Sorry, Rob: my mistake!
Not sure what distinguishes "sword and sorcery" from other kinds of epic fantasy but the series that comes to mind in comparison to the other series being mentioned in this thread is Dave Duncan's Tales of the King's Blades.
Try ordering through one of the big box bookstores; that's how I got Martin's Fevre Dream a couple of years before it was rereleased by Ballantine in the U.S.I haven't read the Jirel of Joiry stuff but I've read ABOUT them, and can never find them. And I'd never heard of Throne of Bones but it looks AWESOME. thanks!
Y'know, I've read quite a bit of Leiber, 3 or 4 novels, a bushel of short stories -- he's every bit as influential as a writer of horror as he was with fantasy, and maybe only a jot less influential as an s.f. writer; amazing versatility -- but I have yet to read a single Fahfred and Mouser story. I should remedy that this summer.
A couple more titles came to mind:
The Bone key by Sarah Monette. Not really S&S, but Weird Tales-like stories. Do a search through the forum for my name and you may find a review. I think others have talked about it, too.
Nifft the Lean by Michael Shea. I haven't read this yet, but it has received enthusiastic praise from many readers and, as I recall, won the World Fantasy Award once upon a time. It was reissued in the '90s by Baen, I believe.
Last edited by Randy M.; January 31st, 2009 at 11:58 AM.
being a noob here i want to apologize to hobbit et al for a noobish breach of the rules in posting this request for recommendations. i didn't realize it should have gone in the recommendation thread. then, i think, i did the same thing with my recommendation of thomas ligotti in a thread. sorry
and while i'm here i wanted to ask (i posted this in the correct forum as well): someone here hipped me to a book and i found it on amazon and i forgot the thread and the title now but i remember the cover illustration is a far-off shot of a number of (what look like) knights crossing a bridge with pennons flying from spear-tips into (i think) a castle
fairly recent novel i think
Paul, don't worry about it. Your thread would have been closed if we felt it was too similar to other recommendation threads. There wasn't "sword & sorcery" recommendation thread before and it is a broad enough sub genre to deserve its own.
As for Ligotti---just take a look around and you'll see plenty of single-author discussion threads.
Yeah, what he said. No apology needed.
Good point. Whilst I'm here, I'll qualify Sword and Sorcery with a quick definition for the uninitiated.Not sure what distinguishes "sword and sorcery" from other kinds of epic fantasy
Seems to pretty much cover it though I'm sure there are exceptions (as ever!) This explains further:Sword and sorcery (S&S) is a fantasy subgenre generally characterized by swashbuckling heroes engaged in exciting and violent conflicts. An element of romance is often present, as is an element of magic and the supernatural. Unlike works of high fantasy, the tales, though dramatic, focus mainly on personal battles rather than world-endangering matters.
So: notice the Mike Moorcock and the Fritz Leiber link (for those not quite caught up yet!)The term was first coined in 1961 when the British author Michael Moorcock published a letter in the fanzine Amra, demanding a name for the sort of fantasy-adventure story written by Robert E. Howard. He had initially proposed the term "epic fantasy". However, the celebrated American S&S author Fritz Leiber replied in the journal Ancalagon (6 April 1961) suggesting "sword-and-sorcery as a good popular catchphrase for the field". He expanded on this in the July 1961 issue of Amra, commenting:
I feel more certain than ever that this field should be called the sword-and-sorcery story. This accurately describes the points of culture-level and supernatural element and also immediately distinguishes it from the cloak-and-sword (historical adventure) story—and (quite incidentally) from the cloak-and-dagger (international espionage) story too! (Fritz Leiber, Amra, July 1961)
Since its inception, many attempts have been made to redefine precisely what "sword and sorcery" is. Although many debate the finer points, the general consensus is that it is characterized by a strong bias toward fast-paced, action-rich tales set within a quasi-mythical or fantastical framework. Unlike high or epic fantasy, the stakes tend to be personal, the danger confined to the moment of telling.
This thread has meant that I've spent the weekend re-reading Gate of Ivriel. and a good reread it was too. What I have realised on rereading is how similar Morgaine is to Elric, but also how much of it is about that personal stakes angle. No really big battles but a poignant personal battle.
it was The One Kingdom by Sean Russell
re-reading Rob's review of it now
thanks guys this site is the balls
Yes - that's a good take. That places the Conan tales, Fafhrd + GM and the Elric tales right where they belong, and demonstrates what distinguishes them from, say, LOTR or any of the Big Fatters.Unlike works of high fantasy, the tales, though dramatic, focus mainly on personal battles rather than world-endangering matters.
Although I may have to revise my classification of Joe Abercrombie's awesome work as S+S, not sure though (maybe not)
It's out in Canada in trade paperback, since January 20. Very good read, if a bit slow in the action category (no really huge battles take place in this one), although it ends with a bang. I would say it's more accessible as Bakker cut down a bit on the philosophy and the seed-drenched sex scenes.
The story cuts between three main storylines. The progress of the Great Ordeal moving north, the imperial/palace intrigues with Esmenet, her children (those who haven't gone with Kellhus and the Ordeal), and public dissent/simmering revolution, and Achamian's own personal struggles.
Anyways, needless to say it's highly recommended to anyone interested in this ongoing tale.
There's a parallel thread running, "Epic fantasy suggestions...", which is worth consulting for anyone reading this one.) I have a long list of suggestions posted there, which I will not clutter the thread by duplicating here.)
I just ordered what was described as the Fantasy Masterworks no. 18 which would make it the first book of Lankhmar. However, on arrival it seems to be a different edition with a white cover and the first story/chapter in it (apart from the Intro) is "The Snow Women" from the "Swords and Deviltry" book.
Flicking through this omnibus seems to contain "Swords and Deviltry", "Swords against Death", "Swords in the Mist" and "Swords against Wizardry".
My question is, does it matter that I seem to be missing the first book in the Lankhmar series called "The Swords of Lankhmar"?
Anyone confirm this?
Mary Gentle's 1610 - A Sundial in a Grave is very very good.
There's quite a bit of swordplay - as the main character is a well-known duellist, though it is very thin on sorcery - at least in a traditional sense. The novel is more of an alternate history, set in the 17th century where out duellist protagonist gets embroiled in a number of highly dangerous intrigues that spring from a mathematician who can foretell the future through his calculations and wish to avert a catastrophe that will take place several centuries into the future.
It is a very sophisticated novel about the fluidity of history, and it features a flawed but also very likeable protagonist. It's an engaging mix of French duellists, European royalty, Japanese samurais, esoteric mathematicians and an elegant and thoughtful exploration of the fluidity of history.