I`ve had several Appendix N titles on my `to buy` list for some time. One is The Face In The Frost, by John Bellairs, published in 1969. The other: Swords Against Darkness, an anthology series that commenced in 1977, edited by Andrew Offutt.
I went to Salmon Arm, BC yesterday (a town 20 minutes from the cabins) and decided to poke around in the used bookstore there named the Book Nook. I picked up another twenty or so paperbacks, for a dollar each, including some Zelazny and Leiber, and the two above-named books. As I went to the till to pay for my books, the owner asked me, "Are these valuable?" Like most things, they`re only valuable to the people who value them ... so I told her that I recently became interested in the old pulp fantasy and swords and sorcery tales, and wanted to see what the fuss was all about. No point in telling her that I would have paid four or more times what she was charging, was there?
I`ve already breezed through the first two Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser anthologies, and had a great time doing so. I tried to read those tales more than a decade ago, but could not get past the florid language. Having this time plunged in with both feet, I found myself laughing out loud, in answer to which I was shot puzzled stares by my family. Reading the Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser tales was like re-living those heady days, discovering Dungeons and Dragons again for the first time.
Next on my list is The Face In The Frost. I have made it through the preface and first chapter, and am beginning to understand why this appears in Appendix N: it seems to capture the comical, danger-laden, image-rich atmosphere of those early D&D games.