Enjoying the Widening Gyre

Another birthday approaches. That can often mean the sort of deep navel dive that requires oxygen tanks, acetylene torches, and a rescue party on stand by. What have I accomplished? What is left to accomplish? Have I reached my potential? Where did all the years go?

Not gonna do it. (Those readers of a certain age should read that sentence in the voice of Dana Carvey imitating George Bush.)

Golden Cities, Far. The Roots of Swords-and-Sorcery

I think a brief reminder is all that is needed here: Lin Carter was a gifted and prolific editor. One of the volumes he put together for The Adult Fantasy series was a book titled Golden Cities, Far. The introduction is one of his better efforts, and seems to have been exhaustively researched. In fact, the book benefits from Carter’s notes, commentary, and humor throughout. This is the second of his collections of old myths, legends, and tales that are the roots from which the tree of heroic fantasy sprang (following Dragons, Elves, and Heroes, which I suppose I ought to track down at some point.)

Swords & Sorcery. Or Swords & Monsters?

Swords & Sorcery is L. Sprague de Camp’s first entry in his four-volume series that spanned seven years. His introduction — an early sample of the short essay he’d return to with variations on the theme often enough — is a decent explication concerning what heroic fantasy consists of. (I found myself nodding in agreement at a portion of his opinion of William Morris.) With a promising introduction and a list of authors printed on the cover, I”m ready to dive in. But let me first make note of the gorgeous Virgil Finlay illustrations.

A Multiversal Valentine’s Day. Sorry/Not Sorry.

It is Valentine’s Day as I write this. Today means, I imagine, different things to different people. For some it is a romantic, Christmas-tier holiday, with all the Madison Avenue approved trimmings: dressed up, romantic, candlelit dinner, flowers and heart-shaped box of candy. Others, perhaps, are content with the candy, consuming the entire box alone, wearing a bathrobe and binge-watching Netflix. Some hardly note the day’s passing. There are any of a myriad possibilities.

The important question is, of course, how would famous fantasy characters react to Valentine’s Day? What sort of Valentine’s Day card would — for example — Elric pen in flowing runes for his one and only? Let’s find out, shall we.

Flashing Swords! #5: Demons and Daggers. A Transitional Anthology.

Lin Carter is back with another volume and more alliteration. Flashing Swords! #5: Demons and Daggers. The cover is drab and uninspiring, a tepid fantasy scene with a dull background, far from the evocative Sword-and-Sorcery covers of the previous volumes. The intro is equally unpromising. Carter writes that he is doing “something a little different” and is soliciting “stories for #5 from writers who have not yet become members of [SAGA].”  The names of the contributors — with the notable exception of Roger Zelazny do not inspire confidence in those hoping for the raw fire of S&S. No slight is intended to the others, all fine fantasists in their own right. But, I don’t read the FS anthologies for the larger, inclusive category of Fantasy. Well, I’ll keep a more-or-less open mind. Come with me.

Drudgery

Completing a manuscript and typing “The End” is always a great feeling. It’s an accomplishment, the culmination of endless invested hours. But “The End” isn’t really the end. Not even close.

Once you find a home for the book a host of new tasks descend upon you. We’re assuming for the purposes of this post that the book has a publisher, and is not being self-published. That option carries with related, but divergent necessities. Where to start?