landscape seeded with story. If you're anything like me, you need this book.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 8th, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
I can't read that book!!! At least not right now. I have the same issue with D&D -- it uses the same parts of my brain that writing does, only is easier and more alluring. If I hear the siren-song of D&D right now, in the form of Christopher's book, All Will Be Lost.

But yeah, those Dragonlance books ROCKED. I remember Raistlin and Fizban the most, but I used to stare at the covers and had the Art of Dragonlance. Fantastic stuff.

So, yeah. I'll buy Christopher's book. I just won't read it until I can afford to fall down the rabbit hole for a while. :)
Mar. 8th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
Raistlin was emo before emo was cool, man.

At least you will have this to look forward to as a reward!
Mar. 12th, 2011 09:08 am (UTC)
Oh! Oh! And I'm even IN a 4th Ed. D&D campaign! And we even HAVE the Forgotten Realms rules book in hardcover AND .pdf format.

(It even eats up the brain space just role-playing? I found DMing certainly used up that part of my brain. But role-playing not so much, except possibly during character creation.) (But then, it's not like I find time to use that part of my brain anyway? BRING ON THE DICE.)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


David J. Schwartz
Mumble Herder

Recent and Forthcoming



US Edition

UK Edition


"The Sun Inside," part of the Electrum Novella Series from Rabit Transit Press

Short Stories:

"Escape to Bird Island" at The King's English, Winter 2008-9 Issue

"Bear In Contradicting Landscape" in Polyphony 7, Coming Soon

"MonstroCities" in Tumbarumba: A Frolic of Intrusions

"Mike's Place" in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet #22

"Proof of Zero" in Spicy Slipstream Stories, Out Now!!

"The Somnambulist" in Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy, Out Now!!

"Oma Dortchen and the Pillar of Story" in Farrago's Wainscot, Summer 2007

"The Ichthyomancer Writes His Friend with an Account of the Yeti's Birthday Party" in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet Number 13, Fall 2003 (Honorable Mention, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Seventeenth Annual Collecion); Reprinted in The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet


""Stardust" at Strange Horizons


"On Making Noise: Confessions of a Quiet Kid" in Brothers and Beasts: An Anthology of Men on Fairy Tales edited by Kate Bernheimer



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