I’ve been writing for a little more than a decade, and seriously since about 2012-2013, but it wasn’t until I started reading Jeffro’s posts on the Hugo nominated Castalia House blog and his Appednix N book that something clicked in me.
It’s because of him I shifted my reading habits from the modern sci-fi political drivel to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Poul Anderson and Leigh Brackett. I would have never discovered this past full of wonder, where these authors reached for the stars and dreamed rather than dug their heels into the earth and tried to make a grittier, hellish version of now.
He showed me what science fiction and fantasy can be.
Now you might think I’m overstating it, but it’s really incredible just how much the genre has transformed in the last three decades or so, and not for the better. I highly recommend searching his Castalia House posts at the very least and I also recommend every writer read Appendix N, his literary criticism of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s really brilliant and opened my eyes.
My writing changed because of it, and not just in a way where I consciously decided to draft things a different way. Old fiction was all about fun and wonder, and so when a writer approaches a book like that, it becomes more fun to write — it’s made me more productive in my habits just cuz I’m enjoying the process more. I don’t worry about realism now, I’ve realized that’s a dumb thing to strive for in science fiction, I only worry about creating an exciting vision. It helps me cut down on slow points in the process, these revelations have done wonders for me personally. And I know I’m not the only one.
Today I learned Jeffro will be stepping down from the Castalia House blog, a blog which has become daily reading for me because of him and the other great authors there. It makes me sad because this is the end of an era. I really hope he’ll continue to at least write occasionally so we get his insights. I’m going to miss him a lot in this capacity and I know others will as well.
I trust that Morgan Holmes will do an excellent job, and will also keep Jeffro’s vision in mind. But I wanted to dedicate this blog to Jeffro’s hard work over the last couple of years all the same. Thank you again, Jeffro. I hope you won’t be a stranger around these parts!
If you love Appendix N, the first story I wrote since discovering it was published this summer. You can find it here and see a marked difference in how I come at fiction.