Sword and Sorcery is probably my favorite sub-sub genre of literature. I like it because the characters aren’t all so highfalutin’ Aragorn-y. Some heroes are not that much better than the bad guys, and they all like to drink and gamble and wench (what’s the male equivalent of a wench? That too). Imagine my delight, then, when the good folks at Tachyon sent me along their new Sword and Sorcery Anthology to review.
Not only is this stellar collection a must for fans of the sub-genre of sword and sorcery, but it’s the perfect grab bag for those curious about the category and unsure where to begin. If I had a friend who wanted to know a good place to start reading sword and sorcery, I wouldn’t direct her to any one particular novel, but to this collection. Here’s why:
It’s got everyone you need to read about: Conan, Alyx, Elric, Jirel, Daenerys and even the Gray Mouser (though I was surprised by which story of his made it into this collection, also not including his pal Fafhrd).
It’s got everybody in much smaller doses than diving straight into a whole novel, or a really long novel, or an eon-long epic series. So if you’re reading this and you discover: hey you know, this Alyx the Picklock isn’t all she’s cut out to be, or: man I don’t get all the hype surrounding that Elric fellow, at least you don’t surfeit before you are on to the next wild adventure, whether it be a troll’s daughter or a zombie Viking or a vengeful warrior maid.
It’s also a diverse group, female authors and male; a varied array of magical nationality inspirations, not overly heavy on what one of my old English professors called DWMs (Dead White Males). In other words, I fully endorse this anthology as a good start to a healthy and rich sword and sorcery canon.
Bottom line: awesome collection, very highly recommended. ~Prof. Jenn