Friday, November 18, 2011

What Is Swords and Sorcery ?

"What it is quite simply, is the modern reincarnation of the oldest narrative known to world literature: the heroic fantasy. The adventure story of the indomitable warrior-hero battling supernatural evil, personified as monster or magician, god or ghost or goblin, dragon or demon. The sort of thing the Greek myths and Norse legends are all about, and Beowulf and the Shah Namah and the Mabinogoin. The kind of yarn they wrote about in the Middle Ages, in sagas and epics about Roland and oliver, or hero tales and legends about St. George and the Dragon ...", Lin Carter , Flashing Swords! #4 published in 1977 by Dell Publishing Co., Inc

I just pulled this book off of my shelves and started rereading it again and had to share some of the introduction .

The book itself is an excellent primer of swords and sorcery as it was in the 70's with The Bagful of Dreams by Jack Vance, The Tupliak by Poul Anderson, Storm in a Bottle by John Jakes, Swords Against the Marluk by Katherine Kurtz and The Lands Beyond The World by Michael Moorcock.


  1. The Flashing Swords series as a whole has some hits and misses, but it's well worth it for the S&S fan.

  2. My first real introduction to S&S came from #3 which I got at a garage sale circa 1980. I'd been playing D&D for about two years already but had mainly read C S Lewis, the Pyrdain books, and lots of Pern (and other McCaffery) for fantasy (although the last is supposedly, technically sci-fi)...oh, and a couple of Witch World.

    Interestingly, I also got my first Lovecraft at the same garage sale, the adult fantasy Doom That Came to Sarnath anthology. It was also edited by Carter.

    I know much of Carter's work was hack and pastiche (although I'm a big fan of Jandar). Conan fans have a great deal of anger towards him (although not DeCamp levels). Still, what he did for S&S (and fantasy in general) as an editor is under appreciated too often.