Swordsmen From the Stars by Poul Anderson, DMR Books 2020 Kindle ebook, 172 pages, cover art by Allen Anderson.
Three early fantasy-adventure novelettes by Anderson, showing off his ability to write in the pulp fantasy-adventure vein, better than most.
“Witch of the Demon Seas” originally appeared in the January 1951 issue of Planet Stories. Sorcery and greed for power result in captured pirate leader Corun and a band of mercenaries under the leadership of the sorcerer Shorzon sailing dark seas to meet with the feared water-reptile race once of the Xanthi, the Sea Demons in hopes of a treaty of conquest. The sorcerers’ beautiful daughter is the Witch. This made me think of the early Conan tales of Robert E. Howard.
“The Virgin of Valkarion” originally appeared in the July 1951 issue of Planet Stories. An ancient prophesy tells of an outlander from the north riding into the city on the night the King dies, and ending the Thirty-Ninth Dynasty when the “Mating of the Moons” occurs overhead, but the leaders of The Temple are sure they can assassinate the stranger first. Reading this, I kept thinking of Fritz Leiber’s Lankmar stories.
“Swordsman of Lost Terra” originally appearedm in the November 1951 issue of Planet Stories. Proud Kery of Broina felt like a ghost himself; shade of a madman flitting hopelessly to the citadel of Earth’s disinherited to recapture the fierce, resonant Pipes of Killorn—weapon of the gods—before they blared out the dirge of the world! A hint of Burroughs, in this one.
So, I’ve mentioned Robert Howard, Fritz Leiber and Edgar Rice Burroughs in describing these stories. I don’t think that’s reaching. If you like fantasy adventure, these are for you.
note: Poul Anderson is a favorite author of mine, so take that into account.
Love the covers, but this is just not my kind of thing. Not a big fantasy guy.
Really more adventure then fantasy, and not Tolkeinian fantasy, but I understand. You’ll like next weeks’ book better.
The Anderson from Planet Stories is so much different than the Anderson from Astounding/Analog or F&SF. A versatile writer, always entertaining at the very least.
True, but I really like these early stories as well as his more mature writing.
I would have loved these as a teenager but not quite my thing anymore. Although his Fantasy Novel The Broken Sword is one of my favorites of his.
He was a very versatile writer, Steve, and I like these early stories the same way I like Howard’s Conan stuff.
I don’t know if I would like these or not but I bought the ebook version to give them a try.
The third story is perhaps the weakest. At least you’ll see what pulp fantasy-adventure is like, as written at the time by one of the better writers of it. If you like Howard…
Anderson better than Howard, to my taste.
“Poul Anderson is a favorite author of mine,”
That shows you have good taste!
Ha! Thanks, JM.
I like Anderson’s early books and stories like these a whole lot more than most everything he did later on. It’s difficult to explain, but to me, they’re pure entertainment and great fun to read.
They are great fun, Steve, I agree.
I agree with Steve Lewis. I’m ordering this right now!
First, yay, you’re George and not a number. Second, I really enjoyed these novelettes, or long short stories, they were a lot of fun.
Anderson did a decent job when he put on his Robert E. Howard pants for CONAN THE REBEL.
I’ll bet it was better than decent, given his skill.