Clark Ashton Smith

JACK VANCE: VISIONS OF A DYING EARTH

After the last few S&S works of the early 1940s, such as “Dragon Moon” by Henry Kuttner and the short-lived Unknown, Sword & Sorcery lost steam. With Robert E. Howard dead for five or more years, Heroic Fantasy became a thing of the past with only the occasional Edmond Hamilton Weird Tales fantasy or anomalies […]

BLUE PENCILS AND BLOODY SWORDS: EDITORS OF S&S

It’s easy to discuss authors for their contributions are evident. You just have to read the stories. The great editors are harder to corral, for the editor’s job is one of selection, guidance, subjective acts that may be hard to understand in hindsight. (For instance, all those men and women who rejected Dune by Frank […]

NOT QUITE SWORD & SORCERY: EARLY FANTASY

Robert E. Howard may have invented Sword & Sorcery with the first King Kull tale, but he was not the only author working with the raw materials of heroic fantasy. We have already mentioned C. L. Moore and her Jirel of Joiry stories, which were published at the same time as Conan. There were other […]

Supernatural Horror In Literature

The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from every-day life. Relatively few are free enough from the spell of the daily routine to respond to rappings from outside, and tales of ordinary feelings and events, or of […]

Of Shadows and Serpent – The First Sword & Sorcery Tale

When people think of 1929 they usually recall the Great Depression and “Black Tuesday” (October 29th). I prefer to think of it as the year Sword & Sorcery was born. For S&S, like its greatest hero, Conan, was a child of the Great Depression. But the first tale was written before the darkness fell over […]