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Comment: Cancelled library softcover, shows minimal reader, cover and page edge wear, all the usual library marks, tape and stamps/stickers. Pages intact with no ink markings or highlighting.
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The Sword & Sorcery Anthology Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications; First Edition edition (June 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616960698
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616960698
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #556,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Heroes and their mighty deeds populate the pages of this delightfully kitschy yet absorbing anthology of sword and sorcery short stories from the 1930s onward. Hartwell and Weisman have selected some of the best short-form work in the genre, starting with the originator, Robert E. Howard, and his tales of Conan the Barbarian. The heroes are tough, savvy, and willing to knock a few heads in to get the job done. The soldier of Glen Cook’s Dread Empire and Fritz Leiber’s Grey Mouser make strong appearances, as does Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné and his dread sword, Stormbringer. Female heroes are as ruthless as their male counterparts: C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry walks through Hell and back to get her revenge, while George R. R. Martin’s Daenerys Stormborn becomes a true queen by outmaneuvering an entire city of slavers. This is an unbeatable selection from classic to modern, and each story brings its A game.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The 19 stories in this volume span a time period from 1933 to 2012 and provide a strong introduction to this fantasy subgenre.”
Library Journal

“Awesome collection, very highly recommended.”
Nerds in Babeland

“Superbly presented...reignited this reader’s interest.”
SF Site

“A big, meaty collection of genre highlights that runs the gamut from old-school classics to new interpretations, it serves as an excellent introduction and primer in one.”
Green Man Review

“Hard and fast-paced fantasy that’s strong from the first piece right through to the last.”
Shades of Sentience

“Hartwell and Weisman’s choices are top-notch and provide both an excellent introduction to the subgenre for new readers and exciting reading for long-time fans.”
Grasping for the Wind

“This engaging anthology is a terrific way to meet some of the best fantasists for those unfamiliar with their works and for returning vets a chance to enjoy fun short stories.”
—Midwest Book Review

About the Author

David G. Hartwell is a senior editor at Tor/Forge Books and the publisher of the New York Review of Science Fiction." He is the author of Age of Wonders, the editor of the anthologies The Dark Descent and The World Treasury of Science Fiction, and the coeditor of two anthologies of the best Canadian science fiction, Northern Stars and Northern Suns. He lives in Pleasantville, New York.

Jacob Weisman is the founder, editor, and publisher at Tachyon Publications. His writing has appeared in the Cooper Point Journal, the Nation, Realms of Fantasy, the Seattle Weekly, and in the college textbook, Sport in Contemporary Society. He is the series editor for anthologies including The Secret History of Fantasy, The Urban Fantasy Anthology, and Crucified Dreams: Tales of Urban Horror. He lives in San Francisco.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By John Middleton on May 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Although the table of contents is shown in the "Look Inside" extract above, its reproduced here:

"Introduction: Storytellers: A Guided Ramble into Sword and Sorcery Fiction" by David Drake
"The Tower of the Elephant" by Robert E. Howard
"Black God's Kiss" by C. L. Moore
"The Unholy Grail" by Fritz Leiber
"The Tale of Hauk" by Poul Anderson
"The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams" by Michael Moorcock
"The Adventuress" by Joanna Russ
"Gimmile's Song" by Charles R. Saunders
"Undertow" by Karl Edward Wagner
"The Stages of the God" by Ramsey Campbell (writing as Montgomery Comfort)
"The Barrow Troll" by David Drake
"Soldier of an Empire Unacquainted with Defeat" by Glen Cook
"Epistle from Lebanoi" by Michael Shea *
"Become a Warrior" by Jane Yolen
"The Red Guild" by Rachel Pollack
"Six from Atlantis" by Gene Wolfe
"The Sea Troll's Daughter" by Caitlín R. Kiernan
"The Coral Heart" by Jeffrey Ford
"Path of the Dragon" by George R. R. Martin
"The Year of the Three Monarchs" by Michael Swanwick *

The starred stories are new in this anthology: unlike 2010's Swords and Dark Magic, this is largely a reprint anthology, with much of it being (effectively) extracts from books (Howard, Leiber, Moorcock, C. L. Moore, GRRM) and some of it published elsewhere comparatively recently (the Glen Cook and Kiernan stuff). It turns out I had read a lot of this before, and some of it recently. On the other hand, I did enjoy re-reading Leiber and Moorcock, so I'm not complaining. Really, its an all-star cast of 75 years of sword and sorcery: I can honestly say I enjoyed every story.

