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

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Group Reads > Jan-Feb Annual Anthology Groupread

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message 1: by S.E., Gray Mouser (last edited Dec 17, 2017 11:27AM) (new)

S.E. Lindberg (SELindberg) | 1604 comments Mod
Banner 2018 Jan feb

Banner Credits: L-->R
Swords Against Darkness -cover art by Cold Whisper 2013 Rodrigo Ramos
Skelos I cover art by Gustave Doré; The Gnarled Monster from Thomas Hood the Younger's Croquemitaine
Challenge! Discovery cover art by "Deep Forest" V Shane

Swords Against Darkness by Paula Guran Skelos I (The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy 1) by Mark Finn Challenge! Discovery (Rogue Blades Presents Challenge! Book 1) by Frederick Tor

Previous Annual Anthology Groupread links:
2017 discussion
2016 discussion
2015 discussion
2014 discussion
2013 discussion

Since Sword & Sorcery was largely born through the short-story format, collections are an appropriate way to learn the genre and discover authors. Don’t know where to start? Ask the group for a recommendation, or check out the sampling of Anthologies, old and new, as shown in this group’s bookshelf. You are challenged (invited?) to track any one down and share your journey with the group. Feel welcome to add to the bookshelf if you know how, or ask for help to expand the list.

Poll will be left open" recall, that list is not a competition to select a choice for all...it is a means to publicize the book you suggest OR the book you plan to read
Click to see poll


Web Anthologies Count too!:
Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly

Me? I'll be digging into Challenge! Discovery


message 2: by Jason M (new)

Jason M Waltz (WordDancer) | 204 comments spectacular banner again, Seth! we are definitely benefiting under your administration ⚔️ thank you for including the RBE cover girl. reminder to anyone willing to post a review, I'll send an e-copy along, just let me know.


message 3: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new)

S.E. Lindberg (SELindberg) | 1604 comments Mod
Jason M wrote: "spectacular banner again, Seth! we are definitely benefiting under your administration ⚔️ thank you for including the RBE cover girl. reminder to anyone willing to post a review, I'll send an e-cop..."

Thanks Jason! This banner worked out pretty well.


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

S.E. Lindberg (SELindberg) | 1604 comments Mod
All,

A new anthology is our Feb 13th: Art of War: A BookNest.eu Anthology with Tales of War by Forty Masters of Fantasy.. The cover was just revealed:

description

From fantasybookcritic.blogspot., an excerpt:

The Booknest blog is made of several cool folks and while they are a relatively newer blog, they are doing things better than most accomplished ones. Last year they raised funds (to the tune of $4400) to support the Doctors Without Borders program. This year they decided to go one step further and create an anthology with an amazing roster of authors. The anthology is titled ART OF WAR and here’s the impressive lineup of authors assembled:

- Mark Lawrence

- Ed Greenwood

- Brian Scott Staveley

- Christian G. (Miles) Cameron

- John Gwynne

- Sebastien De Castell

- Mitchell Hogan

- Stan Nicholls

- Rob Hayes

- Charles Phipps

- Mazarkis Williams

- Ben Galley

- Graham Austin-King

- Michael R. Fletcher

- Nicholas Eames

- Anna Smith Spark

- Anna Stephens

- Ed McDonald

- RJ Barker

- Sue Tingey

- Benedict Patrick

- Michael R. Miller

- Dyrk Ashton

- Laura M Hughes

- Steven Poore

- Timandra Whitecastle

- Steven Kelliher

- J.P. Ashman

- Brandon Draga

- David T. Palmer

- Anne Nicholls

- Dominick M. Murray

- RB Watkinson

- M. L. Spencer

- Charles F Bond

- Andrew Rowe

- Ulff Lehmann

- Tom Gaskin

- Zachary Barnes

- Nathan Boyce

- With a foreword by Brian D. Anderson


message 5: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 857 comments S.E. wrote: "All,

A new anthology is our Feb 13th: Art of War: A BookNest.eu Anthology with Tales of War by Forty Masters of Fantasy.. The cover was just revealed:



From fantasybookcritic.blo..."


