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Author Topic: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions  (Read 34165 times)

Offline DrNefario

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #45 on: December 08, 2014, 02:13:02 PM »
Chocolate ice cream? Are you mad?  ;)

Seriously, until fairly recently, without having thought much about it, I would have said Sword & Sorcery was just another name for Fantasy. I guess I wouldn't even have drawn what seems to be a common distinction now between Heroic and Epic. Or between High and Low, which I don't even really understand. I've only been reading for 30-odd years. At what point do I become an expert? :)

If I really think about it, I can see that there is a kind of useful distinction between Heroic and Epic, in terms of the kinds of stories they tell. But isn't Sword and Sorcery mostly the same as Heroic Fantasy? Is sword and sorcery just short-form fantasy?

Is it a definition that is worth making?

I've read pretty happily from every branch of the field, without really caring to divide it into boxes. Sure, sometimes the old farmboy-made-good fighting ultimate evil seems like a long haul, and I want something that hits the ground running, but surely the individual blurb is more useful than a finely-grained subgenre distinction at that point?

Offline DDRRead

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #46 on: December 09, 2014, 12:29:26 PM »
I've posted this before, but it's worth posting again, and is pertinent to this discussion. It's a link to the archives of Flashing Swords . . .

FS Archive

Some great S&S fiction. The original editor wanted to try and recapture the spirit of the pulp era S&S but in a modern format (although this was pre e-reader).

I think one of the problems for short form pulp is that the audience it served in the 30's-50's gets its fill of story from TV, and someone who in the 30's would have been selling to the pulps is more likely to look to TV if he wants a steady(ish) writing job.

Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #47 on: December 09, 2014, 01:10:03 PM »
I think ereaders really could make a huge impact on the genre. Now you can sell single stories for 50 cents each, and don't have to worry about filling a whole book or relying on magazines or anthologies, which really don't sell well either.
At the same time, it's a format that Sword & Sorcery has always been working with, that writers are used to and it is relatively well understood how to make the most of it effectively. If digital short stories become a market niche, S&S would be at a major advantage over other genres.
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

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Offline JMack

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #48 on: December 09, 2014, 03:58:43 PM »
As I schedule out what I want to work on, I'm going to add a S&S short story to the list.  I've been working on an idea, but it won't fit all Yora's criteria.  More like the Western trope of the tired gunslinger who still has to save the day.  Which in itself is a bit more like Elric the depressive than Conan the BARBARIAN!
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #49 on: December 09, 2014, 11:05:37 PM »
As I schedule out what I want to work on, I'm going to add a S&S short story to the list.  I've been working on an idea, but it won't fit all Yora's criteria.  More like the Western trope of the tired gunslinger who still has to save the day.  Which in itself is a bit more like Elric the depressive than Conan the BARBARIAN!
Your comments about Elric and Conan made me think of Cerebus the Aardvark. It's a graphic novel that started as parody of Conan and became something very different by the end of it's 300 issues. The author Dave Sim also had an Elric character in it, he was called Elrod the Albino and he was a boasting incompetent who for some reason known only to the author himself spoke like Foghorn Leghorn.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline DDRRead

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #50 on: December 12, 2014, 10:30:56 AM »
I think ereaders really could make a huge impact on the genre. Now you can sell single stories for 50 cents each, and don't have to worry about filling a whole book or relying on magazines or anthologies, which really don't sell well either.
At the same time, it's a format that Sword & Sorcery has always been working with, that writers are used to and it is relatively well understood how to make the most of it effectively. If digital short stories become a market niche, S&S would be at a major advantage over other genres.

I hoped that ereaders would revitalise the S&S short story market. Not sure about the experiences of other writers, but my five stories which are all between 7-13k haven't done that well. A few sales in all the European & North American amazon markets, some good reviews (a lot of which are along the lines of 'I'd love a novel about these characters) but very few sales and plenty of downloads when they're available free. Then again I don't really market or promote so there is that, but it seems to me that the amazon ereader fantasy market favours novel length fiction,  over short stories from self-pubbed writers.

Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #51 on: December 12, 2014, 10:51:04 AM »
I think it's too early to say how things will actually develop in the long term. Things like kindles are too limited in their uses, ipads and android tablets are still too expensive, and smartphones are too small. I've been wanting a tablet for 15 years when they were on Star Trek, and only bought one this year because the prices always kept me away. I personally know only two other people who also have something comparable.
I think it will probably still be another 10 years or so until they are common enough to really tell how well the selling of short fiction will work.
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Offline JMack

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #52 on: December 12, 2014, 06:01:35 PM »
Tried to start a "true" S&S story last night.  It was "heroic fantasy" within a few words.  I think there is ra eleasing of societal mind sets necessary in this.  Will be trying again with the same character, but a different approach.  There's a part of me that just wants to try my character dropped into a Conan plot to see what it takes to do this.

So, Yora, are you willing to apply the Yora S&S test to something in a few days/weeks?
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #53 on: December 12, 2014, 06:13:02 PM »
How do you mean that?
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Offline JMack

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #54 on: December 12, 2014, 09:53:46 PM »
In fun, jest and friendship.  Simply that you want exciting S&S that carries the passion we find in Howard.  It would be great to be able to write that, wouldn't it?  So, I'm going to take a shot at it and see what you and others think.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #55 on: December 12, 2014, 11:53:39 PM »
I got a few hundred words for the start of a story down, but since I only wrote perhaps two or three thousand words of fiction and that was over ten years ago, I am not having very high aspirations with this one right now.   ;D
Big barbarian smash monster, har! Also, that barbarian happens to be a lizardman.

Well, just have this as a first sample:
Spoiler for Hiden:
On a hill covered by trees deep in the jungles of the south stood Kalak. Mightiest of the lizardmen of the Roklag tribe and slayer of ferocious beasts and evil sorcerers. With a head and tail like a crocodile and arms like a gorilla, he towered over every warrior of both humans and elves and few even of his own kind could reach the hight of his stature. Around his barrel like chest he wore a breast plate made from scales carved from the bones of whales and laced together with wooden fibres of palm trees, and around his waist wrapped a sturdy skirt of crocodile hide. On a belt made from the skin of a python hung a tarnished bronze machete, and in his hand rested his huge axe that could rival a halberd in size. Its bronze blade, almost two handspans in length, reached beyond the end of the wooden handle and was sharpened on both sides like the blade of a spear, while the even longer lower tip formed a long hook that had pulled more than one heavily armored rider from his mount.

Dressed for battle like this, Kalak watched out from the hill over the jungles below him. For almost a month there had been rumors among the lizardmen clans about a terrible beast roaming these forests, as large as an elephant and more demon than animal. During the last three days of his hunt he had come across two villages that had been entirely destroyed, their bamboo huts broken into piles of splinters and the smashed bodies of the inhabitants covering the jungle floor. Only a few small fires had broken out and broken pots and baskets full of fruit and grain were strewn among the rubble, which had convinced Kalak that this was the work of a beast and not hostile tribesmen. One day ago he had come upon a group of about a half dozen elves, whose broken bodies had been ripped limb from limb. No beast of the jungles would be capable of such destruction and slaughter. Perhaps a dragon would be able to match the amount of devastation, but there had been no trees and grass scortched by fire.
Very basic, but I think for practice it's not too bad. Better than The Eye of Argon, and I bet I can do better dialogs than Star Wars.  ;)

I also finally got around to finish reading The Last Wish and write a review. I really like that one and think it's a great example of what modern Sword & Sorcery could be. Much more than Swords & Dark Magic, which calls itself "the New Sword & Sorcery".
« Last Edit: December 13, 2014, 05:57:40 PM by Yora »
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

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Offline DDRRead

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #56 on: December 13, 2014, 01:13:20 PM »
I've made my short stories free for next week (14th - 18th), so if anyone wants to check it out gratis my Sword & Sorcery story is called Born of Evil. It's a straight up traditional monster story and is about 11k words long.

Offline JMack

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #57 on: December 14, 2014, 09:17:54 PM »
Re-reading Conan stories in order of publication.  What do I find?

Quote
then came Yara, versed in dark knowledge handed down through the days of barbarism, since before Atlantis sank.

Yora... Yara?   ;)
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
www.starlit-lands.com

Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #58 on: December 14, 2014, 09:21:19 PM »
No, pure coincidence. Yesterday I was playing the old Thief game and came upon a monastery of St. Yora.  :o
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #59 on: January 06, 2015, 05:56:53 PM »
Has anyone read Wagner's Kane stories? What info I've found sounds quite interesting, but also rather odd.
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor