Hey! HEY! This is my book, Monsters, Aliens, and Holes in the Ground, coming to a bookstore near you on October 10, 2023 thanks to MIT Press. Pre-orders are live now pretty much everywhere, though I recommend using Bookshop.org, as I have been impressed at their packaging skillz. I have a real live copy of the book in my possession and I gotta say, it’s pretty neat.

What is the book? It’s a look at the history and development of tabletop RPGs, one product at a time, arranged in chronological order across five decades. It’s sort of like this Instagram feed, actually, but way more polished, and, you know, on paper. I covered the classics, but this is also very much an exercise in expanding horizons — I hope there is at least one game featured for every reader that they never heard of. To that end, there are lots of lesser known games, weird games, silly games, even a couple board games. All pulled from my collection, all illustrated with something like 350 photographs.

There’s original art, too. Kyle Patterson did the amazing cover, somehow transforming my deeply silly post-it sketch (last slide) into a canny encapsulation of the RPG experience. He did a two-page spread introducing each decade, and effortlessly capturing its essence. He also did a handful of gorgeous spot illustrations. All of Kyle’s art makes me low-key angry. How dare he be so talented? I’ll share more of it, and some sketches, later on. You’ll be annoyed by his talent, too, I guarantee.

We (that’s myself and Derek Kinsman, who did the layout) also filled some empty spots with rights-free art from Amanda Lee Franck, evlynmoreau and natetreme, which is pretty rad – Amanda did the wizard van in the next to last slide – and also some Giovanni Battista Piranesi, cuz that dude had aesthetic for days.

And there you go, a first taste of 450-something pages of full-color RPG goodness. Go snag a copy now, yea? (Worth noting, this is the Standard edition. I’ll show you the Deluxe edition tomorrow.)

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