Monday, November 22, 2010

October to November and beyond

Despite my ever growing Kindle wishlist, I still thoroughly enjoy the “used book” hunt. During my week off, I managed to shop at a nearby branch of The Book Rack. I could have come out with a lot of books. I kept under control, though, and came out with six. Two Saberhagen Berserker titles, Berserker Fury and Berserker Base. Two Poul Anderson books, The Armies of Elfland and Hrolf Kraki's Saga. Lastly, I completed Andrew Offutt's “War of the Gods on Earth” trilogy by picking up the second and third volumes.

As mentioned in previous posts, I'm enjoying discovering Saberhagen, so grabbing the Berserker titles was a no brainer. There were more Saberhagen titles, but I held off.

As for the Offutt tales, I know he was a mid-mid-list writer of sword-&-sorcery, but I'm still curious about his work, though not expecting much. These knock-off/pastiche/homages like Offutt and John Jakes' Brak the Barbarian would really be the perfect Kindle reads (if they were cheap enough.) I'm curious enough to read them, & grab them when I see them, but I don't go out of my way. If there were e-versions available, I'd let the print editions go to make room for better works on my bookcase.

I'm currently (finally) reading Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword and it is an amazing piece of work. If you don't know its background, here's the long story short. Anderson, like Tolkien, went into the past of the North for ideas and inspiration. Unlike Tolkien, who (from all I've gathered) delved deep into Old English and, by inheritance, used elements from Norse myth, Anderson went straight to the sagas and eddas. (I am no Tolkien expert - if I'm wrong, I'm sure I'll be corrected ;) )

The Broken Sword is a dark, gloomy piece and arrived about the same time as Tolkien. Anderson's work was overshadowed by the first wave of Lord of the Rings hoopla, and that is too bad. The Broken Sword is a very different destination from many of the same influences. For that alone, it's worth reading and comparing to JRR Tolkien's work.

The Broken Sword has been cited by Michael Moorcock as a huge influence on his Elric tales, and its obvious when you read Anderson's work.

(Yeah, don't let the “gay elf” cover fool you. The publisher was attempting to emulate artwork used for Lord of the Rings covers at the time. This other cover is more representative of the content.)

Writing? Nah. For those who don't know, my son was born last month. With a toddler and an infant, I've just about managed to do some reading. I am plugging away at one short tale though. I hope to get the rough draft done this week. If I can, then I just might manage a polish and submission by the end-of-month deadline. If not, I have other ideas to execute once I get back into routine.


  1. I loved The Broken Sword. I actually have copies of both these covers. I even did an article on it years ago. I also very much liked Hrolf Kraki's Saga. You're in for a treat there.

  2. I love the Broken Sword, thus far its my favorite of all Poul's works.

  3. I love Saberhagen's writing. He's not for everyone, but the man knew the importance of story and didn't let literary ambitions or writerly pretensions get in the way of a good tale.

    Offutt is a favorite of mine, though I believe his best writing was for his Hanse Shadowspawn character in the Thieves' World series.

    Anderson, I hate to say, I'm not very familiar with. I've read a little by him, but not much.