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The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave: Index of Posts

An index of posts describing the Forgotten Smugglers' Cave, an adventure for Holmes Basic characters levels 2-4.                    ...

Monday, November 27, 2023

Playing at the World: Second Edition coming next year

Cover of the original printing

As mentioned recently by author Jon Peterson on X, a second edition of his seminal history of D&D, Playing at the World, is coming out next year, via MIT Press.

An Amazon pre-order page exists with a date of August 6th, 2024, with both print and digitial options. No cover image is yet available:

Playing at the World Pre-Order Page

Long out of print, second hand copies of the original printing from 2012 regularly fetch over $200. 

Rather than just a straight reprint, the new edition will be "a pretty pervasive update" per the author, and the Amazon page indicates it will be published in two volumes.

See also:

Playing at the World blog

Thursday, November 23, 2023

The Maze of Peril: Auction of Gygax's Manuscript Copy

Typescript draft for the Maze of Peril, along with a reply letter from Gygax

In the most recent round of auctions from the estate of Gary Gygax, I was pleasantly surprised to see an auction for a typed manuscript of Holmes' D&D novel The Maze of Peril, originally published in November 1986 by the venerable independent publisher Space & Time, which was founded by author Gordon Linzner in the 1960s.

In addition to the typescript itself, the auction included the mailing envelope from the publisher; a cover letter from the publisher; a copy of a reply letter from Gygax; and a copy of an introduction to the book written by Gygax. This last is the most surprising of all, as the published novel includes Gygax in the dedication ("To Gygax who invented the game") but does not include any sort of introduction, by Gygax or other author.

Together we can gather that the publisher sent the completed typescript to Gygax in March 1986 and requested an introduction to the book, which Gygax wrote and mailed back to the publisher soon after, but for unknown reasons this introduction was not included in the book when it was published in November of that year.

Looking in more detail at each item:

---Of typescript itself, the photos show the cover page, with the title of the book and author's name appearing as on the title page of published book, and with a Shiprock, New Mexico address. Shiprock is part of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, and according to the author bio accompanying Holmes' short story Martian Twilight (1991, Running Dinosaur Press), he and his wife (also a doctor) lived there for four years while they "worked for the Indian Health Service Hospitals". See this post for a letter to Space Gamer magazine that Holmes wrote during this time period.

The above photo shows a portion of one page of the text of the book, which is part of Chapter 1 (page 10 as published), and matches the text as published.

---The mailing envelope from Space and Time has a return address of 138 West 70th St, 4B in New York City, which is the same address from which I myself ordered a copy of Maze of Peril about 20 years ago. It addressed to Gygax at a PO Box 388 in Lake Geneva. Gygax had been ousted from TSR a little over 6 months previously. For more on this topic, see the article the Ambush at Sherdian Springs by Jon Peterson, or his book Game Wizards.

Written on the cover of the mailing envelope from Space & Time are the following handwritten notes in pencil: "Copy letter + 5 pp of intro. Origs. to Jani Anderson. File remainder under Holmes, J. Eric". Thus, it appears Gygax stored all of these papers in this envelope.

---The letter from Space & Time is mostly obscured in the photos, but it can be seen that it is dated March 15th, 1986.

---Gygax's return letter is dated March 21st, 1986, and uses a different address, "832 Geneva Street", the history of which is described on the Gygax Memorial Page. The letter is addressed to Jani Anderson, who was an editor at Space & Time.

This letter is visible in full, and the body reads:

Thanks for the note and copy of Eric's manuscript for the captioned. Naturally, I didn't read it for editorial work but for refreshing my memory. I believe the least time I saw it was about two years ago.

After I wrote the four numbered pages, I thought the whole was a bit too dry, so I added the "insert" paragraph. I envision that becoming the leading portion of the whole.

Having had a couple of books published, I am quite used to the indignities of editorial work. Feel free to do as you wish with the words. The presentation of the Registered Trade Marks of TSR, Inc. is, I believe, legally correct. Do be careful about that. I suggest you consult with a lawyer about usages beyond what I have written. Certainly, I can freely be shown as co-creator of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game, or creator of ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game. Cover usage might require some acknolwedgement of ownership of the mark(s).

Please feel free to contact me if I may be of any further assistance.

This suggests Gygax previously saw a copy of the draft around 1984, when he was still at TSR. Holmes was working on the book as early as 1979, as it is mentioned by title in an L.A. Times newspaper article from that year, "Fantasy Life in a Game Without End".

One possibility is that concern over trademark usage kept the publisher from using Gygax's introduction, although I note that the book as published uses the D&D trademark on the back cover, and in Holmes' author bio. Another possibility is Gygax's legal tussle with TSR, which was still ongoing in the first half of 1986, per Jon Peterson's article cited above.

Efforts are currently underway to contact Space & Time to see if they have any records or memories as to why Gygax's introduction was not used.

Copies of the original printing of Maze of Peril are still available from Space & Time via Amazon. Find the link in the sidebar to this blog or by clicking here:

Maze of Peril original 1986 printing

See also:

Tales of Peril Book Club