Dang! That's quite the list of contributors!


message 6: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new)

S.E. Lindberg (SELindberg) | 1604 comments Mod
Happy new year, all! From scrolling my updates, I know many are reading anthologies already. Feel welcome to chime in and link to any reviews.

I'll be delving into Challenge! Discovery soon.


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard | 345 comments I'm currently reading Challenge! Discovery.


message 8: by Jack, Bran Jack Morn (new)

Jack (AlamoJack) | 502 comments Mod
I'm starting off 2018 with some great S&S: Echoes of Valor, edited by Karl Edward Wagner. Stories by Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, and Henry Kuttner.


message 9: by Richard (new)

Richard | 345 comments Echoes of Valor! Great choice.

While my kindle recharges, I picked up Sharp Ends.


message 10: by Jason M (new)

Jason M Waltz (WordDancer) | 204 comments I, too, am diving into KEW's first Echoes Echoes of Valor in addition to a heavily recommended antho Swordsmen in the Sky


message 11: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 857 comments Jason M wrote: "I, too, am diving into KEW's first Echoes Echoes of Valor in addition to a heavily recommended antho Swordsmen in the Sky"

Excellent, excellent choices both.


message 12: by Derek (new)

Derek | 34 comments Finished Metamorphosis Alpha Chronicles from the Warden book one just before January 1, now proceeding through Weird Heroes Volume 1


message 13: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new)

S.E. Lindberg (SELindberg) | 1604 comments Mod
Recall, most magazines are essentially Anthologies and count for this groupread. John Oniel at Black Gate posted some thoughts on recent magazines of interest:

John Oniel:

2017 closed out with a splendid crop of new magazines, featuring fiction from Mary Robinette Kowal, Matthew Hughes, John Hornor Jacobs, Matthew Kressel, Gardner Dozois, Robert Reed, Octavia Cade, and a feature on one-shot vintage magazine digests by BG blogger Steve Carper. Here’s the complete list of magazines that won my attention in late December.

https://www.blackgate.com/2017/12/31/...



message 14: by Periklis, Fafhrd (new)

Periklis (periklisbegzos) | 426 comments Mod
I'm trying to crawl out of the long dark void that is the Horus Heresy to start reading either Echoes of Valor or Tales From the Magician's Skull #1 (released on PDF this week to backers!)...


message 15: by Jordan (new)

Jordan | 18 comments I’m going to be starting an Echoes of Valor read on my Karl Edward Wagner blog in the next two weeks if that sways anyone.


message 16: by Phil (last edited Jan 04, 2018 07:52PM) (new)

Phil (klarkashton) | 86 comments I also backed Tales From the Magician's Skull and am excited to begin it. Hoping it will get a Goodreads entry soon...


message 17: by S.E., Gray Mouser (last edited Jan 05, 2018 05:41AM) (new)

S.E. Lindberg (SELindberg) | 1604 comments Mod
Phil wrote: "I also backed Tales From the Magician's Skull and am excited to begin it. Hoping it will get a Goodreads entry soon..."

Phil, I made an entry for "Tales" Tales from the Magician's Skull #1

At the time of that entry's creation, I did not have ISBN's and some other key info, but we can add that later.

Tales from the Magician's Skull #1 by Howard Andrew Jones


message 18: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new)

S.E. Lindberg (SELindberg) | 1604 comments Mod
Two stories into Rogue Blade Entertainment's Challenge! Discovery, in which the cover image was used to inspire all the stories.

Witch with Bronze Teeth by Keith J. Taylor = 5 star blend of military Warhammer-esque battle and zombie horror;

Fire Eye Gem by Richard Berrigan = 3 star; too corny for me (stars a do-good Kimmeriorian barbarian named ‘Jack’?)

Onto #3...

Challenge! Discovery (Rogue Blades Presents Challenge! Book 1) by Frederick Tor


message 19: by Richard (new)

Richard | 345 comments I just picked up Flashing Swords! #5: Demons and Daggers for January's group read.


message 20: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new)

S.E. Lindberg (SELindberg) | 1604 comments Mod
Ok cool story. Ready Discovery! Challenge.

