Sword & Sorcery is not as popular as once was, but the few who still write in that ancient genre are usually above average writers. Robert Zoltan (a name that would fit in a fantasy setting,) the writer of Rogues of Merth, is no exception.Continue reading “Book review and recommendation: Rogues of Merth”
This is the third editorial [first and second] of Asimov’s Science Fiction Adventure Magazine, a short-lived magazine with only four issues (from late 1978 to late 1979,) where the famous writer explained his understanding of adventure, science fiction, fantasy, and their place in the current scientific era.
His thesis is that there is an important abyss between the pre and post scientific understanding of the world, especially concerning the problem of how to manipulate the universe or to make it work for us. He isn’t wrong, though, but I’d really like to know what was his opinion about writers like Jack Vance, who were aware of that pre and post scientific chasm but consciously played around it to undermine it and mix the different worldviews. Unfortunately, I have never come across any suggestion that Asimov knew or cared about Vance.
What the title says.
There is no great sword & sorcery adventure without exploration and discovery. Exploration requires wilderness, and wilderness implies a negation of the World-Building (“everything needs to be mapped and known”) ethos in sff. Adventures require tension, and tension is impossible if everything is mapped, if civilization is dominant, or if the protagonist can go back to their HQ to resupply and rest. Hence, a vast blank space on the map and danger from wich you cannot escape are required: dungeons, caves, ruins, or being trapped inside a magician’s tower. The hero, if he wants to survive, has no other option but to keep going down.
First of all, thanks to Cirsova for a free review copy of its first issue.
The pulps are fantasy’s father, or at least a similarly important family member. Unfortunately, for most people there is a huge cultural gap between the origins of that genre and what they actually consume now. As Jeffro Johnson wrote in his blog:
[…]the general view of science fiction history is that it just somehow jumps from Jules Verne and H. G. Wells straight on to Clarke, Asimov, and Heinlein.