For those who don't know, "Appendix N" was Gary Gygax' attempt to acknowledge the fantasy authors who gave him "particular inspiration" for what became Dungeons & Dragons, its various canonical early campaigns and adventures, and Gary's brand of fiction. (It's here, if you'd like to read it.) So that's what this is, too; my acknowledgement of the authors whose fingerprints I can most easily, and most often, trace in my own game writing and associated essays, fiction, etc. (Maybe you've seen another pattern in there. Feel free to tell me in comments who else I sound like I'm
N.B.: This is not the same as "the best" or even "my favorite." It's just whose DNA shows up in my writing's paternity tests, as best as I can tell. Lord knows I'd prefer it if my stuff read like Alan Furst or Charles McCarry instead of Robert Ludlum. Not every seed grows a tree: I devoured every word written by Edgar Rice Burroughs during my pre-adolescent prime, but my writing and gaming hasn't turned out much like his in style, content, or theme. Also, that means writers I've only relatively recently discovered (the "Parker" novels by Richard Stark aka Donald E. Westlake, for example) won't show up because I haven't had time to slavishly imitate them yet (though "Bad Beat for Aaron Burr" was my attempt to do just that).
Like Gary, I omit movies, TV shows, and other games. Unlike Gary, I include "books of mythology," broadly understood, and three comics writers in my Appendix. (Yes, Gary included Gardner Fox. But as a novelist, not for his superb comics scripting.) For the challenge of the thing, I'm keeping this list down to the same number of authors -- 29 -- as Gary's original. This may be overstating the case; my friend kaynorr is fond of saying that all my games are either riffing on Declare or Planetary, and the challenge for my players is figuring out which one before I do.
And so, as Gary said in 1979: "For this reason, and for the hours of reading enjoyment, I heartily recommend the works of these fine authors to you."
* Anderson, Poul
* Bellairs, John
Block, Lawrence: "Burglar" series
Davidson, Avram: "Esterhazy" series; "Adventures in Unhistory" series; "Peregrine" series; et al
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: "Sherlock Holmes" series; "Challenger" series; "Horror of the Heights" et al
Ellis, Warren: Planetary
Fraser, George Macdonald: "Flashman" series
Graves, Robert: The Greek Myths; The White Goddess
Heinlein, Robert A.
* Howard, R. E.: "Conan" series; "Solomon Kane" series
* Leiber, Fritz: Our Lady of Darkness; Conjure Wife; "Fafhrd & Gray Mouser" series et al
Lewis, C.S.: "Narnia" series; That Hideous Strength
Ludlum, Robert: The Bourne Identity; The Matarese Conspiracy
* Lovecraft, H. P.
Morrison, Grant: "Invisibles" series; "Doom Patrol" series; et al
Pournelle, Jerry: "CoDominium" series
Powers, Tim: Anubis Gates; On Stranger Tides; The Stress of Her Regard; Last Call; Declare; et al
Tey, Josephine: The Daughter of Time
* Wellman, Manly Wade
Wheatley, Dennis: "Black Magic" series
Wilson, Robert Anton & Shea, Michael: "Illuminatus" trilogy; "Historical Illuminatus" trilogy
* Zelazny, Roger: "Amber" series; et al
* Author also on Gary's list; titles may vary from his selection