Saturday, 28 March 2015

Empire of Imagination - Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons

I've just been made aware of an upcoming book, Empire of Imagination, all about one of the father's of Dungeons and Dragons, Gary Gygax. This book promises to be 'a comprehensive biography of the mythic icon among geek and gaming culture, Gary Gygax - and the complete story behind the invention of Dungeons & Dragons.'

That's quite a bold claim, but from what I see it's a claim that the author, Michael Witwer, appears to be able to deliver on and the detail he's going into - from birth to untimely end - is astounding. Besides that, the AD&D-inspired cover is wonderful. This is one book I'm looking forward to.

And in case you think you may have heard the name before - you're right, you have. Michael Witwer is the brother of Emmy-nominated actor Sam Witwer (Being Human, Battlestar Galatica, Star Wars: The Clone Wars).

It's due out October of this year, so make sure it's on your to-buy list.

From the website:

The godfather of all fantasy adventure games, Gary Gygax, has a life story that has only been told in bits and pieces. Michael Witwer has written a dynamic, dramatized biography of Gygax from his childhood in Lake Geneva to his untimely death in 2008. Gygax's magnum opus, Dungeons & Dragons, would explode in popularity throughout the 1970s and '80s and irreversibly alter the world of gaming. D&D is the best-known, best-selling role-playing game of all time, and it boasts an elite class of alumni - Stephen Colbert, Robin Williams, and Junot Diaz all have spoken openly about their experience with the game as teenagers, and some credit it as a workshop where their nascent imaginations were fostered.

Gygax's involvement in the industry lasted long after his dramatic and involuntary departure from D&D's parent company, TSR, and his footprint can be seen in the genre he is largely responsible for creating. But as Witwer shows, perhaps the most compelling facet of his life and work was his unwavering commitment to the power of creativity in the face of myriad sources of adversity - cultural, economic, and personal. Through his creation of the role-playing genre, Gygax gave generations of gamers the tools to invent characters and entire worlds in their minds. Told in narrative-driven and dramatic fashion, Witwer has written an engaging chronicle of the life and legacy of this emperor of imagination.