I wont give a mini-review of 19 stories: it would be faster to just read the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
This entertaining twenty story collection contains entries starting in the 1930s from every decade since except the 1950s; including two tales never published before ("The Year of Three Monarchs" by Michael Swanwick and "Epistle from Lebanoi" by Michael Shea). . The entries represent a who's who of fantasy though some of the contributions are at best loosely sword and sorcery (David Drake's 1970s "The Barrow Troll" feels more like horror fantasy, but still is a super pre military sci fi work by the author). This engaging anthology is a terrific way to meet some of the best fantasists for those unfamiliar with their works and for returning vets a chance to enjoy fun short stories. In the introduction David Drake makes the case that Robert E. Howard's Conan success created S&S as a genre and deserves the opening act with "Tower of the Elephant". The other 1930s contribution comes from the great C.L. Moore (see "Black God's Kiss). Other famous authors included are Glen Cook's 1980 Dread Empire tale (see "Soldier of an Empire Unacquainted with Defeat"), Fritz Leiber's 1962 "The Unholy Grail" starring Fafhad and Grey Mouser, Michael Moorcock's Elric (and Stormbringer) in "The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams, and the current top gun George R.R. Martin with his 2000 "Path of the Dagon". Readers will appreciate this strong compilation.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joel Sanet on September 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like most anthologies this one is a mixed bag, some good stories, some not so good. Of the 19 in this book, about half were positive reading experiences and half were unmemorable or even poorly written. Two were outstanding (Gimmile's Songs and Soldier of an Empire Unacquainted with Defeat) and two were nearly unreadable (Black God's Kiss and The Stages of the God). If I could I would give this anthology 3.5 stars.

Gimmile's Songs by Charles R. Saunders relates an encounter between a female black warrior with a supernatural being in Nyumbani, Saunders' alternate history version of Africa. I liked it well enough that I'm tempted to try his novel Imaro. Glen Cook's Soldier is the longest story in the book (68 pages). It's the first Cook story that I've read and I must say that I was impressed. It's very well-written and also has an unusual amount of character development and human drama for a S&S story. More novels to buy!

Black God's Kiss is a classic of the field. C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry broke the mold of the pulps by being a female warrior. Unfortunately it shows it's age. Purple prose may have been in vogue in the '30's but it just comes across as silly today. Most of the 30 pages is a description of a rather boring journey through the Underworld in search of revenge. I almost didn't finish it. Ramsay Campbell's Stages was published in a fanzine early in the author's career (1974) and it shows.

I bought this anthology because it has a novella about Daenerys Targaryen in it. I was hoping it was a side story in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series but, alas, it was only a section of one of the novels (the 3rd, I think) so Path of the Dragon was a disappointment.

What do I say about Joanna Russ's The Adventuress?
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Steven S. Long on May 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Hartwell's THE ASCENT OF WONDER, which in my opinion is just about perfect when it comes to presenting/analyzing a fiction subgenre (in that case, Hard SF) in anthology form. Besides being a comprehensive collection of Hard SF stories, it includes introductory essays explaining what Hard SF is, what its characteristics are, and so forth. Additionally, each story includes an introductory note explaining the author, the story, and why the story deserves to be in the anthology.

THE SWORD AND SORCERY ANTHOLOGY, unfortunately, falls far, far short of this stellar treatment. First, there's no introductory essay(s) explaining what the editors believe Swords And Sorcery is, what its characteristics are, or what makes one story S&S and another not. Nor are there any notes introducing the individual stories. The result is a total lack of context, and this seems to infect the editors. Many of the stories chosen aren't Swords And Sorcery stories at all, in my opinion -- they're High Fantasy, Low Fantasy, or something else. As a whole the collection feels slapdash and not well thought out.

Even the stories that are undeniably S&S are often poorly chosen. For example, "The Unholy Grail" is an awful choice for a Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser story, in my opinion. They should have chosen one that showcases both heroes in their prime, and hopefully the city of Lankhmar as well, such as "The Cloud Of Hate" or "The Two Best Thieves In Lankhmar."

Furthermore, a lot of S&S authors are left out entirely. There's nothing in the anthology by Clark Ashton Smith, Gardner Fox, Lin Carter, Richard Tierney, and many others I think ought to have had a story in it.
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