Neo Sword and Sorcery

By Roy Mathur, at 2015-01-07, at 05:22 GMT, for Boldly Voyaging the Multiverse: Probably the Best Nerd Blog in the Multiverse

This morning I'm pre-empting possible responses that might arise from the can of worms I may have opened in my last podcast (ep. 63), after I bemoaned today's lack of sword and sorcery (a term originally coined by Michael Moorcock).

First, read this final paragraph from Wikipedia's Sword and Sorcery Revival section:

After the boom of the early 1980s, sword and sorcery once again dropped out of favor, with epic fantasy largely taking its place in the fantasy genre. However, the end of the 20th century saw another resurgence of S and S. Sometimes called the "new" or "literary" sword and sorcery, this development places emphasis on literary technique, and draws from epic fantasy and other genres to broaden the typical scope of S and S. Stories may feature the wide-ranging struggles national or world-spanning concerns common to high fantasy, but told from the point of view of characters more common to S and S and with the sense of adventure common to the latter. Writers associated with this include Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, and Scott Lynch, and magazines such as Black Gate and the ezines Flashing Swords (not to be confused with the Lin Carter anthologies) and Beneath Ceaseless Skies publish short fiction in the style. These authors and editors are attempting to return the genre to the status it enjoyed during the pulp era of the twenties and thirties.

Although I was aware of these other authors, I had no idea that there was such a thing as "new" or "literary sword and sorcery". It is claimed above that this literary movement is an attempt to broaden the scope of the genre.

However, I want to do the exact opposite and pare S and S down to its bare essentials. This would mean the same types of adventure, but with bizarre plots, containing diverse characters (in terms of physical attributes, character-types, motivations, etc.), leading to unpredictable denouements. Therefore, I still choose to differentiate my own S and S work as neo sword and sorcery. Had not its popularity waned, this is the direction in which the genre seemed to be going in any case; just look at characters such as Kane the Mystic Swordsman.

Admittedly, all this speculation is rather abstract and meta, so right now I'm going back to actually writing it and not just writing about it. Blame the post on waking up too early and having a laptop within easy reach.