G. W. Thomas
THE KINGS OF THE NIGHT
A READER'S GUIDE TO SWORD & SORCERY
Karl Edward Wagner (1945 - 1995)
Karl Edward Wagner was well-regarded in horror publishing circles, as editor/owner of Carcosa Press, but is first and foremost, the author of the Kane series. Perhaps the closest offspring to Robert E. Howard, the Kane novels are dark, bloody but far more intelligent than your average pastiche. Kane is an immortal, cursed at the beginning of time (ie: Cain) and the novels follow his adventures through eternity. This ever-changing panorama of countries and empires is as fascinating as the action which never slacks. Wagner has also written three excellent Howard pastiches, all recommended reading.
The Kane Series
1. Death Angel’s Shadow (1973)
2. Bloodstone (1975)
3. Dark Crusade (1976)
4. Darkness Weaves (1978)
5. Night Winds (1978)–British Fantasy Award 1976
6. The Book of Kane (1985)
The Bran Mak Morn Series
1. The Legion From the Shadows (1975)
2. The Queen of the Night (1977)
The Conan Series
1. Conan: The Road of Kings (1979)
Manly Wade Wellman (1905-1986)
Best known for his stories and novels about
the minstrel John, Wellman has made a career of writing about the South
and its folklore. In 1977, Wellman tried his hand at S&S for Andrew
Offutt’s Swords Against Darkness anthologies. Like his other work, the
Kardios stories have his gentle Southern humor and several good belly-laughs.
We can only hope for a collection of the stories some day. Wellman has
won the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ted White (1938 - )
Ted White’s most important contribution to S&S was his editorship of Fantastic in the late 1960’s and 70’s. At that time, his magazine was the only place to publish S&S. During the boom in fantasy during the late 60’s, White produced one novel, The Jewels of Elsewhen.
1. The Jewels of Elsewhen (1967)
Gene Wolfe (1931 - )
Gene Wolfe is, like Avram Davidson, a stylist, which is rare amongst S&S writers. The New Urth novels have won everything from the Nebula, World Fantasy Award, the J. W. Campbell Jr. Award to the Chronicle Award, making it S&S’s most lauded entry. This series features the most unlikely of heroes, a torturer, but then that’s Wolfe for you. Don’t read this expecting Conan the Barbarian. The effort always pays out in spades.
The New Urth Series
1. The Shadow of the Torturer (1981)–World Fantasy Award 1981
2. The Claw of the Conciliator (1981)–Nebula 1981/Chronicle Award 1981
3. The Sword of the Lictor (1981)–Chronicle Award 1982
4. The Citadel of Autarch (1982)–John W. Campbell Jr. Award 1983
5. The Castle of the Otter (1982)
6. The Book of the New Sun 1 (1983) contains #1, 2
7. The Book of the New Sun 2 (1985) contains #3, 4
8. The Urth of the New Sun (1987)–Chronicle Award 1987
Roger Zelazny (1937 - 1995)
The author of the Amber Chronicles has
had his try at S&S. Zelazny’s Dilvish the Damned has yet to reach more
than two volumes (generally available). Zelazny’s flair for
intelligent characterization offers the S&S reader more than cliches. The Changing Land is a novel, while the other two books are stories collections. The Bells of Shoredan was a limited edition volume, and not readily available.
The Dilvish the Damned Series
1. The Bells of Shoredan (1979)
2. The Changing Land (1981)
3. Dilvish the Damned (1982)