S&S: Brian Murphy: The History Of Sword And Sorcery

After a long run of writing cyberpunk fiction (7 novels, about to finish up #8, and 1 novella), I’m ready to switch train tracks. I had the itch to jump into medieval fantasy, but maybe I’ll go back a little further, to around the time when Rome faded out of the limelight and the dark age began. Sword And Sorcery is looking more and more attractive to me, but since I can’t ever do things in simple ways, I’ve got other big concepts wanting to encroach on top of that: Cthulhu Mythos and the Sumerian Pantheon (possibly at odds with one another), Arthurian legend, RPG gaming tropes (including ideas from Ironsworn), and of course inspiration from the one video game that got me hooked on writing fantasy in the first place, Diablo II by Blizzard Entertainment.

It sounds like a lot to grasp, and it is, but taking it one step at a time and building the groundwork, starting in one corner and expanding the tapestry from there, I think I can really get things rolling along. I want to make this an Open World too, to encourage other authors into adding their own ideas into the mix. See my two posts: Cyberpunk Challenge Write This and Cyberpunk Challenge Story Archive for more info on what I’m talking about. Posts on the Sword And Sorcery theme will have S&S in the title for easier searching.

Sword And Sorcery has its own little niche within the broader Fantasy genre. It’s not high fantasy like Lord Of The Rings, and it’s not political fantasy like Game Of Thrones. It’s more like rough and tumble Conan The Barbarian taking on small legions by himself, like Bruce Lee with nunchucks against a warehouse full of Triad, or Luke Skywalker and Han Solo against half the Imperial Forces. (By the way, Star Wars is considered more Sword And Sorcery than Science Fiction!) I need to brush up on my Conan first, and that’s where this discussion between Brian Murphy and Robert Zoltan comes in. I collected a few notes for myself while I listened that I will be checking out further. They’re posted after the vid.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLMlyQ-MqX4

Descrip: Join Robert and Edgar the Raven as they welcome Brian Murphy, author of Flame and Crimson: A History of Sword and Sorcery to the Dream Tower, for a long in depth discussion of Sword and Sorcery literature, the idea of genre, mythology and the imagination, and the importance of the frontier of unexplored vistas of both the mind and nature. Also, Robert agonizes over what genre his Rogues of Merth series might be while Edgar endures.

Show Notes: importance of fantasy literature, heroic fantasy, sword and sorcery, Weird Tales, Robert E. Howard, H. Rider Haggard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber, C. L. Moore, Michael Moorcock, genres, frontier, city, savagery, barbarians, barbarism, civilization, H. P. Lovecraft, Frank Frazetta, mythology, the mythological field, collective unconscious, C. J. Jung, Joseph Campbell, William Blake, pulps, pulp literature, literary, imagination, commerce versus art, Tolkien, high fantasy, working class heroes, royalty, lifestyles of the medieval rich and famous, Rogues of Merth, Dream Tower Media, nature, wilderness, Neolithic Old Europe, the Goddess, Aryan people, Minoan culture, Marija Gimbutas, agriculture, patriarchy, matriarchy, history, education, industrial revolution.

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List of influential S&S writers:

Robert Howard – Conan stories

Fritz Leiber – Farfhrd novels

Jack Vance – Dying Earth

Michael Moorcock – Elric novels

C.L. Moore – Jiral And Joirey

The Ten Greatest Sword-and-Sorcery Stories by Robert E. Howard

Sword And Sorcery page on Goodreads

Best Sword and Sorcery Books on Goodreads

Brian Murphy’s Flame And Crimson book on Amazon

Robert Zoltan’s magazine Sexy Fantastic, very sexy!

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