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The Escapist  touches upon many subjects that can be explored to a much greater depth - role-playing games and LARP, the role of violence in entertainment, moral panic and Satanic panic, urban legends, and more. Collected here are links to books that can help you explore some of these subjects further.


Confessions of a Part-time Sorceress: A Girl's Guide to the D&D Game - "...a smart, humorous examination of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game from a female gamer's point of view. The book delves into the myths and realities of gamer stereotypes. It explains how to build a character for a D&D game, how to shop for gear, how to play, and how to find the perfect gaming group, all the while exploring the things that make the D&D game a rewarding and recurring social experience for both men and women."

The Elfish Gene: Dungeons, Dragons and Growing Up Strange - "As a 12-year-old in England in 1976, Barrowcliffe (Lucky Dog) made a fateful choice: he started playing Dungeons and Dragons. Role-playing games were just beginning their rise, and Barrowcliffe, along with 20 million other socially maladapted boys, spent his adolescence in dining rooms and basements as a druid, warrior or magician, throwing oddly shaped dice and slaying monsters. While D&D allowed Barrowcliffe to escape his mundane, much-bullied existence in an all-boys school, it also threw him into an equally cruel nerdiverse of Nazi wannabes, boys with nicknames like Rat and Chigger, and his polymath, Falstaffian best friend who once ate a still-frozen chicken pie on a bet. Barrowcliffe, whose own schoolboy nickname was Spaz, wonderfully captures the insensitivity, insecurity and selfishness of the adolescent male. His eye for the oddities of 1970s British life is equally astute."

The Fantasy Roleplaying Gamer's Bible 2nd Edition - "'Everything you ever wanted to know about gaming... but thought you'd be a geek if you asked.' Hailed as the best source of information ever created about Roleplaying games, this is the single most important book any gaming fan- or anyone who wants to understand RPGs- could hope to own."

Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media - "Games and other playable forms, from interactive fictions to improvisational theater, involve role playing and story—something played and something told. In Second Person, game designers, authors, artists, and scholars examine the different ways in which these two elements work together in tabletop role-playing games (RPGs), computer games, board games, card games, electronic literature, political simulations, locative media, massively multiplayer games, and other forms that invite and structure play."


Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences - "Why do even well-educated people understand so little about mathematics? And what are the costs of our innumeracy? John Allen Paulos, in his celebrated bestseller first published in 1988, argues that our inability to deal rationally with very large numbers and the probabilities associated with them results in misinformed governmental policies, confused personal decisions, and an increased susceptibility to pseudoscience of all kinds. Innumeracy lets us know what we're missing, and how we can do something about it."  

The author uses the imagined connection between D&D and suicide as an example of how statistics are misunderstood by almost everyone.

Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence - "Violent entertainment is good for kids, and demonizing it can do great harm to their emotional development, claims Jones (Honey, I'm Home!) in this provocative and groundbreaking work. Drawing on his experience as a parent and as a creator of children's cartoons, as well as interviews with dozens of psychologists and educators, Jones forcefully argues that violent video games, movies, music and comics provide a safe fantasy world within which children learn to become familiar with and control the frightening emotions of anger, violence and sexuality. He debunks studies linking violent media with violence in society and argues that children clearly understand the difference between pretend and reality."


Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three - "Arkansas Times investigative reporter Leveritt explores the 1993 West Memphis Three murder convictions, which have been the subject of two HBO documentaries. The book is arranged chronologically, from the crime through the trial, and dispassionately dissects the prosecution's case against three teens who were convicted of the grisly murders of three eight-year-old boys. Leveritt interviewed the principals, reviewed the police file and trial transcripts, and leads the reader to conclude from her exhaustive research (430 footnotes) that the case was botched, improperly based on a single confession from a retarded youth and the defendants' alleged ties to satanic rituals. Well written in descriptive language, the book is an indictment of a culture and legal system that failed to protect children as defendants or victims."

NOTE: This case is not directly associated with RPGs or LARP, but it is a classic case of Satanic Panic.

Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend - "Sociologist Victor began his involvement with satanic-cult phenomena by investigating a local panic centered in southwestern New York state. After an introductory section, his book begins with a description of this research, then proceeds with an excellent general review of recent fear about satanic cults in the U.S. He concludes that there is no evidence for the actual existence of organized satanic cults."

(These links go to - and if you purchase books from those links, a portion of the proceeds will go towards the site!)