I watched Heat on TV last night, because it was on, and because even though I could almost quote the script word for word because I've seen it that many times, the central gun battle is still worth it. It struck me while watching it that, actually, it is very much the epitome of what I imagine a Cyberpunk 2020 game to be like (except without the internet and cyberpsychos, obviously); Bladerunner may be a good film but game I run are never like that - they match the grimy technoir of Heat much more.
That made me think of Blood Meridian, which I've always thought of as being, in its description of the Glanton Gang, the closest representation in fiction of what a typical group of D&D adventurers is actually like - compulsively violent, amoral, socially untied, and ultimately aimless - and also, in its almost random collection of incidents, the closest representation in fiction to how a wilderness/hexcrawl D&D adventure shakes out in practice. This despite the fact that it is a Western; there is no fantasy book that captures the feel of D&D like Blood Meridian.
That then made me think of James Clavell's masterpiece Noble House, the book which more than any other represents the Platonic form of the "web of human relationships" style game in my mind: everybody knows everybody, everybody has an agenda, everybody is plotting. The story is the people. If you could plan the perfect Amber Diceless game, it would be something like that.
And that made me think of Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and The Corner, which say so much to me about what an urban dark fantasy game should be like despite being works of real-world documentary reportage.
And that made me think that much of the books I have read and films I have seen which have influenced my gaming preferences are often nothing to do with the fantasy genre. In fact, if I was going to provide a list of fantasy books which had influenced my gaming, I'd be much more likely to put various Fighting Fantasy books up there rather than anything actually literary in nature. I'm not sure what that says about me, but it is an interesting thought: was Gygax's Appendix N too restrictive? Should he have roamed elsewhere for works to include?