In the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide, first published in 1979, D&D co-creator Gary Gygax included a number of appendices. One of these was Appendix N: jammed between “Summoned Monsters” and “Encumbrance of Standard Items” lay an innocuous-seeming list of sword & sorcery and other fantasy tales that inspired Gygax’s work on D&D. It included many S&S luminaries like Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, and Michael Moorcock, but also Tolkien, Dunsany, Lovecraft, and others.
Since then, “Appendix N” has become shorthand for a certain type of weird fiction published mostly in the first half of the 20th century. It’s often suggested to D&D players curious about what, exactly, Gygax was trying to emulate with his game. It’s also a useful primer of the weird fantasy classics.
Cozy fantasy is hard to pin down. Very hard. “Cozy” means something different to every reader, after all. But if we’re to have a magazine for it, we should at least make the attempt!
Presented here is a rough, incomplete, and not at all definitive list of the books many readers associate with coziness, warmth, and the pleasures of home. Not everything given falls in line with Wyngraf‘s own focus, though we’ve omitted urban fantasy. (We’ve also generally not included children’s and YA books.)
This is a living document: incomplete, imperfect, and very much open to debate. Nominate your faves in the comments!
A Kinda Sorta List of Cozy Fantasy Classics and Ephemera
- J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit, Smith of Wootton Major, Farmer Giles of Ham
- Brian Jacques: the Redwall series
- Diana Wynne Jones: Howl’s Moving Castle, Dark Lord of Derkholm, Year of the Griffin
- Neil Gaiman: Stardust
- William Goldman: The Princess Bride (the good parts)
- J.K. Rowling: the Harry Potter series (mainly the first three books)
- Travis Baldree: Legends & Lattes
- Phyllis Ann Karr: At Amberleaf Fair
- Katherine Arden: The Bear and the Nightingale
- T.J. Klune: The House in the Cerulean Sea
- Naomi Novak: Uprooted
- Katherine Addison: The Goblin Emperor
- Peter S. Beagle: The Last Unicorn
- T. Kingfisher: Swordheart
- Lois McMaster Bujold: the Sharing Knife series
- Jody Lynn Nye: An Unexpected Apprentice
- Travis Biddle: Balam, Spring
- Nathan Lowell: the Tanyth Fairport Adventures series
- Julie E. Czerneda: A Turn of Light