I consider myself a person who reads a lot. Perhaps not as much as I used to (so often I reach the end of a day and am so tired I just want to veg with a show until I fall sleep), but I’ve walls and walls of science fiction and fantasy novels (with some thriller, horror and mystery dollops mixed in for good measure). Not to mention magazines from National Geographic to Scientific American, a solid shelf of theological texts (just wrapping up my latest Nibley book), various historical works (despite a gorgeous Folio set, I’m chagrined to say I’ve still not managed to make it all the way through Gibbons’ The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire) and of course a crush-a-rocketship wall of RPGs/game-related fiction.
As a fun side note, one of my great joys of the last year or two has been a 14-year-old son whose reached an age where he’s interested in all those books and he’s begun to work his way through a pile of classics as I did at his age: he’s got Dune (3 times), Lord of the Rings and the first Shannara trilogy under his belt and he’s currently working his way through the Rift War saga (gonna send him through the Dragonriders of Pern next, I think…).
Now with that in mind I’ve also known there are some pretty gaping holes in what I’ve not read of past masters that deserve my time and attention. In the middle of the sprint to finish up Cosmic Patrol I had Matt compile a list of notables (authors to artists and more) he wanted to include directly in the back of the book…after all Cosmic Patrol is a tribute to the wonderful stories and art that have come before…and hopefully a launching pad for the wonderful stories we’ll all add to that melting pot.
Upon taking a gander at the list Matt compiled I was rightly humbled at the vast tracks of fertile fields of fiction (say that fast three times) that I’ve not enjoyed. As a writer and a connoisseur of a thousand and one documentaries (if you’ve not watched Through The Wormhole on the Science Channel, by heavens go watch it now!!!), I like to say “I know just enough to be dangerous.” I certainly knew enough of the fiction and theme for the style of Cosmic Patrol to leap in and help finish up the writing of various sections, as well as developing the rules. But I’m coming to understand I’ve only caught a shadow of the massive asteroid of fiction burried in deep space…forgotten by many, never even glimpsed by most.
I love my games to challenge me, but they have to be fun (or at least my kind of fun). And while our ultimate goal is for players to have a blast playing Cosmic Patrol, if we manage to open some eyes to the masters of fiction (and of course the artists along with them) that laid the ground work off of which we all owe endless gratitude…that’ll be something extra special.
I’ll be doing my own part…I just started re-reading the Foundation series as a way to prime the pump and then I’ll be diving into some of the series I just never seemed to get around to before.
In that theme we’ve added a new page: All Hail The Fictioneers! This is the first iteration of the list and is filled with thousands of hours of enjoyment for those that wish to follow the rocketship down the proverbial wormhole. We’ll be adding to the list as we have time…and of course, if anyone sees a “must include” individual (author, artist, you name it), by all means let us know!
Till next episode…