I don’t read a lot of typical contemporary fantasy novels. Indeed, I tend to actively avoid the usual post-Tolkien stuff as much as I can. I think my distaste for this fare dates to my studied rejection of the “Thomas Covenant” series and the wretched “Sword of Shannara” all the way back in the ’70s. The pre-Tolkien stuff Lin Carter and others excavated? Si se puede! The more modern stuff? Please spare me.
I have had to travel a very long road to really appreciate Lord Dunsany’s work. Even though I knew he was a tremendous influence on Lovecraft and other writers I liked, I struggled and failed to get into his books every time I picked one up. I must have tried to read Dunsany’s novel, and his masterpiece, The King of Elfland’s Daughter four or five times. I attribute my slow approach to his books to my own immaturity. I guess there are some authors I had to wait to attain to my forties to really appreciate.
“Sometimes it feels like one is watching a variety of blindingly beautiful, yet, corrupted blossoms appearing one by one – like little miracles – upon the limbs of a black and contorted tree.”
– “Mr. Schneider”
I recently had the great good fortune to read some original issues of Weird Tales magazine from the late 1930s. Both HPL and REH had just passed away and the letter columns were full of condolences and the readers’ memories of these two great, and profoundly influential, authors. As I went through the readers’ letters, it occurred to me to consider just how small the WT fan base was at the time. Many letters actually came from the magazine’s own regular writers. No matter how important HPL and REH, as well as other writers and artists publishing in this justly famous magazine may seem to us now, the vast majority of the reading public had no idea who they were.
Rob Conley has, evidently, run a D&D campaign in the Judges Guild “Wilderlands” campaign since 1980. He has worked on the Necromancer Games version of this classic, perhaps THE classic, “sandbox” milieu and has produced a personalized guide to the “Wilderlands” based on his own years of work and play.