Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Heroic or not?

Turns out a debate opened, on Facebook or thereabouts, two days ago, about the fact whether Howard’s Conan stories are sword & sorcery or heroic fantasy.
Because that’s an important thing, you see.
To some.
Apparently.

I was not present when the thing started, but apparently a friend referring to Conan as sword & sorcery caused somebody’s knicks to get in a twist.
Which is interesting, because everything started from a discussion about Fritz Leiber (him again), and we all know – or should know – that the label of Sword & Sorcery was coined by Leiber when Moorcock asked him about a tag for “the sort of fantasy stories Robert E. Howard wrote”.
It was 1961, the venue was the fanzine Amra.

So, the point should be moot, and yet… is there a difference?

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Ruminating about sword & sorcery

scan0001I am writing an article about sword & sorcery.
Now, mind you, I have written a lot about the genre – a lot of scraps of ideas, scattered here and on my Italian blog, basically me, talking out loud in a vain attempt at putting my ideas in order.
But this time it is different – because I have pitched an article to a learned magazine, and therefore I must write something that will, hopefully, make sense.

I have been through a lot of discussions, in the last few weeks, about the definition of sword & sorcery – and indeed a good friend of mine just posted on his blog a thing called The Definition of Sword & Sorcery (According to Myself), grab yourselves a translation system and check it out, it’s not bad, not bad at all1.
But I still find it extremely unsatisfactory.
And of course it’s just me – so here I am once again talking out loud to myself, trying to give my ideas some order. Continue reading