April 24, 2017, 04:21:35 AM

Author Topic: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions  (Read 23271 times)

Offline Elfy

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2014, 11:45:52 PM »
If you want lots of sword play I'll second Douglas Hulick's Among Thieves for that. One of the author's hobbies is fencing, only he uses the old style swords, not the ones used in competition these days, and he's put that knowledge to good use when describing the fight scenes in the book.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2014, 05:21:27 PM »
Would Sam Sykes  Tome of the Undergates fit?

From Goodreads

Lenk can barely keep control of his mismatched adventurer band at the best of times (Gariath the dragon man sees humans as little more than prey, Kataria the Shict despises most humans, and the humans in the band are little better). When they're not insulting each other's religions they're arguing about pay and conditions. So when the ship they are travelling on is attacked by pirates things don't go very well.

They go a whole lot worse when an invincible demon joins the fray. The demon steals the Tome of the Undergates - a manuscript that contains all you need to open the undergates. And whichever god you believe in you don't want the undergates open. On the other side are countless more invincible demons, the manifestation of all the evil of the gods, and they want out.

Full of razor-sharp wit, characters who leap off the page (and into trouble) and plunging the reader into a vivid world of adventure this is a fantasy that kicks off a series that could dominate the second decade of the century
« Last Edit: September 30, 2014, 05:23:45 PM by Eclipse »
I'm Saloninus, by the way. And I tell lies, from time to time. Which goes to prove the old rule; never entirely trust a man who talks about himself in the third person.

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Offline DDRRead

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2014, 12:53:55 PM »
Can anyone recommend me any books that have a good amount of fancy action scenes? Something with lots of swordplay, brawling, and bruises? I am trying to get some better understanding on how writers make action work in their stories.

Try David Gemmell he wrote Heroic fantasy/Sword & Sorcery with an emphasis on action. Although he writes historical fiction rather than fantasy, Bernard Cornwall writes great action scenes too and good 'warrior' characters. Heroes by Joe Abercrombie tells the story of a three day battle from the pov of various characters on both sides, and both the pacing and action are great (as is his writing in general). In fact all of Joe Abercrombie's books have great fight scenes (especially when Logan Ninefingers is involved). Finally although it's very much standard chosen one/quest hero stuff rather than swords and sorcery Jim Butcher writes great action scenes in his Codex Alera series, and a couple of them (books in the series) are an absolute masterclass on how to build to a dramatic, action packed, climatic ending.

Offline Elfy

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2014, 01:12:15 AM »
I don't know that I'd put Heroes in the S&S genre (it does have cannons in it after all), but it's a damned good book. I still think it's the best Abercrombie I've read.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline DDRRead

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2014, 01:21:42 PM »
I don't know that I'd put Heroes in the S&S genre (it does have cannons in it after all), but it's a damned good book. I still think it's the best Abercrombie I've read.

Oh, yeah my recommendations go off the S&S safari after Gemmell, but they're very good examples to look at if you want to check some well written action scenes.

Heroes is prolly my fave, but Best Served Cold is a close second. Cant' wait to see what he does after the YA viking trilogy (which is also on my to-read list).

Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2014, 04:01:47 PM »
Something that might only be borderline Sword & Sorcery but has all the things I love about the genre and I can very much recommend is the webcomic Inverloch. The characters try very much to avoid violence whenever possible and the world looks mostly way too clean and pretty, but theres quite a lot of unpleasantness under the surface and a good bunch of skeletons in several closets. And I think it has one of the best mystery and conspiracy plots I've ever seen, precisely because it's not about a giant army of evil or demons from hell that leave behind a sea of corpses and nobody is really interested in things devolving to blind bloodshed.
You still get proactive characters with no place in normal society who are fighting against the wrongs done to them and their loved ones, in a plot that revolves around dark magic and scruplous wizards. With a slightly different art style, it could easily pass as Sword & Sorcery in most contexts, and I think it's a really great example of how you can make fantasy stories beyond the stereotypical hero with might thews.
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2014, 12:11:08 AM »
Terry Pratchett does comic sword and sorcery at times in his Discworld series, generally featuring his grizzled old warrior Cohen the Barbarian.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2014, 02:27:55 PM »
Oh, yeah my recommendations go off the S&S safari after Gemmell, but they're very good examples to look at if you want to check some well written action scenes.
I am about halfway through Legend and it's really quite fun to read. Even though I just reached the first big action scene after two vert brief swordfights. The 30 just made it to the fortress, really excited to see what they will unleash when things are going to get really hot.

I am toying around with a couple of ideas for Sword & Sorcery stories, but the big obstacle I am struggling with is character motivation. Almost all the stories that come to my mind are motivated by pride and enjoying the carnage. Which I think are really weak motivations. Going on an adventure because it's cool doesn't seem like a good reason why a sane person would throw himself at swords and monsters on a regular basis.
The one good example I can think of for having good reasons is Geralt in the two Witcher games. The first time he is hunting a sorcerer who stole alchemical secrets from the Witchers, and they see it as their responsibility to prevent him doing great evil with this dangerous knowledge. In the second, he has to help with the hunt for an assassin, since he is regarded as the prime suspect and later that assassin kidnaps his friend. He does not really care about the conspiracy to kill the local kings, but he has to save his friends and himself who got caught up in it.
Do you know any other cases where the protagonist is not after gold and glory, or some kind of destiny?
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2014, 12:46:35 AM »
I thought of another series that had a very S&S feel to them yesterday. If you can track down the Thieves World shared world anthologies edited by Robert Asprin. They came out mostly in the early to mid '80s', although there was a revival in the early 2000's, which spawned two more books.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2014, 09:24:48 PM »
I just finished Legend. Nice book, but not at all what I expected. Instead of a story of action and adventure, it's a book about losing and dying. Quite unique, I think. Unlike anything else I've read before.
But not sure if I would like more than one book like that in a row.
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Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2014, 10:40:21 PM »
I've started Andrzej Sapkowskis The Last Wish a week ago and finished about half the stories in it, and so far I find it remarkably good. I like the character Geralt from the videogames, but that wasn't any indication for the actual style and quality of the original books. But I am very positively surprised by it.
I don't know how close the English translation is to the original text, but the type of storytelling really reminds me a lot of Robert Howard, who I consider the grand master of the genre. What I noticed the most is how Sapkowski manages to give so much personalty and characterization to many of the characters almost entirely with just dialog. It's not only what the characters say, but how they say it, that tells so much about their individual personalty. Everyone has a potty mouth and they are very blunt about what they think without sticking to etiquete, which allows to learn quite a lot about them as people.

In all the three stories I read, there is a monster. But in each case, just sticking a sword through it would only end the current crisis, but not actually solve the original problem. Geralt is a badass who could defeat almost everyone in a fight, and he is technically a mercenary who is in the whole monster hunting business for the money. But the stories are also all about consequences that result from poor descisions, passion, and violence, and Geralt is quite interested in actually fixing things instead of just killing the most troublesome party in the current affair.

Good characters, good stories, and well written. This is exactly the kind of fantasy I am looking for.
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Offline Druss

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2014, 01:02:56 PM »
Would the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind fall into this category or are they considered epic fantasy?

Loads of sorcery and swords, evil wizards, dragons, mythical creatures, epic battles. i mean there's 14 books in the series and between them cover almost every fantasy trope at some point so they must hit the 'Swords & Sorcery' mark occasionally.

Offline CameronJohnston

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2014, 02:20:44 PM »
Would the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind fall into this category or are they considered epic fantasy?

Loads of sorcery and swords, evil wizards, dragons, mythical creatures, epic battles. i mean there's 14 books in the series and between them cover almost every fantasy trope at some point so they must hit the 'Swords & Sorcery' mark occasionally.

The Sword of Truth series is most definitely world-at-stake, country-spanning, morally good vs evil(ish) traditional Epic Fantasy. I would say that something like The Copper Promise embodies the Sword & Sorcery vibe more, even though that also has a high-stakes plot.

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Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2014, 03:07:53 PM »
I think high stakes are not necessarily something that is conflicing with the style of the genre. The difference would be that the protagonist would have personally something to lose and join in the fight to safe a specific person or small group of people, rather than the much more abstract concepts of "the country" or "the people".
Conan is removing several tyrants from power, but generally not out of compassion, but because he has a personal score to settle, or as a personal favor to someone he cares for,
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Offline Yora

Re: Sword & Sorcery - Recommendations and Opinions
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2014, 08:39:45 PM »
Today I made a word count of all the Conan stories written by Robert Howard, and noticed something quite interesting. The combined word count of all the stories is under 340,000 words, which is about the length of a single book in the Wheel of Time and Song of Ice and Fire series. Or two thirds of The Lord of the Rings.
While Howard wrote a lot more than just Conan, I think it's quite interesting that this popular character with his many adventure only got the equivalent of a single novel, and not a particularly huge one either.

I would tend to say that it feels like there is more than just that, which probably comes from the fact that the format of the story has a significantly higher density of content. It's basically a highlight reel of his 30-year journey through Hyborea. I think if someone where to write down this characters story as a novel series with a single continous narrative today, it would probably be four books easily, if not even six. However, would it really add that much more to the story and would it tell us more about the character and his deeds? I think not much.

I think the format of episodic stories of 10,000 to 20,000 words really should be something that more writers should be aware of as one possible format to tell their stories. Whenever I talk to or hear from people who want to write, they always seem to go with the novel as if it's the only option, often even going for the whole trilogy package on their very first attempt. I agree that writing short format stories is probably not a good way to practice for becoming a novel writer, but why does it always have to be novels? To become popular as a writer and create characters and stories that become cultural icons, other formats can do the job too.
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