I recently reread Saga of Old City, and I enjoyed it more than I was expecting to. When I first read the book I loved it, more on its Greyhawk content than anything else. I remember waiting for its release after reading At Moonset Blackcat Comes in Dragon 100. I picked it up the day it came out and read it in a day. Ditto for other books in the series. Later I gave Gord a more critical look, and was really turned off. I ended up losing all of those books. I never really made an attempt to reacquire them, since I didn’t think they were that good. After TLG released SoOC I ordered a copy and reread it. At first it was as bad as I remembered it being, but as the book progressed, it got better. The early dialogue is really bad and it doesn’t flow very well. But the writing and story do impove, and by the end it’s really top notch. Unfortunately, the Old City portion of Saga of Old City is the worst part. It gets a little better after he leaves the city, and really improves after the Evaleigh portion of the book ends. The Adri material and the adventure in the Abbor-Alz is really good fantasy adventure material. By the end I was looking forward to reading more. Too bad this is another victim of Gygax Games.
I feel that Gary's finest fiction work was in the short story format, and when I told him so myself he mentioned that he did enjoy the short story writing more than the novel format. His tales in _Night Arrant_ are among my favorite Gord episodes.
Post by geneweigel on Feb 11, 2009 14:03:54 GMT -5
I think the city kid thing was based on personal experiences. (I had a "shitty city" childhood too so i could relate to the urban blight even with the exaggerated fantasy of it. That depressing air of having to make your own way when you're overlooked, etc. that kind of thing.)
Speaking of retrospect on the series, I see it as the series origin story failing only because he didn't get to the Castle Greyhawk part in time to do it properly and round it out. When working on Gord material with him, he actually told me that was the original intent but it couldn't be done properly and thoroughly once the "GORD THE ROGUE" imprint began so he said that it was done only lightly in the one short story as he didn't want to do injustice to those that played the campaign. In the same breath he said this was the same motivation behind the need to set the "giants", "Toee" and other adventures away from Greyhawk originally. But he had an original intention for "GREYHAWK ADVENTURES" to go to the castle to merge with and support the product that never came out. So all that focus on plane adventure material was a replacement for that. Therefore the entire "preamble" (GA #1&2) is out of context to the full focused Castle Greyhawk story (novel #3? #4?). Once everything fell apart there was no chance of it after that so it has to be graded as it is. The connectivity to castle is the missing bookend to the Gord slum years and as it was a series that was refocused and deliberately led away from where it was going, the beginnings seem way off kilter to the rest.
I think Zagyg (or some CG presence) revealing that he (or they) was there in the slums was where it was going or something in that regard but all that was revised in the CITY OF HAWKS with a generic "secret origin". The thing that I worked on with him for the graphic novel was an expansion of the secret origin in CITY OF HAWKS and he mentioned that version wasn't what was originally planned. So I can guess it was going to be more CG relevant.
Another discussion was why not Mordie or Bigby for the novel and it pertained to this as well. He said that he didn't want to start with all the baggage of those two and preferred to keep it in place as it was and do Greyhawk with a new character and approach it all later.
That was very interesting, Gene. I have often wondered about Gary's choice for novels and the whole champion of Balance bit. I once asked him if he had planned for Gord to be the Cat Lord's offspring since the beginning and he replied that it had been more or less his plan. Your info puts a total different spin on Gary's answer.
All that maybe a little less just leaning more in the direction of the castle. Its like we all kind of know this was where it was going but in regards to the "town and dungeon" as he called it, it was par for the course to make that the core of the story.
Of course, you could never really paint Gary Gygax into a corner, he would always come up with different angles and layers on the same thing.
I actually re-read SoOC just before Christmas, and loved it (all over again). I didn't enjoy AoE as much, but it was still a good yarn, and the painting of GH in one's imagination I found invaluable. As a player of elves, the descriptions of the Royal Palace of Celene in Enstad fascinated me.
I am definitely not an unbiased reviewer, but I really enjoyed the Gord books. I used to eagerly grab the new pages off of his desk after school. And then complain that he had only written 20 pages and I wanted to read more!
I told Gary that I was two-fistedly defending against every slight that came down the pipe about him forever but it amounted to nothing in the broad spectrum of things as I would get new players all the time that would try to bond on a dislike of Gord stories. Boy, did they regret that approach to friendship! But still it was omnipresent and invalid for years this age old dislike for Gord with the cheap "Leiber-esque" comparison. If that was anywhere near a valid argument then all sci-fi would've be negated past Verne and Wells. Ridiculous! I would challenge this consensus of dorkdom that "Gord" was not only a good slew of stories but it is superior to all contemporaries and frankly it still is. THE novelization of the D&D phenomena and there is no replacements or surrogates for that. I dare anyone to make a comparative contemporary fantasy fiction story that can hold any water to "Gord". The answer is nothing. There'll be some "nod and a wink" toward some pop fantasy very eleusively but nothing solid. "Gord" rules at least thats the way its been for years in "bookstore land"...
The Gord novels were a "catharsis" for both Gary and us "old schoolers" who refused to go 2E (and 3E, 4E, 5E, ad nauseum...). Until Gary and Rob started putting out new "AD&D" material, I had gone totally Mythus. And, yes, the crew down here in Indiana couldn't wait for the next installment (even the ones who went 2E!) ^__^
Post by ariochelruin on Oct 1, 2010 20:58:36 GMT -5
Based on this thread I went out a bought SoTOC a few months ago. I really enjoyed it. It's not A Song of Ice and Fire, but I found myself mentally comparing "my" journeys through Greyhawk to those of Gord.
Yup. Years ago I had a bunch of notes I'd taken from the books for material that I'd wanted to incorporate into my Greyhawk campaign. Unfortunately, moves and general disorganization led to my losing them - I haven't read Gord the Rogue in ages, but I just might have to again with pen and paper in hand . . .