Got to “Someplace Cool and Dark” by FREDERIC S. DURBIN. Its first person, weird funny and dark .... and I heard this exact story before! It took me a while to figure it out, but I heard him read this at the WFC 2016 in Columbus OH.


message 21: by Jason M (new)

Jason M Waltz (WordDancer) | 204 comments S.E. wrote: "Ok cool story. Ready Discovery! Challenge.

Got to “Someplace Cool and Dark” by FREDERIC S. DURBIN. Its first person, weird funny and dark .... and I heard this exact story before! It took me a whi..."


Yes sir, and from all I've heard, Fred's reading was quite the hit! Glad you enjoyed it.


message 22: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new)

S.E. Lindberg (SELindberg) | 1604 comments Mod
I had no idea at the time that the story was slated for publication. A mark of how entertaining it is ; I could remember it a year later. The story is great by itself (and even better knowing the Challenge context: ie make a story from the cover).


message 23: by Al (new)

Al Burke (alburke47) | 105 comments I'm nearly finished Art of War, which has been terrific so far. I'll post my review when I finish it sometime tonight (tomorrow for peeps to the East).


message 24: by Al (new)

Al Burke (alburke47) | 105 comments Okay, finished the Art of War anthology. Here's my review - https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Just note it begins with "five" and "stars"...


message 25: by S.E., Gray Mouser (last edited Jan 14, 2018 07:46AM) (new)

S.E. Lindberg (SELindberg) | 1604 comments Mod
Al, way to tackle the 40 stories and share. Art of War: Anthology for Charity looks good!

BTW, a very-critical blog post on Castaliahouse on the The Book of Swords just posted. Anyone agree/disagree that the collection is soft on action? or not classical S&S?

CastaliaHouse blog link on "The Book of Swords"

The Book of Swords by Gardner Dozois
Contents:
- The Best Man Wins by K.J. Parker
- Her Father’s Sword by Robin Hobb
- The Hidden Girl by Ken Liu
- The Sword of Destiny by Matthew Hughes
- "I Am a Handsome Man", Said Apollo Crow by Kate Elliott
- The Triumph of Virtue by Walter Jon Williams
- The Mocking Tower by Daniel Abraham
- Hrunting by C.J. Cherryh
- A Long, Cold Trail by Garth Nix
- When I Was a Highwayman by Ellen Kushner
- The Smoke of Gold Is Glory by Scott Lynch
- The Colgrid Conundrum by Rich Larson
- The King’s Evil by Elizabeth Bear
- Waterfalling by Lavie Tidhar
- The Sword Tyraste by Cecelia Holland
- The Sons of the Dragon by George R.R. Martin


message 26: by Al (new)

Al Burke (alburke47) | 105 comments S.E. wrote: "Al, way to tackle the 40 stories and share. Art of War: Anthology for Charity looks good!"

Thanks S.E. If I looked up a number in the phone book, I'd review it. Art or War was a pleasure to read, where so many other anthologies can run hot and cold.


message 27: by Richard (last edited Jan 14, 2018 10:58AM) (new)

Richard | 345 comments The price tag is a little steep for a kindle edition though...

The opinion stated in the Castalia House blog seems to sum up every anthology that Martin and Dozois have put out. Some authors hit the mark and some not so much. It pains me there are so many rabid fans of Martin. Especially when there are many authors who write this sort of fiction so much better.


message 28: by Richard (new)

Richard | 345 comments Some light snow followed by icy roads equals two days off work! Alabama doesn't get this kind of weather often enough for us to have the equipment and materials needed to combat icy roads. Lots of time in my chair to read, doze, and repeat.

I just finished Flashing Swords! #5: Demons and Daggers and it was very enjoyable. My favorite was Diane Duane's story Parting Gifts followed by Tanith Lee's The Dry Season. Recommended!

Onward to Tales of Engines & Demons. Not necessarily S&S but it is an anthology.


message 29: by Jack, Bran Jack Morn (last edited Jan 17, 2018 02:33PM) (new)

Jack (AlamoJack) | 502 comments Mod
I finished Echoes of Valor today. It was decent overall, but I suppose I had higher hopes given that it includes stories by Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, and Henry Kuttner.

