Blink and You’ll Miss It
Carl Jacobi (1908-1997) is one of the forgotten genre writers, penning weird tales, crime fiction, science fiction and fantasy for the pulps, and later in life for their successors. He’s an author I intend to keep an eye out for when browsing for something new to purchase. Why? Well, I happened upon a short-short of his by the title of A Pair of Swords. It’s a weird tale, from 1933, with just a touch of the swashbuckling fare I enjoy brought to life with the assistance of an unexplained supernatural occurrence. Classic pulp contrivance; museum antiques, weapons, the King’s Musketeers, an out-of-time encounter. Good stuff.
It helped that I’ve had Alexander Dumas on the brain, second hand, courtesy of Steven Brust’s latest Dragaera novel. This one (The Baron of Magiser Valley) riffs on the Count of Monte Cristo. Brust has done this before, successfully and entertainingly (e.g., The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years After.) I can’t say this one has been quite the unqualified pleasure of some of his previous efforts, but I’ve generally enjoyed it.
I like the atmosphere created by cloaks and rapiers at least as much as I do that of chainmail and battle axes or plate armor and longswords. Does one embody Sword and Sorcery more than another? I don’t think so. I suppose Conan swinging a “broadsword” might be more evocative than a d’Artagnan-esque figure lunging with a rapier. But recall that Howard was rather promiscuous with time and place in his Hyborian world. So I don’t see any grounds to claim one fantasy temporal analog is more authentically S&S than another.
Of course, that position could be self-serving, considering the setting of the most recent short story I sold. Well, if I can’t look out for Number One on my own web-log, where can I?
Anyway, does anyone have a Carl Jacobi recommendation? Also, please take a look at Blood and Jade: Semi-Autos and Sorcery Book One. If S&S can run the gamut from bronze daggers to rapiers, why not a .45?