Revisiting Some Sword-And-Sorcery

As I work away on various projects, I thought I’d link back to some earlier posts.

First, having just re-read “Queen of the Black Coast,” I recently revisited observations Bill Ward and I had about an earlier re-read. Bill knocked this one out of the park.

Second, Bill and I looked at a great Brackett story, “The Moon That Vanished.” We’d meant to analyze more, but we’ve both gotten pretty busy.

Lastly, here’s a post I penned back in 2013 discussing and contrasting the way Jack Vance and Robert E. Howard depicted women in their fiction. I don’t want to spoil the post, but I have to say that after binge reading a huge amount of Vancian fiction I hold even more strongly to my conclusions, and came away with some rather icky observations about some plot preferences Vance liked to return to again and again. And I don’t think they were employed, like some Robert E. Howard features, because he knew it would get him a cover. (If you’re not in the know, REH figured out that if he wanted a cover illustration for Weird Tales, the editor would be highly inclined to give him one if he put a whipping scene in the story. I can’t say for sure whether that actually meant more sales, or if it’s something that editor really enjoyed.) For all that I love Vance’s amazing world and culture building, he repeatedly has young women, just barely mature, being raped. Sometimes it’s depicted as “lighthearted” and one time it preceded the woman’s death.

2 Comments on “Revisiting Some Sword-And-Sorcery

  1. As much as I love Vance, this is a big issue with me as well. The Lyonesse Trilogy, for all its fantastic imagery and world building, has quite a few gut-wrenching moments involving girls. These scenes, unfortunately, weigh heavier than the stories’ beauty, and I doubt I’ll ever read them again.

    • Yes, exactly. The more I read Vance, the more I noticed THAT issue rearing its head in different ways in multiple texts. Given how much I love Vance, it was really disquieting. Happening once, or just the suggestion of it, in Planet of Adventure, was happenstance (man, do I love the Planet of Adventure books). But over and over and over through different stories suggests interest in the theme on the author’s part, and it’s an ugly theme.

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