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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Serious Swords, Silly Sorcery

I couldn't resist the title, folks.

Some new old-fashioned hack-and-slash fantasy fiction is out there and it's CHEEEEEEEEEEEAP!!!!!!

All I mean by "serious swords, silly sorcery" is that some of it takes a straightforward approach, like the first two installments of Tales of the Honor Triad (The Bloodstained Defile and The Gryphon of Tirshal); and others poke fun at the genre in a respectful way (like Chris J. Randolph's Vengar and Jack Badelaire's NANOK).

Vengar the Barbarian is a not-so-subtle parody of another savage sword-wielding bronze giant from a forgotten age.

NANOK is, to quote the author:

"...a pastiche fantasy adventure short story written as a humorous, light-hearted homage to many of the Sword & Sorcery creations from the 60's and 70's: The Kyrik and Kothar novels of Gardner F. Fox, the Thongor stories of Lin Carter, John Jake's Brak the Barbarian, Karl Edward Wagner's Kane adventures, and much more.

Blend in a healthy mix of cheesy barbarian movies from the 80's, Dungeons & Dragons-esque fantasy tropes, inspiration from heavy metal album covers, Frank Frazetta paintings, comic books, wargames, gratuitously violent adult cartoons, and a pigpile of other influences. What you get is a story that'll have you laughing out loud one minute and fist-pumping the air in victory the next"

I don't know about you, but I sure could use some fist-pumping.

Hmm...I'm almost positive that last statement could be interpreted in some rather embarrassing ways.

Oh, well. Moving on...

Tales of the Honor Triad are heroic fantasy more than sword & sorcery. There's plenty of sword, but only a little sorcery in the two titles published so far.

The author says:

"Tolkien and his legion of imitators have not influenced me much. You can lay the blame squarely on the heads of Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Poul Anderson."

Ain't this a great tagline?

A great storm, an epic battle, and three dangerous warriors...all on a collision course for a narrow mountain pass that is already a bloodstained defile.

And here's a teaser about Gryphon, now with a snazzy new cover:

The Honor Triad have journeyed to Javo's native country shortly after its transition from a free republic to a monarchy. The first king of Cemar has hired the three mercenaries to rid the land of the legendary supernatural beast that lives high on Mount Tirshal, outside the city. Neither the bowlegged little horse-archer Turgar, nor the furry giant Krag the Wrecker feel comfortable with the mystical forces surrounding Tirshal, but their lust for gold outweighs their fear. Still, the horrifying truth awaiting they and Javo at the gryphon's perch is more chilling than the legion of reptilian predators they'll have to fight through to reach it.

Use your battleaxe to chop open a keg of mead, ale or Red Bull, throw a few logs on the fire and download some of this gratuitous violence onto your e-reader for some good, clean fun.


  1. Humor in action adventure is a good thing, although in movies there is a tradition of killing the 'comic relief.'

    Spoofing Conan with Nanok is a great idea. I wish I'd thought of it first.

  2. And the opportunity for gags and jokes are just about endless...the better you know the source material, anyway.

    Hey, you're a sci-fi afficianado, was Bill, the Galactic Hero a spoof of anyone in particular or just a lampoon of heroic sci-fi?

  3. I actually just found and read the Vengar shorts. They are Awesome - more parody than I was going for when I wrote Nanok, but that's not bad, just different clicks on the pastiche/parody dial.

    Thanks for the shout-out, Hank! I still owe you a review of Gryphon, hope to get to it this week.

  4. My pleasure. And I look forward to it.


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