Sword & Sorcery: "An earthier sort of fantasy" discussion

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Group Reads > 2016 Mar Apr Swords-n-Guns

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message 1: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new)

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 2222 comments Mod
From Solomon Kane to Warhammer 40,000, let's see what swords-n-sixs hooters, swords-n-guns, etc. you can come up with. Topic is broad based, but be prepared to defend your own definition of what a gun is and why your book is connected to sword-n-sorcery.


message 2: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 205 comments A lot of weird westerns would definitely count. Sixguns and sorcery makes for a good name too. I'm about to start Wake of Vultures. Girl in the wild west discovers the supernatural. Should be good.


message 3: by Andy (last edited Feb 26, 2016 10:28PM) (new)

Andy Farman S.E. wrote: "From Solomon Kane to Warhammer 40,000, let's see what swords-n-sixs hooters, swords-n-guns, etc. you can come up with. Topic is broad based, but be prepared to defend your own definition of what a ..."

Well, I had to find a way around using iron in firearms in the supernatural world, owing to iron being poisonous to the touch there, so I hit on elements having different properties in the two worlds, the Natural and the Supernatural.

From a shoulder bag she now carried, Fae produced a small key and used it to open the front case of the grandfather clock, reaching behind the pendulum and withdrawing a further, larger, key that had been concealed there.
He followed her from the room and into the hallway whereupon she knelt to unlock the cupboard beneath the stairs.
“There is a light switch to the left of the door," she said, in her terribly posh English accent. "If you would be so good as to enter and choose from what you find there.”
He crouched to look inside, seeing only ancient gas and electric meters, along with unwanted household items, all covered in dust along with a stack of old newspapers, long yellowed with age.
“Trust me,” she said, reading the suspicion in his mind.
Careful not to bang his head on a stair joist, he entered, found the switch and gaped in surprise when he flicked it on as the cluttered items vanished with the light. Instead of bric-a-brac he found boxes of ammunition and some two dozen weapons. He switched off the light and again found himself amid clutter and cobwebs, obviously one of Fae’s magical wards was at work.
“One would suggest that you choose items befitting the issuance of close quarters mayhem as well as something with a little distance… such as the M82 Barrett with a 29” barrel as opposed to the 20” version? Although you will find that the Zeiss 6–24×72 scope is superior in half-light conditions when compared against the Leupold & Stevens Mk4 M5 rifle scope that some are known to favour. The sights’ weight differential is a shade over an ounce but the long term benefits should be obvious… not that one claims to be an expert, of course.”
He stuck his head out to look quizzically up at her.
“If it is all the same to you I would rather not lug thirty pounds of ironmongery around.”
“If you wish to split hairs it is actually 30.2lbs, unloaded, but that should not be a problem for a big strong boy like you,” she winked at him. “However, I merely jest at your expense as there is of course no iron involved.”
“Why ‘of course’?”
“Iron is a poison in the supernatural world.”
He frowned and pointed back to the fireplace in the room they had just left.
“I saw you stoke the fire with an iron poker?”
“Indeed you did, but one is not currently in the supernatural world, now is she?”
Fae shooed him back inside.
“May I suggest that you at least test the weight, as I imagine you may indeed be favourably impressed?”
The Barrett slid easily out of its rack, weighing no more than about 5lbs.
“What is it made of?”
“I have on many occasions been called a minx, a slut, jezebel, trollop, harpy, whore, daughter of Satan, spawn of Beelzebub, and a bad cook, but thus far one has never been accused of being a metallurgist, Mr. Bennett, so how on earth would I know?”
“This will blow up in my face if I fire it in this world.”
“I assure that will not be the case given that one has previously used it to great effect.”
“I need a range to zero these weapons.”
“Alas, bore sighting is the best that I can presently offer.”
The close quarters weapon he chose looked similar to an Israeli Mytar-21, however it had been modified significantly in order to chamber 7.62mm ammunition instead of the smaller 5.56mm round it had originally been designed for.
There were several semi-automatic handguns from which to choose and having done so he exited with a large box filled with the appropriate ammunition.
Although Fae had stated that he should choose lethal items he did add a grenade launcher and CS gas grenades to the selection.
“I couldn’t find any depleted uranium rounds for the M82, only standard armour piercing and weird iron and silver rounds, presumably for supernatural use?” she nodded in affirmation. “Ditto for all of your ammunition”
“No, you wouldn’t, it will not work in the supernatural realm, nuclear fission does not function there either.”
“There is no uranium or plutonium there?”
“Of course there is, all elements from this world exist in mine, they just have different properties.”
“What do you use uranium for?”
“Window putty.”
He stared at her.
“Really?”
She rolled her eyes.
“No, of course not, but I really have no idea.”

