Sunday, May 19, 2013

D&D: Dangerous For Your Health?

Cover of the Winter 1982 issue of the short-lived Beyond magazine, image from philsp

The author's blurb in Maze of Peril mentions several magazines with articles by J. Eric Holmes. I tracked most of these down long ago, but the one from Beyond eluded me until a few days ago. I wasn't even sure what publication it was in, as there have been several Beyond magazines over the years. I still don't have a copy of the article - the publication appears to be vanishingly rare - but I finally located a citation for it a few days ago in the amazing Internet Speculative Fiction Database. ISFDB is a "community effort to catalog works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror" and it goes deep, listing every article in the periodicals that it covers. 

It turns out that Holmes' article was in a Beyond periodical that existed briefly in 1981-1982,  a "SF magazine containing stories by Harlan Ellison & Robert Silverberg apparently issued only as free supplements in (some) college newspapers" as a "small newsprint tabloid, 11.5" wide and 14" tall" (according to another database, philsp). This kind of limited, ephemeral newspaper distribution would explain its rarity - I didn't find any copies for sale anywhere on the internet.

According to ISFDB, Holmes' article is in the Winter (Jan) 1982 issue and is titled "Dungeons & Dragons: Dangerous for Your Health?". The date of this article places it shortly after Holmes' FRPG book came out in late 1981, and it may cover similar ground to Chapter 13, which is titled: "Are They All Crazy?" (short answer: no, of course not). This was the era of intense public interest in the phenomena and "dangers" of D&D, so the cover of the magazine teases the article as "Dungeons & Dragons: Breeding New Demons?"

I'd love to read this article, so please keep your eyes out for it.


  1. I hope you manage to track down a copy Z and if you do, I hope you'll then share the article with us all.

  2. You mean we're not all crazy??? I have it on good authority (a pamphlet comic published in 1984) that if I play D&D enough, I will gain actual magical powers. I've been playing for a long while and I still don't have those powers. I'd really like to see this article so I can find out if it mentions why I can't cast spells yet.


  3. I used to have these Beyond mags. Think I picked them up while subscribing to OMNI. Just moved and I don't remember seeing them while packing (but I will be keeping an eye out for them).