So I’ve just finished the final edits on my pulpy sword and sorcery novel.
Why did I choose to write this book, you ask.
I wrote this as an homage to Fritz Leiber, Robert E Howard, Karl Edward Wagner, and Michael Moorcock. I wanted to write a fantasy book that really went back to the genre’s roots.
Back in the days before the epic multi-volume, world-spanning, and generally very serious fantasy stories that dominate the modern market, sword and sorcery tales came of age in the pulp magazines. Short, visceral stories packed with action, drama, spine tingling terror, daring escapes, flashing blades, monstrous creatures, hidden temples to fell gods. Worlds were rich and varied, but revealed in broad strokes, not meticulous, dense description. They were escapist.
They were fun.
And I miss that. I miss the sense of wonder and simple joys of those stories. It’s not easy to find today. I’ve read too many books that turn into series of hefty volumes that are often morality tales or coming of age stories when they are done well, and ponderous travelogues when they aren’t.
Let me be clear. There is some excellent fantasy being written today, but it tends to the more serious side of things. Usually there are earth shaking prophesies, clashes of armies, and the fate of nations or the world or creation itself hangs in the balance. If these were movies, they would be chasing Oscars.
Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you want to read an epic.
But sometimes you don’t want to save the world. Sometimes just want the written equivalent of a popcorn flick. Once in a while, you just want the hero to steal a priceless jewel from an ancient temple guarded by dark sorcery and demonic sentinels. Not so they can defeat the Dark Lord, but just because there’s a lot of money in priceless jewels, so long as you know a guy.