Short Sorcery: Poul Anderson’s “Witch of the Demon Seas”
Nov30

Short Sorcery: Poul Anderson’s “Witch of the Demon Seas”

Short Sorcery: Poul Anderson’s “Witch of the Demon Seas” by Bill Ward “Let us not use words meant to impress the ignorant among ourselves,” said Chryseis scornfully. “Every sorcerer knows there is nothing of heaven or hell about magic. It is but the imposition of a pattern on other minds. It creates, by control of the senses, illusions of lycanthropy or whatever else is desired, or it binds the subject by the...

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Short Sorcery: C.L. Moore’s “Shambleau”
Oct15

Short Sorcery: C.L. Moore’s “Shambleau”

Short Sorcery: C.L. Moore’s “Shambleau” by Bill Ward “And this conflict and knowledge, this mingling of rapture and revulsion all took place in the flashing of a moment while the scarlet worms coiled and crawled upon him, sending deep, obscene tremors of that infinite pleasure into every atom . . . And he could not stir in that slimy, ecstatic embrace—and a weakness was flooding that grew deeper after each succeeding wave of intense...

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Short Sorcery: Fritz Leiber’s “Thieves’ House”
Sep28

Short Sorcery: Fritz Leiber’s “Thieves’ House”

Short Sorcery: Fritz Leiber’s “Thieves’ House” by Bill Ward More than any other classic sword-and-sorcery series, Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are associated with thievery. It isn’t just that the twain, the dynamic duo of tall Northerner Fafhrd and shifty little Mouser, are themselves consummate rogues of wild daring and tremendous fame, but that the world they usually inhabit, the crazy...

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Short Sorcery: Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Seven Geases”
Aug13

Short Sorcery: Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Seven Geases”

Short Sorcery: Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Seven Geases” by Bill Ward Hearken back to one fine day in prehistoric Hyperborea as the proud hunting party of Lord Ralibar Vooz, “high magistrate of Commoriom and third cousin to King Homquat,” scours the flanks of Mount Voormithadreth in the Eiglophian Range for rare quarry. Lesser sportsman might content themselves with the sabertooth cats that stalk the jungle girding the great...

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Short Sorcery: C.L. Moore’s “Hellsgarde”
Apr23

Short Sorcery: C.L. Moore’s “Hellsgarde”

Short Sorcery: C.L. Moore’s “Hellsgarde” by Bill Ward C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry is the kind of character a writer can build a series of stories around, sharply defined in ways that make her both immediately compelling and comprehensible to an audience, but with enough nuance to not only keep a reader engaged, but to ground the character in believability. And believing in Jirel – a flame-haired Medieval Lady with a temper...

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Short Sorcery: Robert E. Howard’s “The Tower of the Elephant”
Jan29

Short Sorcery: Robert E. Howard’s “The Tower of the Elephant”

Short Sorcery: Robert E. Howard’s “The Tower of the Elephant” by Bill Ward “Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.” – Robert E. Howard, “The Tower of the Elephant” The above is one of the most famous lines Robert E. Howard ever wrote, and it occurs as a young, somewhat naive Conan is mocked by a group of city dwellers in the...

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