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Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery Paperback – June 22, 2010
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From the Back Cover
Seventeen original tales of sword and sorcery penned by masters old and new
Elric . . . the Black Company . . . Majipoor. For years, these have been some of the names that have captured the hearts of generations of readers and embodied the sword and sorcery genre. And now some of the most beloved and bestselling fantasy writers working today deliver stunning all-new sword and sorcery stories in an anthology of small stakes but high action, grim humor mixed with gritty violence, fierce monsters and fabulous treasures, and, of course, swordplay. Don't miss the adventure of the decade!
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Top Customer Reviews
"Goats of Glory" by Steven Erikson - A very slow moving story for the most part. I was getting bored until the magic part finally got introduced and at that point I was hooked. Demon hordes are a bunch of pushovers when a group of warriors comes out of the mountains. A very satisfying ending with good action in the last third.
"Tides Elba: A Tale of the Black Company" by Glen Cook - The Company is on a bit of a lull as they have been stationed in one city without anyone to battle for months. When all of a sudden they are again tossed into the machinations of their betters. Definitely one of the better Black Company shorts I've read as it shows they are more than just the brawn and have got brains to back it up. Croaker keeps his usual tone and aplomb as the company figures out away to solve the heart of the matter without getting their own throats cut.
"Bloodsport" by Gene Wolfe - In some ways this reminds me a lot of a GRRM Dunk & Egg story without Egg. A new Knight is made to play the games of their sovereign, but when the games are over and all else is lost they strive to better the world around them and give themselves a purpose.Read more ›
It's really not an exaggeration when we say SWORDS & DARK MAGIC was easily one of our most anticipated titles of the year. In fact, that doesn't even say enough. Edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders, this collection, to us, was like the Holy Grail of short story anthologies. Why? The first three stories in the collection, in the order they appear: Steven Erikson, Glen Cook, Gene Wolf. Yeah. That's just the first three stories.
First we need to get something out of the way, and yeah it's a tad petty. The subtitle of the collection is "The New Sword & Sorcery". Honestly, this isn't a fair or accurate subtitle. Don't get us wrong, there are plenty of swords and plenty of sorcery to be found amidst these 500+ pages of awesomeness, but there isn't anything groundbreaking here. There isn't anything here that is re-inventing the genre. No, the subtitle should have been something more like "New Tales in Sword & Sorcery".
Now that that is out of the way, let's talk about the anthology.
It is fantastic. Are there weak stories here? Yeah. The thing about short fiction anthologies, however, is that you have a collection that appeals to a variety. As we stated earlier, the anthology starts with stories by Steven Erikson, Glen Cook, and Gene Wolfe. Then you have James Enge, C.J. Cherryh, K. J. Parker, Garth Nix and a guy named Michael Moorcock. But see, we aren't done yet. Then you move on to Tim Lebbon, Robert Silverberg (maybe you've heard of him?), Greg Keyes, Michael Shea, Scott Lynch, Tanith Lee, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bill Willingham, and ending the collection with Joe Abercrombie.Read more ›
I did find Swords and Dark Magic to be heavier on the "sorcery" than the "sword," more so than is my preference. (Like the greatest S&S hero, Conan the Cimmerian, I subscribe to the belief that when the gods breathed life into mankind, we were given the gift of strength and the secret of steel. So, there is no sorcerer or demonspawn that cannot be beaten by brute strength or a sharp blade.) Regardless, my enjoyment was no less for it. I was absolutely thrilled when I read the dedication, which pays homage to the masters:
"For Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, and Michael Moorcock, the great literary swordsmen who made it all possible."
I believe that an anthology is only as good as its introduction, and the one in this book proves my point. The editors detail the birth of S&S and pay respect to the authors noted in the dedication along with the very few others, C. L. Moore and Clark Ashton Smith, who were there at the beginning. This is followed by shout-outs to Lin Carter, L. Sprague deCamp, Andre Norton, and Charles Saunders, who picked up the torch decades after. These authors, especially Howard, have been too long overlooked for their role in creating the genre that was practically the whole of fantasy before Tolkien.
Due to sheer laziness, I usually opt not to review each story of an anthology individually.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pretty good collection, aside from of that dreary author Caitlin R. Kiernan. Seriously I don't understand what people see in her. Ugh. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Benjamin
Excellent read!! Normally with short story collections I cannot read the whole book. This was not the case with this one. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Richard Fisher
I went through and rated each story and came out with a combined average of 3.4 stars. There are, in my mind, four pieces that I gave 5 stars to and a number of stories where I was... Read morePublished on May 30, 2014 by Michael Drakich
Swords & Dark Magic (2010) is a Fantasy anthology. It contains an introduction, seventeen original stories, and an afterword. Read morePublished on June 15, 2013 by Arthur W Jordin
Some of the stories are great and some not so much. Such is the way with all collections like this. The ones that are great are worth reading.Published on October 22, 2012 by Christopher J. Reynolds
I read all of the stories in this Swords and Dark Magic, and overall found them to be well written and interesting. Read morePublished on October 14, 2012 by Arthur Enyedy
Swords & Dark Magic (S&DM from here on out) in an anthology released back in June of 2010. It contains seventeen original tales from authors ranging from the ever gritty... Read morePublished on July 3, 2011 by R.M. Knight
These stories were all right, but none of them really stood out to me. The best installment was "Under the Stacks," by Scott Lynch. Read morePublished on April 27, 2011 by Shan Winslow
In fairness I purchased this book soley for the Tides Elba story by Glen Cook, So really that is what I am rating here. Read morePublished on December 25, 2010 by Brendan Beavers