Good rpg-inspired fiction. Why hasn't there been any?
Oh, there has been entertaining fluff. Lots of entertaining fluff: what are R. A. Salvatore or Weiss & Hickman if they aren't amusing nonsense? (I think that even at the age of about 13, when I was first reading the Dragonlance Chronicles, I knew they were nothing better than amusing nonsense. I'd finished The Lord of the Rings about three times by then, and like to think I got the difference between the two.) But why has there never risen up out of the ether anything that is really worth reading? Something more than a mindless way to pass the time? The wikipedia entry I just linked to says that there have been 190 Dragonlance novels - a figure that boggles the mind from every direction - but I'll wager virtually none of them have been more than potboilers.
There is China Mieville, who I've talked about at length before. His books don't directly have anything to do with rpgs, but he's at least open about the fact that he was a gamer and his experiences impacted on his fiction. He's an exception, though. By and large, there exists a strange, and wide, gulf between "proper" fantasy/sci-fi/horror fiction and fiction related to games (and also films and TV series).
I wonder why this is. Is it just a case that the best writers are worried they'll be constrained to the rpg ghetto? Possibly. I suppose if I was a writer brimming with confidence in my abilities I'd rather be known as a good writer than a good D&D (or whatever) writer. It's likely also a problem with the publishers, who are probably more willing to stick with tried and tested methods (the Dragonlance and Drizzt cottage industries being a case in point) than experiment with something new - which is what good writers usually do.
Still. It's unusual that while there is so much cross-fertilization between fiction and rpgs, that cross-fertilization hasn't resulted in anything approaching a Great Book as I would understand it. Or even a properly Good Book. Is it maybe the case that us gaming types invest all of our creative energies in the hobby itself, leaving nothing to spare elsewhere?