Last September we reported here on the massive stack of research material Paula Guran was digesting in a noble attempt to produce the ultimate modern Swords & Sorcery anthology. The project, Swords Against Darkness, now has a cover (above right), and a release date (July). It does not (yet) have a table of contents. But when it does, you’ll be the first to know.
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to put Paula’s cover side by side with its namesake, Andrew J. Offutt’s groundbreaking 1977 paperback anthology from Zebra, which spawned a series of five books containing original S&S tales from Poul Anderson, Tanith Lee, Charles R. Saunders, Orson Scott Card, Charles de Lint, Diana L. Paxson, Keith Taylor, Manly Wade Wellman, Richard L. Tierney, David Drake, Ramsey Campbell, Andre Norton, and many others. Paula’s new anthology is twice as long as that slender paperback, and will come crammed with classic stories by Leigh Brackett, Robert E. Howard, C.L. Moore, Michael Moorcock, Tanith Lee, Steven Erikson, and many others.
Of course, Offutt’s version also boasted an original cover by the great Frank Frazetta, and it’s hard to compete with that. The new cover goes for a more modern look and, while I’m old-school enough to wish for cover art instead of a photo edit, I think it does the job well enough. Here’s the back cover text.
[Click the images for bigger versions.]
Flashing swords and fearsome magicks… high adventure and wondrous wizardry… dread monsters and vast rewards…
Tales of swashbuckling sword and sorcery at their best offer keen wit, ingenious perception, freewheeling imagination, and canny invention. From its swashbuckling beginnings of good versus evil battles to clashes of more nuanced principles set in complex settings to havoc shaped by grittier perspectives, ambiguous morality, deep history and expansive worldbuilding ― readers continue to be thrilled by the exploits of great warriors and mighty mages.
Swords Against Darkness: an epic anthology of short stories and novellas from classic to modern, each tale a memorable vision from masters of mistresses of heroic fantasy past and present!
Swords Against Darkness was published by Zebra Books in February 1977. It is 288 pages, priced at $1.95. The cover is by Frank Frazetta.
Swords Against Darkness will be published by Prime Books on July 11, 2017. It is 576 pages, priced at $19.95 in trade paperback.
Our previous articles in the Tale of Two Covers series include:
The Last Page by Anthony Huso
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
Ellen Kushner on Basilisk
Shadows and Tall Trees 7 edited by Michael Kelly
Alan Baxter’s Crow Shine and Sarah Remy’s The Bone Cave