Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Legacy of the Bieth Appendix N (Revisited)

James Introcaso, over at Worldbuilder Blog, released his own Appendix N a while back, and asked folks to contribute theirs.

Attentive readers will recall that I've written one, but that was five years ago. So here's a revised and expanded listing for Legacy of the Bieth's Appendix N.

Primary Sources
The Book of Contemplation, Usama ibn Munqidh
The Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun
The Rihla, Ibn Battuta

Epics and Folktales
The Romance of Antar, Anonymous
The Hamzanama, Anonymous
Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali (trans. D.T. Niane and G.D. Pickett)
Saharan Myth and Saga, H.T. Norris

I'm still making my way through most of these. Sundiata is amazing and absolutely fertile ground for RPG material. It's not just the main story of a denied prince liberating his home from an usurping sorceror-king, but also the little details like the far-seeing hunters (who provide another reason for the AD&D ranger to have all those divination spells...) I haven't had a chance to read Nneti Okorafor and Eric Battle's comic adaptation of Antar yet, but that's likely going to go up here also. 

Nonfiction
10,000 Ways to Die, Alex Cox
Night and Horses and the Desert, Robert Irwin
Timbuktu: The Sahara's Fabled City of Gold, Marq du Villiers and Sheila Hirtle
When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World, Hugh Kennedy
Cairo: The City Victorious, Max Rodenbeck
Making Big Money in 1600: The Life and Times of Isma'il Abu Taqiyya, Egyptian Merchant, Nelly Hanna
The Tunnels of Cu Chi, Tom Mangold and Joe Penycale
Codes of the Underworld, Diego Gambetta 

Most of the sources here deal with Egypt and/or Islamic medieval culture, but there are a few ringers. 10,000 Ways to Die (freely available here) was hugely influential for thinking about the tone of spaghetti westerns, and what makes them work on a thematic level.

Fiction
Chronicles of Sword and Sand, Howard Andrew Jones
Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed
Roadside Picnic, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Annihilation, Jeff van der Meer
The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Steven Erikson (particularly Deadhouse Gates and The Bonehunters)
Yendi, Steven Brust
"Zothique" stories, Clark Ashton Smith (also see generally)
"Outremer" stories, Robert Howard (also see generally)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, John Le Carre
City of Brass, S.A. Chakraborty
Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, Barry Hughart
"Black God's Kiss," CL Moore

The fiction section is one of the areas where I want to cast a wider net. One of my concerns with my inspirational material is that it's not drawing on enough North African material. The other is that it's drawing on too much of a Western lens. So, more work to be done.

Film
The Dollars Trilogy, Sergio Leone
Black Panther, Ryan Coogler
The Mummy (1999), Stephen Sommers
Indiana Jones Trilogy, Stephen Spielberg
The Proposition, John Hillcoat
The Wild Bunch, Sam Peckinpah

The movie adaptations of Roadside Picnic and Annihilation would likely make it onto this, but I haven't been able to watch them yet.

Music
Blue Oyster Cult (see generally)
Powerslave, Iron Maiden
Ennio Morricone
Federale

Blue Oyster Cult winds up providing a lot of the inspiration and underpinning for some of the weirder cosmological elements present.



Computer Games
S.T.A.L.K.E.R., GSG Game World
Mount + Blade Warband, Paradox
Age of Empires II, Microsoft

Artists
Zdzisław Beksiński
Remedios Varo

5 comments:

  1. You've hipped me to some things I need to check out!

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  2. I love to see how creators weave together disparate sources of inspiration into something novel. This is a great list. I think I'm going to follow suit for Spear! Fang! Raygun!

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  3. Your appendix N is close to mine - I'd make one addition:
    City of Bones by Martha Wells. It's like Dying Earth + City of Brass + the Sword & Sand books... plus Wells' own unique voice. Her worldbuilding is incredible!

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    Replies
    1. That's an awesome pitch! Gotta check it out now :)

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