“Which handgun did you choose?” she asked as he emerged.
He held up a Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical.
“Oh good, one has never seen the point of 9mm ammunition.”
“Not even the hollow point?”
She waved a hand dismissively.
“A mere afterthought, a half-baked attempt to add lethality.”
“So what do you favour?”
“From a girl’s point of view you will find we consider that large is nice but huge is better, so your .45 qualifies as ‘nice’.
The former military professional within him responded to the slight.
“What are you carrying into this great battle that is full of unknowns, then?”
She opened her bag and extracted a small .32 Beretta semi-automatic, which brought a bark of laughter from Scott.
“Mock ye not, Bennett, I do assure you that appearances are deceptive,” she chided before adding a satchel charge and claymore mines, all incredibly light in comparison to those he was familiar with.

http://www.amazon.com/Demons-Blue-Moo...


message 4: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new)

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 2222 comments Mod
Ashe wrote: "A lot of weird westerns would definitely count. Sixguns and sorcery makes for a good name too. I'm about to start Wake of Vultures. Girl in the wild west discovers the supernatural...."

Ashe/all, the voted-for topic was "swords-n-sixshooters"...but I had trouble fitting that into the masthead banner and thought that some folk may want to combine the RPG-tie-in and read some Warhammer 40,000.... so I went with "guns."

Please don't send Grimluk after me!

A Demon in the Desert (Grimluk, Demon Hunter #1) by Ashe Armstrong


message 5: by Rich (new)

Rich | 58 comments I haven't read them, but The Six-Gun Tarot and One Night in Sixes would both fit the theme, I think. Not necessarily S&S with guns, but definitely fantasy/western mash-ups.


message 6: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 703 comments The fun part is that while guns and sorcery mix, and so do guns and swords, most books do not have all three to be "sword and sorcery with guns". The latest books I read with guns and swords (and pirates!) were Scout's Honor by Henry Vogel and its sequels which were straight-forward planetary romance.


message 7: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new)

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 2222 comments Mod
Mary wrote: "The fun part is that while guns and sorcery mix, and so do guns and swords, most books do not have all three to be "sword and sorcery with guns". The latest books I read with guns and swords (and p..."

Totally agree, Mary. I hope the discussion includes both sorcery-n-guns AND swords-n-guns.


message 8: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 205 comments Ha, Seth, no worries man. The banner looks good. Besides, sometimes elements are hard to include like that.

Also, yeah, swords and guns work well together. Cutlasses and pistols. Actually, that reminds me. Ed Erdelac has an anthology out that would fit this quite well. With Sword and Pistol


message 9: by Rich (new)

Rich | 58 comments Jack wrote: "I may read Matthias Thulmann: Witch Hunter for this category, if I have time after Solomon Kane."

That was a fun one. And it fits both categories!


message 10: by Greg (new)

Greg | 332 comments Mary wrote: "The fun part is that while guns and sorcery mix, and so do guns and swords, most books do not have all three to be "sword and sorcery with guns". The latest books I read with guns and swords (and p..."

Sounds like an unexplored niche for a writer to tackle!


message 11: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 703 comments Greg wrote: "Sounds like an unexplored niche for a writer to tackle! ."

But a hard one to get to hang together. Why are the characters using six-shooters and sorcery and swords? Why has one not rendered the other two obsolete?

You get a brief period a la the Musketeers where guns are not reliable enough. . . .

a ha! Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest may have the Industrial Revolution and the English Civil War at once (it was inspired by the anachronistic clock chime in Julius Caesar), but it has sorcery, swords, and guns.