The REH story – “The Black Stranger” – was a good Conan story, with Conan essentially playing the role of a pirate. Mild spoiler: (view spoiler)

“Adept’s Gambit” by Leiber was hard to read. I just did not enjoy the overly wordy, pseudo-intellectual dialogue used by Leiber in this story. I don’t recall the banter between Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in other Leiber stories being this difficult and unenjoyable. Perhaps this is because this story is the first F and GM story he drafted. It just seemed like an odd and subpar version of Waiting for Godot.

Kuttner’s “Wet Magic” was good fun and an interesting take on the Arthurian legends. It was a quick read.

3/5 stars overall.


message 30: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 857 comments Started The Book of Swords, which I'm expecting to enjoy just based on the authors involved.


message 31: by Bruce (last edited Jan 21, 2018 09:08AM) (new)

Bruce | 76 comments
BTW, a very-critical blog post on Castaliahouse on the The Book of Swords ..."


I can't disagree with his review, at all. As one of the 'up and coming' (back then, anyway) authors he mentioned at the end of the article, I find it disappointing that the alumni from those formative days of Flashing Swords and the RBE anthologies (to name a couple) just couldn't find traction with our brand of old school S&S. Or, as the author of the review so eloquently stated in an exchange on FB, "It was a promising movement that was throttled in the cradle."


message 32: by S.wagenaar (new)

S.wagenaar | 309 comments Here’s hoping the new Tales from the Sorcerer’s Skull and some other S&S magazines spearhead a new S&S movement. Maybe the new authorized Robert E Howard based pastiche novels will fuel the fire as well!


message 33: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new)

S.E. Lindberg (SELindberg) | 1604 comments Mod
Just finished Challenge! Discovery

review Link

Here's the take away:

The concept is cool, but the entries range in quality, and I disagree with the judges. Apparently the last two won 1st and 2nd place by the judges, but if I were to rate by (a) inspiration from cover and (b) storytelling (good pacing, show not tell, etc.) then I would have chosen 2 of the below:
- "Inner Nature" by JOHN KILIAN
- "Someplace Cool and Dark" by FREDERIC S. DURBIN
- "Witch with Bronze Teeth brushed" by KEITH J. TAYLOR


message 34: by Jordan (new)

Jordan | 18 comments Slowly making my way through Echoes of Valor Echoes of Valor by Karl Edward Wagner . I'm posting on my blog as I go.

https://thedarkcrusade.wordpress.com/...


message 35: by Al (new)

Al Burke (alburke47) | 105 comments Followed your blog. Looks good.


message 36: by Jordan (new)

Jordan | 18 comments Al wrote: "Followed your blog. Looks good."

Thanks! You're selling me on Art of War!


message 37: by Al (new)

Al Burke (alburke47) | 105 comments Do it. Well worth a read.


message 38: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 857 comments Well, for my own part I very much enjoyed The Book of Swords, although I'll admit it was less of a sword & sorcery collection than it was being made out to be in the introduction. But it had some great stories in it by people I enjoy, and several authors (Matthew Hughes foremost amongst them) whom I really need to acquaint myself with.


message 39: by Jordan (last edited Feb 08, 2018 02:29PM) (new)

Jordan | 18 comments Another post up about my read of Echoes of Valor including my thoughts on "The Black Stranger"

https://thedarkcrusade.wordpress.com/...


message 40: by Jordan (new)

Jordan | 18 comments Some of my thoughts on "Adept's Gambit" in Echoes of Valor

https://thedarkcrusade.wordpress.com/...


message 41: by Jordan (last edited Feb 15, 2018 10:24AM) (new)

Jordan | 18 comments Okay, my last post on Echoes of Valor by Karl Edward Wagner

I cover 'Wet Magic' and final thoughts. Looking forward to Leguin next month!
https://thedarkcrusade.wordpress.com/...


message 42: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new)

S.E. Lindberg (SELindberg) | 1604 comments Mod
Jordan, nice posts!


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