More Dark Sun novels?

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I absolutely love novels for helping me get the atmosphere of any setting down pat - especially something like Athas, which is far and away the most unique setting I've ever run a campaign in. Even having lived in the middle of the Sonoran desert for the past 25 years, I'm struggling with making the world come alive. We play at a friend's house with young children (8-13) so props don't last long, and it's hard to convey a sinister Elven dialect when the littlest kid is squealing about his latest Halo accomplishment.

I've only so far been able to locate Under the Crimson Sun and City Under the Sand - though I'm not entirely sold on the Abyssal Plague arc. They help me get a general feel for how the world breathes, moves, and reacts to various things occurring on its surface. I've been unable to locate any other DS novels, and while I hear about the Prism Pentad, I've yet to be able to locate it at my friendly local bookstores, and when I look at online retailers, the price is far beyond what I'm willing to pay.

I see in the Product Listing another DS novel - another Abyssal Plague one, to be sure, but DS nonetheless - and will probably be picking it up. My question to y'all, is this- are there easy ways to either get my hands on other Dark Sun books, or are there other novel series that are similar to the general feel of Dark Sun? The better grasp I have of the environs, the easier it is for me to relay that to my players in the characters, foes, and storylines they encounter.

Thanks for reading, and in advance for any advice.
~Evan
Have you tried Amazon?  A quick search on "Prism Pentad" shows all the novels available for decent prices, both the original versions and the re-issues.
Definitely check out used book stores.  The Prism Pentad, the Chronicles of Athas, and The Tribe of One trilogy, in my opinion are mostly far superior to the current batch of Dark Sun novels.

ALso Robert Schwalb is putting out a Dark Sun novel, but it won't be out until December.
 
Huh. Last time I checked Amazon (admittedly, several months ago) I think I searched Dark Sun novels, and didn't find anything less than about $20. That's definitely a much more affordable-looking set of them.

Thanks for the other titles, Rad - I don't think I'd heard the other two before. I think the Schwalb novel is the one I saw in the product listing for upcoming, but I've liked his other stuff.

I'd seen some trailer in a post about something Barsoom - what's that all about?
It would be nice to see some new ones - and some good ones at that.  The ones I've read have been decent without being great.

Maybe I should have a go at cranking something out.
I'd seen some trailer in a post about something Barsoom - what's that all about?


It's based on a novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs called A Princess of Mars in his John Carter of Mars series. It's a good read, very cinematic pulp action. It was a huge influence on Dark Sun, which was also influenced by Frank Herbert's Dune series (which was influenced, at the very least the idea of a desert planet, by Burroughs...although Herbert was an ecologist who studied in deserts most of his life)
For the best Dark Sun experience, you should refer to the work of Lynn Abbey & Simon Hawke Wink

Abbey's Brazen Gambit and Rise & Fall of a Dragon King are cool and authentic works, with strong characters and relationships contributing to what feels like a real and tangible world Laughing Lots of history and politics in it too.

Hawke's Tribe of One trilogy, featuring a mythical elfling on a quest that spans the length of the Tablelands is also an enjoyable jaunt. Plus there is a follow-up book, the Broken Blade, to complete the saga.

The original 5 books of the Prism Pentad series are also good, though aimed at a more universal (juvenile) audience, but the authenticity and sheer importance of the monumental events it follows make it a worthwhile read  Cool 

I would be inclined to avoid The Darkness Before the Dawn, as I found it a tedius waste of time with a very mundane story and a lame duo of lead characters Embarassed

I was not too impressed overall with Jeff Mariotte's City Under the Sand, though it was all right Tongue Out

But I have to say I was utterly apalled by how bad Keith DeCandido's, Under the Crimson Sun, was. It was like it was written for an 8-year old, with vaguely described, 2-dimensional characters, and a barely tangible grasp of the mythos. There were spelling and grammatical errors here and there and it just dragged. I gave up after 128-pages and regret the loss of time wasted on it Yell

It has also convinced me to be wary of following future novels of the Dark Sun mythos, if this is the level of sophistication that Wizards of the Coast is aiming at with the writers they employ...
It has also convinced me to be wary of following future novels of the Dark Sun mythos, if this is the level of sophistication that Wizards of the Coast is aiming at with the writers they employ...



So far I am liking the new one that just came out, Death Mark. If you haven't read the review of it on Athas.org, check it out. The book is very faithful to the setting, considering who wrote it it better be.

I'm only half way through and I can definetely say its better than City Under the Sand and the second book in the Prism Pentad series(which I can not for the life of me get through).

Ant Farm
ya know, i have a theory about 'City Under the Sand'.

ive been a Dark Sun fanatic since its inception, and have recently been leading a DS revival in my flgs. thus, ive been perfecting my 'What is Dark Sun?' spiel to interested players. between observing them and reading message boards for years, reactions typically fall into just a few categories.

some players, when given a description of Athas, immediately want to set about fixing the world. or, if not fix, draw into high relief the differences of the world by deliberately contrasting them.

for examples:
"the world is dying" - plant trees of life everywhere!
"water is precious" - i want to refill the Sea of Silt with water!
"slavery is ubiquitous" - let's free every slave we come across!
"the gods are gone" - we want to find/revive/create the gods!
and the pertinent one, "metal is scarce" - let's find an uber stash of metal!

there is some psychology going on here, but i believe this is the type of person/player the author is. i can almost envision the book's sales pitch. however, regardless of my opinion of the novel (it's bad), i appreciate both the author for adding to the (imo) best D&D setting, and for WotC to continue to support it with printed products.


hmm. on topic: try to find a copy of "The Wanderer's Journal", originally included in the 2ndEd campaign box. it's a first person account of the environs/flora/fauna of Athas.
Bane of Gnomes. "An angel of snuggles is a bad match for evil gods." -Mike Mearls (Worlds&Monsters, p.72)