New Treasures: Sword & Mythos, edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles

New Treasures: Sword & Mythos, edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles

Sword and Mythos-smallInnsmouth Free Press has done some really terrific work recently, including the groundbreaking anthologies Future Lovecraft (2011) and Historical Lovecraft (2011), and the splendid Innsmouth Magazine (which we discussed here).

The Editor-in-Chief of Innsmouth Free Press, Paula R. Stiles, may be familiar to Black Gate readers as the author of the dark fantasy featuring the Queen of Hell, “Roundelay,” in Black Gate 15. With her latest anthology, Sword & Mythos, Stiles and her co-editor Silvia Moreno-Garcia have assembled another dynamite collection of stories, this one featuring sword & sorcery heroes and heroines coming face-to-face with monstrosities out of the Cthulhu Mythos.

The Blades of Heroes Clash Against the Darkest Sorcery

Aztec warriors ready for battle, intent on conquering a neighboring tribe, but different gods protect the Matlazinca. For Arthur Pendragon, the dream of Camelot has ended. What remains is a nightmarish battle against his own son, who is not quite human.

Master Yue, the great swordsman, sets off to discover what happened to a hamlet that was mysteriously abandoned. He finds evil. Sunsorrow, the ancient dreaming sword, pried from the heart of the glass god, yearns for Carcosa.

Fifteen writers, drawing inspiration from the pulp sub-genres of sword and sorcery and the Cthulhu Mythos, seed stories of adventure, of darkness, of magic and monstrosities. From Africa to realms of neverwhere, here is heroic fantasy with a twist.

Sword & Mythos was published by Innsmouth Free Press on May 1, 2014. It is 315 pages, priced at $15 in trade paperback and $5 for the digital edition. The cover is by Nacho Molina Parra. Order a copy or get more details at the Innsmouth Free Press website.

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Looks intriguing!

Martin Christopher

I had quite high hopes for this one, but it turned out to be even more disappointing than Swords & Dark Magic.

The editors of this collection mention in several places in this book how they want to present a blend of Howard and Lovecraft, and the stories inside it fail pretty much completely at that.

The influence of Robert Howard on any of the stories seems to be nonexisting. I think Atlantis is mentioned once, and that was about the only trace of connection to the world of Conan and Kull. With Lovecraft it doesn’t look much better and references seem to be limited to some name dropping of Cthulhu and Shub-Niggurath, while lacking all the elements that define Lovecrafts style.

The one shining light in this is the very last story in the book, which does an amazing job at recreating classic lovecraftian story in medieval China, with an elderly scholar and a young gentleman investigating strange events in the hills of a remote province. And even manages to weave into it some strands of Wuxia, the native Chinese style of Sword & Sorcery. Sadly, everything else in this book is neither Sword & Sorcery, nor Lovecraftian horror.

[…] As popular as Howard pastiches were at the end of the 20th Century, I think they’ve been eclipsed by the recent surge in popularity of the Lovecraft pastiche. Just in the last year we’ve covered at least a dozen new Lovecraft-inspired novels, anthologies, and comics here at Black Gate, including the just released The Madness of Cthulhu. And the truly hardcore can enjoy fiction inspired by both Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft, in books like the recent Sword & Mythos. […]

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