December 15, 2019, 10:05:15 PM

Author Topic: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions  (Read 32756 times)

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #135 on: April 25, 2017, 08:24:07 PM »
Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine #1) by Matthew Woodring Stover

Reading it now, its quite a strange one but to me its a Grimdark s&s book with a character called Caine ,I wonder if the author was inspired by Solomon Kane.

To be honest I've not got into the story that much as I'm  not a big fan of S&S of what I've read so far (still time through as I'm still pretty much at the beginning)

I defiantly think S&S fans should check it out through.
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

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Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #136 on: September 09, 2017, 11:16:18 AM »
I've been reading about half of Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique stories these last weeks and I have to say the experience left me rather underwhelmed. I really quite like his Hyperborea stories and expected something similar, but they are actually quite different.

There are a couple of almost throw-away lines that imply that Zothique is the Earth in it's last era before the death of the Sun, which of course has reverted back to medieval societies with lots of magic and monsters. For some reason this concept used to be pretty common in fantasy back in the day. One explanation I've heard is that using the far future (or an Earth man landing on another planet) allowed the writers to claim their work is science fiction when publishers didn't want to hire fantasy writers and once they had their first installment published they would simply continue the series as straightforward fantasy.
But in this case I fail to see anything that would make this world stand out as a dying planet. It all just looks very much like a generic Arabian desert setting to me with all the standard elements.

I don't remember the same thing from Hyperborea, but with Zothique there is not a single paragraph in all the stories that doesn't include a word I have never heard of before. Most of the time you can kind of guess its meaning from the context or you recognize a closely related word that has some degree of common use, but even for stories from the 30s I think Smith is really overdoing it a lot with the antiquated (or possibly made up) words.

But that's all just surface stuff that doesn't really harm the stories in any way. The problem I am having with them is the structure and plot. Because there is no plot. And no characterization. Pretty much every story consists of a blank slate character stumbling upon a supernatural sight and simply watches on as a passive observer, never actually doing or saying anything relevant that would count as taking an action. And then everyone is dead. And I mean every story. I've only read half of them, but among them was not a single exception.
The strange sights are really very evocative which makes it not actually a chore to read through the stories. But nothing happens. Nobody does anything. In his later years Smith stopped writing stories and focused entirely on poetry. When you read Zothique stories it's easy to see that this is very much in line with his talents.

I've heard a lot of praise about Empire of the Necromancers or The Charnel God, but they really are not doing anything for me.
Yet somehow I can't actually say that the stories are bad. I was flipping through the pages at a good pace and never felt actually bored. But nothing ever happens and there are no characters with even a smidge of personality, and by now I don't expect this to change later on if I keep reading. I much rather read something else. Like rereading Hyperborea stories for example.
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #137 on: October 19, 2017, 08:01:00 AM »
I’ve just tried to read Malus Darkblade from the warhammer universe it’s too dark for me and the character is completely evil fighting other evil guys. It’s totally over the top and I found the writing weak. I’ve got no idea why this is so popular, apparently this character is the second biggest seller in the warhammer universe. I won’t be reading any more warhammer stuff.

The only person who I know who could possibly like this dark grimdark sword and sorcery is @Lanko as he liked beyond redemption

Malus is like an anti drizzt from forgotten realms
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Online Alex Hormann

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #138 on: October 19, 2017, 11:23:58 AM »
I’ve just tried to read Malus Darkblade from the warhammer universe it’s too dark for me and the character is completely evil fighting other evil guys. It’s totally over the top and I found the writing weak. I’ve got no idea why this is so popular, apparently this character is the second biggest seller in the warhammer universe. I won’t be reading any more warhammer stuff.

The only person who I know who could possibly like this dark grimdark sword and sorcery is @Lanko as he liked beyond redemption

Malus is like an anti drizzt from forgotten realms

Malus Darkblade was my introduction to Warhammer, and I loved it enough to keep reading the franchise for five years. I like the over-the-topness of it. Yes it's dark, but the OTT violence and gallows humour stops it from being oppressive. At least it did for me.
I think part of the issue with the writing is that it's adapted from a comic strip, and they've tried to keep the same punchiness, which doesn't always work in its favour.
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Offline Lanko

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #139 on: October 19, 2017, 03:45:45 PM »
I’ve just tried to read Malus Darkblade from the warhammer universe it’s too dark for me and the character is completely evil fighting other evil guys. It’s totally over the top and I found the writing weak. I’ve got no idea why this is so popular, apparently this character is the second biggest seller in the warhammer universe. I won’t be reading any more warhammer stuff.

The only person who I know who could possibly like this dark grimdark sword and sorcery is @Lanko as he liked beyond redemption

Malus is like an anti drizzt from forgotten realms

I found Beyond Redemption is nowhere as dark, bleak or depressing as Prince of Thorns, Fifth Season or Farseer and people love them...
I saw one or two people giving it up and not seeing the rest of the story because of a secondary character who never appears again mentions she uses mirror shards for her pleasure at some point (which is not even described in any way) and that was somehow too much grimdark for them, but a scene in another book that meticulously and graphically shows a boy breaking three legs of a dog with a hammer then setting it on fire is perfectly fine for a 5* star from the same people.

¯\_(?)_/¯

Anyway, did you try reading Karl Edward Wagner's Kane? He's like an anti-hero Conan, I think it might be more your style.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 03:48:25 PM by Lanko »
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #140 on: October 19, 2017, 04:17:15 PM »
I don’t think S&S is for me, even the light hearted ones.
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate