Sword & Sorcery recommendations

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Yora, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. Yora

    Yora Lore Master

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    Let's see how many posts it takes until this turns into a discussion of how true Sword & Sorcery is officially defined. From past experience I make my estimate at 1.

    I'm a fan of stories set in fantasy worlds in which highly capable protagonists are using cunning, courage, and skill with blades to face supernatural threats and brave eldritch places. My favorites are Conan, Kane, and The Witcher, and I can't help to have some admiration for Elric. In movies, Conan the Barbarian and Princess Mononoke are my favorites. In recent years I've been reading The Desert of Souls, which I quite liked (even though it's actually a historical setting with magic), The Copper Promise, which just couldn't really hook me, and Tome of the Undergates, which I thought was just awful.

    Sword & Sorcery is a style that still seems to have lots of big fans, but nobody seems to be really doing it anymore. Still, any recommendations what I might give try?
     
  2. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Scribal Lord

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    I'd actually suggest hunting down some anthologies with short stories of Sword and Sorcery. The reason is that that way you can check out several authors and if you find some that you like, then you can check out their longer works.

    Without any deeper knowledge I could suggest these two, fairly old, anthologies that can still be bought from Amazon. I bought the second for my brother and he liked as fart as I know. I know that they are marketed as having all kinds of fantasies but I recall them being marketed, back in the day, as Sword & Sorcery. But then again my memory could be at fault here.

    https://www.amazon.com/Lords-Swords-Daniel-Blackston/dp/097588400X

    https://www.amazon.com/Sages-Swords...=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524387349&sr=1-2
     
  3. Yora

    Yora Lore Master

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    A few years back I read Swords & Dark Magic, Sword & Mythos, and The Sword & Sorcery Anthology. Really hated the first two and thought the third one merely passable. These editors have a rather unorthodox idea of what can pass as Sword & Sorcery in my opinion. Those stories that I liked where from the usual suspects. Robert Howard, Michael Moorcock, Karl Wagner, and Glen Cook.
     
  4. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Scribal Lord

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    Well, I guess I'm at my wits end then. Or you'll just have to go for old timers like the ones you mentioned. I know there are much good pre-Tolkien fantasy that gets a re-print from time to time so that's something you might focus on.
     
  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    CL Moore’s Jirel of Joiry stories.
     
  6. Yora

    Yora Lore Master

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    Black God's Kiss and Hellsgarde are both great stories that I very much recommend too. The other three not so much.
     
  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox Staff Moderator

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    Tanith Lee!
     
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  8. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Dark Lord

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    Well, I admit to not being totally certain what constitutes Sword and Sorcery myself. If you've read what you've mentioned above I assume you've read Fritz Leiber as well. Have you read The Dark World by Henry Kuttner? I liked that one a lot. I've seen Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword called S&S, I think. That's a great book. I think you could call The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny S&S and I consider those essential fantasy reading. And of course there's the Dilvish the Damned stories culminated by the novel The Changing Land also by Zelazny which are very good.

    I'm afraid that's all I can think of.
     
  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox Staff Moderator

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    Leiber and Zelazny, absolutely. I'd put Moorcock in the list. Maybe Joseph Malik. ;-)

    But we really have made Yora's point. It's not that there's no S&S to read, but that there is very little S&S that is recent.
     
  10. Yora

    Yora Lore Master

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    I think the core essence of Sword & Sorcery is warriors going into the underworld or the domain of a sorcerer and facing supernatural threats, and that's more or less all of the story. Everything else is negotiable.

    Any works by Tanith Lee that would be recommended as a start? I've heard of her a lot, but never read any of her works.
     
  11. skip.knox

    skip.knox Staff Moderator

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    The one that I first encountered is called Birthgrave.
     
  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    That’s a good one. Everything I’ve read by her is good.
     
  13. pmmg

    pmmg Shadow Lord

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    Howard actually wrote a few more than those, but I suspect you got Howard checked off already ;). Some others that to me all kind of seem Conan-esque, include Red Sonja, and Kane. Deathstalker, and Gor, I know a few fans who dabble in writing, heavily influenced by sword and sorcery (I think myself included), but they would not be published.
     
  14. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Scribal Lord

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  15. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Dark Lord

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    To be honest, that's a pretty narrow definition. How many times can you really write a story about a warrior fighting a sorcerer before it gets old? I imagine that's probably why there's just not much Sword and Sorcery out there. There's not much demand for it and the genre has been well covered already.
     
  16. skip.knox

    skip.knox Staff Moderator

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    >How many times can you really write a story about a warrior fighting a sorcerer before it gets old?

    About as many times as you can write a story about a detective solving a crime, a boy and a girl falling in and out of love, or a grizzled cop two days from retirement taking one last case.

    It's not the story. It's the writer.
     
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  17. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Yes...actually S&S has made a bit of a comeback in recent years. For the newer stuff, a good place to start is with James Enge's Morlock Ambrosius stories. Maybe also the late Jay Lake's Green stories.
     
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