Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Sword & Sorcery Anthology!

The Sword & Sorcery Anthology puts me in the mind of those wonderful collections of sword and sorcery stories by Lin Carter so many years ago.

It showcases quite a range of authors, including of course Robert E. Howard represented here by his outstanding "The Tower of the Elephant". Also from Weird Tales is a Jirel of Jory story by C.L. Moore ("Black God's Kiss"). There's a Fafhrd and Grey Mouser story by Fritz Lieber ("The Unholy Grail") and a story by Poul Anderson ("The Tale of Hauk"). Michael Moorcock is represented by the Elric story "The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams".

Those stories I have though in other places, but what really got me to give this one a second look were a trio of stories from Whispers, a Kane story by Karl Edward Wagner, a story by David Drake, and mostly a sword and sorcery story by Ramsey Campbell written under the pseudonym of "Montgomery Comfort".

Throw in some newer stuff by the likes of Michael Swanwick and Gene Wolf, and you have a really nice range of talent represented in this book. It's not comprehensive, but nicely expansive. There's a real sense of a range of voices and styles.

The volume is really hurt significantly though by the almost complete lack of an editorial voice. There's a forward by David Drake, but nothing from the editors and no explanatory material between the stories either about the authors or the stories. These kinds of books need that context in my opinion and the lack of it here does hurt.

The cover for this one by Jean-Sebastien Rossbach is a keeper, a really nice image full of blood and thunder. That's a nice change for my tastes when fantasy covers and S&S covers in particular seem sometimes to eschew this kind of thing.

The original solicitations for this book said Jack Vance would be included, but he has no story in this collection. There's no explanation offered.

At fifteen bucks though this one is worth the effort to find.

Rip Off


  1. Darn, my eye went immediately to George R.R. Martin.

  2. My apologies. I wrote that review from memory this morning and didn't double check the book. George R.R. Martin does have a story included, it's Jack Vance (who is not listed on the cover but was once upon a time) who does not. I've corrected the review.

    Sorry about that. Martin's story is titled "Path of the Dragon".

    Rip Off

  3. According to Wikipedia:


    "Path of the Dragon" is some of the Daenarys chapters from "Storm of Swords" the third book in his "Song of Ice and Fire" series.

  4. How can you promise Jack Vance and not deliver, dammit!

    Still, it looks a grand book. Do the Daenarys chapters work as a stand-alone short story? I recall an anthology way back when (can't recall it at the moment) which included an early version of "Riddles in the Dark" as a short story: it worked surprisingly well.


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