April 09, 2020, 02:22:51 PM

Author Topic: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions  (Read 33644 times)

Offline Puntificator

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #60 on: January 07, 2015, 07:13:21 AM »
For me. the best current writers of Swords and Sorcery are James Enge, Chris Willrich, Richard Parks, and Howard Andrew Jones.

James Enge has written a series of S&S stories featuring his protagonist Morlock Ambrosius, aka Morlock the Maker. Besides short stories, there are five novels (Blood of Ambrose; This Crooked Way [this actually includes several of his short stories as episodes]; The Wolf Age; Wrath-Bearing Tree; andA Guile of Dragons) and a sixth one coming in February (The Wide World's End).

Chris Willrich has been writing about his unusual and romantically involved pair, the poet Persimmon Gaunt and the cursed, non-aging thief Imago Bone. There are several short stories and a trilogy. Two of the trilogy's novels have been published—The Scroll of Years and The Silk Map—and the third, The Chart of Tomorrows, is scheduled for July, 2015.

Richard Parks has been writing what I would call historical Japanese S&S, starring his troubled nobleman, Yamada no Goji. So far there are two novels, Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter (which makes episodic use of several of his short stories) and Yamada Monogatari: To Break the Demon Gate, with more to come.

Howard Andrew Jones has been writing about the adventures of the swordsman Asim and his wily companion the scholar Dabar. There are two novels, The Desert of Souls and The Bones of the Old Ones. Most of their short stories can be found in The Waters of Eternity.

I will also mention Greg James' Khale the Wanderer series (two books so far: Under A Colder Sun and Lost Is The Night), which really capture the spirit of Karl Edward Wagner's Kane stories. The narratives are really good, but Greg self-publishes and the books are in terrible need of proofreading and editing. If a publisher like Saga picked them up and edited them properly, they'd be exceptional, and probably still are for those who don't care about purchasing fiction that has misspellings, bad grammar, poor punctuation, and so on.     

Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #61 on: January 10, 2015, 12:59:17 PM »
I made my way about halfway through The Sword & Sorcery Anthology, and I think it's an okay book. Not a great book, but much better than the other recent anthologies I've read.
I was kind of hoping to see a Best Of Sword & Sorcery, but it's more an overview of average Sword & Sorcery. Yes, all the big names are presents, but the stories that were picked are merely average and not good examples of how good they could write.

In a sense, it does live up to the pretentious title The Sword & Sorcery Anthology. But it's a collection that provides a good impression of what Sword & Sorcery generally is. Not what it can be when it is at it's best.
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Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #62 on: January 11, 2015, 11:21:00 PM »
Oh! Wow! Gasp!  :o

I think I just stumbled upon one of the sources that very strongly inspired Andrzej Sapkowskis Witcher series. Soldier of an Empire Unacquainted to Defeat by Glen Cook has a lot of the same plot elements as The Lesser Evil and The Edge of the World.
Anyone else read these three stories and seeing it as well? They are quite different stories, but individual elements seem strikingly similar.
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Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #63 on: January 27, 2015, 09:02:27 PM »
I mostly finished The Sword & Sorcery Anthology now and the experience can be summed up in this picture.
Spoiler for Hiden:


Why are Sword & Sorcery collections so unbelievably terrible? Isn't it supposed to be a genre about over the top adventure with monsters and evil sorcerers? Instead we get pretentious bumbling about angst and grief, with no swords and barely any sorcerers in sight. Stop abusing the name Sword & Sorcery as a genric title for disconnected snippets of medievalesque outbursts of micro-fiction!
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

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Online JMack

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #64 on: February 12, 2015, 02:51:16 AM »
I just read the Sword and Sorcery bingo section of the main F-F page and I think Conan would score about a 2.  Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser wouldn't be up there very far either.  Elric?  Not even close. 

I'm not sure which S&S books are meant in that bingo genre game.  None I ever read.  And the books I've read that resemble the criteria for S&S don't strkie me as S&S.
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Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #65 on: February 12, 2015, 06:16:02 AM »
It was probably assumed Sword & Sorcery means the same thing as Fantasy. Happens from time to time.

Like Superhero comics being classified as science fiction.
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Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #66 on: April 06, 2015, 07:36:09 PM »
I'm almost through Karl Wagners Death Angels Shadow, and it's really quite good. Quite slow and even more grim and broody, but I really like reading it. The "craftsmanship" of the writing is nothing special, but the thoughts expressed in the stories are very interesting and also very well handled. I'd say Wagner was a man of simple words, but deep thoughts.
What surprises and fascinates me the most is that the Kane stories deal with quite complex situations of morality, but Wagner never gets to anything near being preachy. He just tells the things as they happen and what the characters are thinking without taking any sides or making any judgements about it. And he doesn't even imply which characters the readers should be rooting for. When you read Howard, Conan is doing plenty of very questionable things, but Howard clearly thinks that Conan is totally cool and that the readers should obviously also think it's cool and cheer for it. I already got Bloodstone to read later.
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Online JMack

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #67 on: April 06, 2015, 07:58:31 PM »
I'm almost through Karl Wagners Death Angels Shadow, and it's really quite good. Quite slow and even more grim and broody, but I really like reading it. The "craftsmanship" of the writing is nothing special, but the thoughts expressed in the stories are very interesting and also very well handled. I'd say Wagner was a man of simple words, but deep thoughts.
What surprises and fascinates me the most is that the Kane stories deal with quite complex situations of morality, but Wagner never gets to anything near being preachy. He just tells the things as they happen and what the characters are thinking without taking any sides or making any judgements about it. And he doesn't even imply which characters the readers should be rooting for. When you read Howard, Conan is doing plenty of very questionable things, but Howard clearly thinks that Conan is totally cool and that the readers should obviously also think it's cool and cheer for it. I already got Bloodstone to read later.
Something to add to my TBR.
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 JamesLatimer

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #68 on: April 07, 2015, 05:15:29 PM »
Interesting to see this exploration of S&S evolve.  Still can't believe there's no love for Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, but perhaps because the fighting isn't as important as the adventure.  I have read some of the other short stories that the OP liked (Conan, William King's Cormack [have you tried his Gotrek & Felix Warhammer books?], Glen Cook's "Empire Unacquainted with Defeat" [Black Company is not in this sub-genre], the first Witcher set), and enjoyed them...but not as much as Leiber or Moorcock.  And I can't really think of anything else off the top of my head, but, as others mention, Jen Williams and Sam Sykes might be good places to look.

Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #69 on: April 07, 2015, 06:22:14 PM »
My relationship to Leibers books is a complicated one. I really wouldn't call them good, but I do often come back to them.

I think reading Leiber is like watching Schwarzenegger.  ;D

It is stupid, with one-dimensional characters, and terrible dialogues. But it's really fun. And I think you can really feel how fun seems to be the most important thing for Leiber in his stories. Fafhrd and Mouser are both stupid idiots, but they have the gigantic mirth of Conan, and even surpass him. Many of the other writers I've read seem to have almost entirely forgotten that aspect and are all doom and gloom. Moorcock does it and King, and as much as I love Kane, Wagner too. They all seem to take themselves and their stories way too seriously and try to be highbrow art, forgetting about the fun in the process. Leiber also tries to be funny, which doesn't really appeal to me so much, but like Howard there is some real joy in his stories which many others just don't have. The only other writer I can think of whose stories are fun is Sapkowski.

And in that aspect I think Leiber stories are like Schwarzenegger movies. They acknowledge that they are silly and are content with it, and from that base give it all they have. And it's fun!
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #70 on: April 08, 2015, 01:17:21 AM »
We do need to give Leiber some credit, though, he not only wrote sword and sorcery, he actually coined the term. It was in response to a letter that Michael Moorcock wrote to a fanzine demanding that Howard's brand of fiction be given some sort of name. I can see a fair bit of sword and sorcery influence in Jen Williams' The Copper Promise, too. Although it plays around with a number of tropes and subgenres, so may not be to the OP's taste.

Offline sennydreadful

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #71 on: April 08, 2015, 10:23:15 AM »
We do need to give Leiber some credit, though, he not only wrote sword and sorcery, he actually coined the term. It was in response to a letter that Michael Moorcock wrote to a fanzine demanding that Howard's brand of fiction be given some sort of name. I can see a fair bit of sword and sorcery influence in Jen Williams' The Copper Promise, too. Although it plays around with a number of tropes and subgenres, so may not be to the OP's taste.

TCP is, in many ways, a bit of a love letter to Leiber, even if it deliberately messes around with tropes a lot. The Gray Mouser/The Copper Cat, etc  :D
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Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #72 on: April 08, 2015, 12:36:07 PM »
I read Swords and Devilty (which I thought was quite bad), Swords Against Darkness (which was much better), and halfway through Swords in the Mist, which was also quite okay I think.
Would you recommend picking up another one, or is this as good as it gets?
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #73 on: April 09, 2015, 12:42:39 AM »
We do need to give Leiber some credit, though, he not only wrote sword and sorcery, he actually coined the term. It was in response to a letter that Michael Moorcock wrote to a fanzine demanding that Howard's brand of fiction be given some sort of name. I can see a fair bit of sword and sorcery influence in Jen Williams' The Copper Promise, too. Although it plays around with a number of tropes and subgenres, so may not be to the OP's taste.

TCP is, in many ways, a bit of a love letter to Leiber, even if it deliberately messes around with tropes a lot. The Gray Mouser/The Copper Cat, etc  :D
I can definitely see that, Jen, and it's a not a bad thing at all. I'm still reading it, but really thoroughly enjoying it. The Lies of Locke Lamora is also heavily influenced by Leiber.

Offline sennydreadful

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #74 on: April 09, 2015, 09:43:32 AM »
We do need to give Leiber some credit, though, he not only wrote sword and sorcery, he actually coined the term. It was in response to a letter that Michael Moorcock wrote to a fanzine demanding that Howard's brand of fiction be given some sort of name. I can see a fair bit of sword and sorcery influence in Jen Williams' The Copper Promise, too. Although it plays around with a number of tropes and subgenres, so may not be to the OP's taste.

TCP is, in many ways, a bit of a love letter to Leiber, even if it deliberately messes around with tropes a lot. The Gray Mouser/The Copper Cat, etc  :D
I can definitely see that, Jen, and it's a not a bad thing at all. I'm still reading it, but really thoroughly enjoying it. The Lies of Locke Lamora is also heavily influenced by Leiber.

I love that book!  :D I'm currently reading The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes (one of the main writers on the video game Dragon Age) and it's a sort of fantasy heist with a strong Lamora feel - but with lots more magic!
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