When we think of a sword in a swords-and-sorcery yarn, most often we think of a barbarian swinging a broadsword. We know what that means. We can visualize it. No matter that “broadsword” is not a term of art, and that in fact a broadsword, properly speaking, is far from the heavy spatha or arming sword we associate with our barbarian hero. And that’s fine. Secondary world fantasy or fantastic fictionalizations of our world don’t demand technical accuracy.
No battle plan, or so it is said, survives first contact with the enemy. Life comes at you fast. Shit happens. Etc. The point is, you cannot expect matters to run smoothly and according to a predetermined schedule. Things change, even as you’re walking out the door on the way to whatever is appointed. Don’t be surprised.
Reading a collection of Louis L’Amour stories has got me thinking about the Western. The Western genre has generated a solid collection of tropes and narrative expectations. It also, it seems, has exercised an influence on science fiction and fantasy; that is, certain speculative fiction stories traffic in the same tropes. All to the good, in my opinion.
I suppose I ought to dip a toe into what makes up a Western, before I proceed. This is a mere surface grazing. Attempting a precise definition of the Western is limiting. Why try to corral a genre with vast possibilities?
I can’t always be reviewing anthologies, you know. I do have other matters to occupy my attention. Here’s a snapshot of some of those matters.
What I’m reading:
The tide of Yule is ebbing this annus horribilis. (Has the near match between annus and anus ever been more appropriate?) Good riddance, I suppose. Still, I’ve made the best of it. I hope you have as well, dear reader.
Is there a more appropriate book for this year than Boccaccio’s Decameron? Not that I’ve personally holed up in a countryside villa to ride it out. I’m one of those who still goes into the office everyday. But I understand there’s quite a bit of that sort of voluntary seclusion going on. Read even just the first story of The Decameron: duplicity, corruption, malfeasance rewarded. Timely, right? (I figure I can make such a nebulous comment without offending anyone; it’s applicable enough that you can assume I’m referring to the bugaboos of your choice.)
Anyways, I thought I’d toss that out in case you’re looking for a book recommendation. That’s about all I have time to write today. I’m busy. I’m trying to finish the second draft of my third Karl Thorson novel by the end of next week. Then I hope to complete the third draft of my Cesar the Bravo novel by around the New Year. I generally take Sunday off to write this weekly post, but I can’t do it if I’m going to meet my self-imposed deadlines.
Have a good week.
I thought I’d offer a change of pace this week. Something different from my usual blathering. I’m offering a snippet from my novel Thick As Thieves. I hope you get a kick out of it.
What are the best taverns in fantasy? Where do you imagine yourself sipping a pint in rather unusual company? The genre is full of these joints, though most, sadly, go nameless. Of course, some of these you’d probably just as soon avoid, like a den of merriment in Arenjun’s Maul, in Zamora.
Whether we’re facing a world-changing pandemic, or not, I’m still working. Not just at my day job; I’m also still producing books. I expect to have another book out early in April, perhaps by the first. Specifically, Captain: Falchion’s Company Book Two, the sequel to Boss.
Falchion is back, now running his own mercenary company. I think you’re going to like this one.
I got the rights back to Thick As Thieves. I’m considering just putting it out myself, rather than shopping it around to another publisher. That way I’ll have a book out between Captain, in April, and Warlord, in July. What do you think? Sufficient distance? Too much? Not enough?
If you’ve read Thick As Thieves, do you have an idea what you think the cover art should look like? Or was the first edition’s cover on point?
The sequel to Karl Thorson and the Jade Dagger is off to the publisher. I’m waiting on comments. Of course, I hope it is perfect as is, without the need for more than, say, a proof read. There is a first time for everything, I suppose.
So, if you’re “sheltering in place” and in need of entertainment, I’m doing my best to keep you supplied.
I understand there is some sort of kerfuffle going on in the world. People panicking, going into lockdown mode. I’ve been sitting on the beach, sipping cold beer, and listening to the waves come in. We all react to existential threats in our own way, I suppose.