Brian Murphy’s Gateways to Sword-and-Sorcery
Apr16

Brian Murphy’s Gateways to Sword-and-Sorcery

Brian Murphy’s Gateways to Sword-and-Sorcery by Brian Murphy Growing up I lacked access to sword-and-sorcery fiction. Stories of muscled barbarians and curvaceous women clinging to mighty thews were available only in drugstore wire-spinners or in the adult section of the local public library. Both were sadly out of reach of my meager allowance and the limited access afforded by my juvenile library card. If it didn’t exist in the...

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Amra Who? Inside Conan’s Secret Identity
Jan12

Amra Who? Inside Conan’s Secret Identity

Amra Who? Inside Conan’s Secret Identity by Bill Ward Quick trivia question: what is Conan holding in his hand when we are first introduced to the character? It’s not the bloody head of a Stygian priest or the becrimsoned blade that severed it. No, it’s a pen. Or, to be more accurate, a stylus – King Conan is improving the map of his Kingdom of Aquilonia when first we meet him in “The Phoenix on the Sword,” filling...

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Where to Start With Robert E. Howard
Jan01

Where to Start With Robert E. Howard

Where to Start With Robert E. Howard by Bill Ward Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) was a giant and a father to giants, his literary creations so potent that they have informed popular culture and permeated mass consciousness down to the present day. But their very ubiquity can obscure and deceive – if two people strike up a conversation about Conan, are they actually talking about the same Conan? What’s going on with all of these...

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Brian Murphy’s Flame and Crimson: A History of Sword-and-Sorcery
Dec01

Brian Murphy’s Flame and Crimson: A History of Sword-and-Sorcery

Brian Murphy’s Flame and Crimson: A History of Sword-and-Sorcery by Bill Ward In Flame and Crimson (2019) Brian Murphy has crafted no less than the first book length history of the sword-and-sorcery genre, from its origins and antecedents right down to its reflection in the popular culture of the present day. It is a work both indispensable and long overdue, one that fills a gap in our collective bookshelves while establishing...

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The Gothic Tradition and Sword and Sorcery
Oct30

The Gothic Tradition and Sword and Sorcery

Gothic Fiction and The Transgressive Supernatural, or, The Sword and Sorcery Protagonist Has a Sword! by Jason Ray Carney Sometime around 1790, something intangible happened. Trying to settle on any single definitive event is like trying to determine exactly when a pot of water began boiling. It can’t be done. The most we can do is point to a few bubbles: Immanuel Kant boldly defended the scientific method with his Critique of Pure...

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Defining Sword & Sorcery
Oct16

Defining Sword & Sorcery

Defining Sword-and-Sorcery by Howard Andrew Jones At Bride of Cyclops Con—happening right now!—there is an entire track based around sword-and-sorcery. We encourage you to check out the entire schedule and be a part of the con. Before we get to that, though, Tales From The Magician’s Skull editor Howard Andrew Jones takes a minute to define exactly what sword-and-sorcery means… The term “sword-and-sorcery” gets bandied...

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The Cosmic Horror of Sword & Sorcery
Oct09

The Cosmic Horror of Sword & Sorcery

The Cosmic Horror of Sword & Sorcery by Bill Ward The bones of sword & sorcery lie close to the skin, and one sure blade-stroke is enough to lay them bare for all to see. There is plot-driven pulp action there, at the core, but supporting that is a foundation of swashbuckling historical adventure, and expectations of encounters of the picaresque and the exotic kind. To be sure we can also see the unsentimentality of the...

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In Remembrance of Charles Saunders (1946-2020)
Oct04

In Remembrance of Charles Saunders (1946-2020)

by Bill Ward The world of adventure fantasy and sword & sorcery has grown a little dimmer with the passing of Charles Saunders in May of this year at the age of 74. Though best known among genre fans for his Imaro saga, Saunders worked diligently as a journalist and historian, with much of his focus over the years devoted to the Black Canadian experience, most especially as it pertains to Nova Scotia, which Saunders called home...

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Real Life Adventures – The Robert E. Howard House
Jan25

Real Life Adventures – The Robert E. Howard House

113 years ago, Robert E. Howard was born. Best known for his character Conan, Howard also created Solomon Kane, Kull the Conquerer, and the sword and sorcery genre as we know it today. If you play D&D or DCC, you have touched Howard’s work, whether you know it or not. To honor his birth, we present this special installment of Real Life Adventures, where intrepid writer-adventurer Marc Bruner visits Howard’s birthplace in Texas....

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The Magician’s Skull Wishes You a Happy Halloween!
Oct25

The Magician’s Skull Wishes You a Happy Halloween!

In this frightfully fun time of year, we’ve got a magical talking skull that just might want to give you a special greeting. The two issues of Tales From the Magician’s Skull provide a wonderful mix of sword-and-sorcery and classic pulp-style horror in each volume. With stories by such luminaries as James Enge, John C. Hocking, Violette Malan, Bill Ward, and many others, you get a great sampling of quality writing in a...

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Tales From the Magician’s Skull PDF Now On Sale!
May15

Tales From the Magician’s Skull PDF Now On Sale!

LISTEN IF YOU DARE! THOSE WHO HAVE DEEMED IT TOO DANGEROUS TO POSSESS A PHYSICAL COPY OF THE CHRONICLES I RELATE MAY NOW EASE THEIR SO-CALLED MINDS! MY ETERNAL BENEVOLENCE HAS GRANTED ME THE WISDOM—NAY, THE JUDICIOUSNESS!—TO GRANT YOU THE MEANS TO REVEL IN MY INEXACTITUDE RETELLINGS OF RENOWN! YOU MAY NOW ACT ACCORDING TO YOUR DESIRES.  THE SKULL HAS SPOKEN! If you are one of those people who only like to read a book on your...

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Real Life Adventures – The Robert E. Howard House
Jan22

Real Life Adventures – The Robert E. Howard House

112 years ago on this day, Robert E. Howard was born. Best known for his character Conan, Howard also created Solomon Kane, Kull the Conquerer, and the sword and sorcery genre as we know it today. If you play D&D or DCC, you have touched Howard’s work, whether you know it or not. To honor his birth, we present this special installment of Real Life Adventures, where intrepid writer-adventurer Marc Bruner visits Howard’s birthplace...

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