A note on method

The underlying method I’m using here is a cultural anthropological approach that I originally used in my MA Thesis back in 2008-10. The principal is the same: construct a historiography of the key titles and works, wending a way backward through the layers of popular culture that preceded RT’s publication. Once this overarching map is laid out, move forward through the different media streams, tracing the influence and connections between them. Similar to a Social Network Analysis, here we chart the influences chronologically, as they’re drawn into the collective sphere that will become W40K in time.

A number of characteristics are relevant to keep in mind when reviewing any of the media ‘artifacts’ (and I’ll use artifact here, as is generally understood in the field, for any discrete piece of media that gets looked at). These characteristics include:

  • Popularity
  • Reach/Sales
  • Critical Appeal – low reach, high impact titles
  • Range – UK titles over US ones, frex
  • Aesthetic

Also, the same title may be counted twice depending on how it is represented in different forms of media. Frex, Starship Troopers could show up twice, once for the book and once for the film, as they are very different properties, with different aesthetics and interpretations, but both will have had an influence. Same for Dune, Judge Dredd in all its incarnations, etc.

Appendix W /2

The memetic influences that went into the development of Warhammer 40,000 extend across multiple media, in the decades leading up to Rogue Trader’s publication in 1987. Broadly speaking, those sources of influence include:

  • Science Fiction
    • MilSciFi
    • “Dying Earth”
    • Dune
  • Movies & TV
    • Star Wars
    • Blake’s Seven
    • Space: 1999
    • Starlost
  • Music
    • NWOBHM
  • Comics
    • 2000AD
    • Judge Dredd
    • Heavy Metal
    • Alien Legion
  • Tabletop Games
    • Roleplaying
      • D&D
      • Judge Dredd
      • Stormbringer
    • Wargaming
      • Laserburn

We’ll get into each in turn over the coming weeks…

Appendix ‘W’

“Appendix N” is a reference to list of books that were influential on the development of D&D, and included in a section in the 1st edition Dungeon Master’s Guide for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. A literal section in the book.

Since then, it’s become shorthand for the “influential works” in gaming, and other works, like Goodman Games’ Dungeon Crawl Classics, has also included there list.

But not all games have this. One notable game – Warhammer 40,000 – lacks an explicit ‘Appendix N’, but there is an implicit one, one that exists in the cultural sand that of the time. Warhammer 40K wears it’s influences on it’s ceramite shoulderpads, and it only takes a little work to dig them out of the cultural strata of the time.

So this work, this “Appendix W”, is the documentation of the influences on the development of Warhammer 40K. A work of cultural anthropology that traces backs the prehistory of 40K through the cultural artifacts and media sources that influenced it’s backstory.

I’ll start with some posts made on TikTok about this back in January & February of 2021, and then finish off the list. If possible, we’ll see about a podcast and/or youtube channel about this too. But to start off with, given the impending film release, there’s one title that absolutely needs to be included: Dune.

Bookshelf (so far)

Had some requests for a top 25 favorite books. Started making it, but it was hard to keep on track; things naturally went off the rails. Here’s the list so far:

  • Surface Detail, Iain M. Banks, 2010
  • Virtual Realities, SR Sourcebook, 1991
  • How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass, Chris DiCarlo
  • Daemon, Daniel Suarez
  • Excession, Iain M. Banks
  • Code, Charles Petzold
  • Street Samurai Catalog, SR Sourcebook, 1989
  • Technology Matters, David E Nye, 1996
  • At Home in the Universe, Stuart Kaufmann
  • How We Became Posthuman, N. Katherine Hayles
  • The Landscape of History, JL Gaddis
  • Dependency Road, Dallas W. Smythe, 1981

There’s others I’ve referenced, but not in the context of the “bookshelf”. I”ll post them under the line, for reference purposes, and will make updates as necessary.

  • House of Chains, Erickson
  • Deadhouse Gates, Erickson
  • …and many more


Needed to find a place to collect my various social media posts, threads, and projects. TikTok’s built in features for curation aren’t quite enough, and there’s a need to bring them all together.

There’s a few copyright-related reasons too. TikTok is a little fast and loose, and I’m noticing a need to get the intentional content locked down before it’s mentioned there. So this will be the initial site for much of the media related content.

Finally, this will be the digital archive and repo for a lot of the posts and publications that I can bring together, and point to as it’s created and published on new platforms.

Baby steps, and a long time coming, but it’s starting to come together.

Dr. Implausible, Aug 24, 2021