. . . where was I? . . . oh, yes. . . . but where guns are reliable, there has to be specific reasons to go on using swords. Those can be hard to fudge up under the best of times, and sorcery limits them still more.


message 12: by S.wagenaar (new)

S.wagenaar | 388 comments I wonder if all three could be brought together in a pirate tale? Guns were used, but black powder muzzle loaders would be slow to reload, so combatants would also rely on weapons like cutlasses and knives. Mix in a little sorcery, and there you have it. I think this has already been done in the recent book Waters of Darkness, by David C Smith. Anyone read this book?


message 13: by Joe (new)

Joe Bonadonna | 49 comments As co-author of Waters of Darkness . . . yes, I feel that the combination of swords, sorcery, guns and cannon worked well. Since it's a pirate novel, naturally we had our characters using everything from a cutlass to a scimitar. Ted (T.C.) Rypel utilized guns in his excellent, 5-volume saga of Gonji Sabatake, which I highly recommend to everyone. R.E. Howard of course used both in Solomon Kane, as did so many other writers of fantasy. Weird westerns, like Nancy A. Collins' "Dead Man's Hand" makes great use of six guns and sorcery/supernatural.


message 14: by Jason (new)

Jason | 113 comments S.wagenaar wrote: "I wonder if all three could be brought together in a pirate tale? Guns were used, but black powder muzzle loaders would be slow to reload, so combatants would also rely on weapons like cutlasses an..."
I had a couple of tales at Blackgate that worked for just the reasons you mention (well, no piracy per se, but nautical). While it would be up to readers to determine how well the combination worked, I think limiting to powder provides plenty of opportunity to bring the other items into play and keep them well balanced.


message 15: by Joe (new)

Joe Bonadonna | 49 comments Right! I took a page from Sabatini and Dumas: swords and gunpowder. No reason why sorcery can't be added to the mix . . . makes for some lively action scenes and some interesting moments. Haven't used magic and technology together, yet -- probably because I've rarely liked anything that mixed the two, unless the magic was not supernatural in origin but more superhuman -- psychic powers.


message 16: by Dan (new)

Dan (TheGreatBeast) | 213 comments Isn't one of the originals of this genre, Solomon Kane, just that? Swords, guns and sorcery?


message 17: by S.wagenaar (new)

S.wagenaar | 388 comments Joe wrote: "As co-author of Waters of Darkness . . . yes, I feel that the combination of swords, sorcery, guns and cannon worked well. Since it's a pirate novel, naturally we had our characters using everythin..."
Hi Joe! Thanks for chiming in; you of all people would know if Waters was intended as swords/gunpowder/sorcery. I just purchased the ebook version for my Kindle last night and started it on my night shift last night (don't tell the boss!). Alas, it was a busy night, but I loved the introductions to the main players. Yourself and David are really rocking an old-school pulp vibe like Robert E Howard; love it! I intend on being back on the deck of the Raven tonight again!


message 18: by Joe (new)

Joe Bonadonna | 49 comments Tank you very, very much! WOD is as close to pure sword & sorcery as we could get with using muskets, pistols and cannon. 17th century pirates of Madagascar, with a little Lovecraft for inspiration.


message 19: by Joe (new)

Joe Bonadonna | 49 comments Jack wrote: "I'd argue that it is. I'm going to start a collection of all of the SK stories in the next day or two. Waters and Darkness looks good, too. I'm going to enjoy reading some new material for our mont..."

Thank you, Jack! Yes . . . Solomon Kane was part of our inspiration, and I bet if we look back far enough there are other novels featuring swords, sorcery and guns.


message 20: by Joe (new)

Joe Bonadonna | 49 comments Dan wrote: "Isn't one of the originals of this genre, Solomon Kane, just that? Swords, guns and sorcery?"

Dan, yeah, Kane is an early example of swords, sorcery and guns, although if memory serves, there is more of an element of the supernatural in REH's stories, although that can qualify as sorcery. This is all fantasy literature . . . so anything goes, and I believe writers can make anything work, if they care enough to take their time and know their story as well as their history of the genre. I mean, I'm sure aliens and spaceships can work in a sword ad sorcery story, if handled with care. :)


message 21: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 703 comments Dead Iron by Devon Monk is an interesting weird western with plentiful magic -- but no swords.


message 22: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 205 comments Wake of Vultures lacked swords but it was damn good. Lots of magic.


message 23: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 703 comments Hard Magic, Spellbound, and Warbound -- the Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia.

Of course it takes place in an alternate universe after the Great War, but it has magic, and guns, and swords. Also, arguably, superheroes and supervillains. And a threat to the universe.


message 24: by Greg (new)

Greg | 332 comments Mary wrote: "Hard Magic, Spellbound, and Warbound -- the Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia.

Of course it takes place in an alternate universe ..."


Looks interesting. How does this trilogy compare with The Dresden Files?


message 25: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 703 comments Personally I prefer it.


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