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The Best in Modern Sword & Sorcery: The Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Volume 3

Sunday, January 12th, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

The Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Volume 3-small The Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Volume 3-back-small

Cover by Zoltan

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly has been published, like clockwork, every quarter since June 2009. And every eight issues, like clockwork, the editors of HFQ assemble a Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly volume, as a way to celebrate another milestone and promote their worthy magazine.

These books are top-notch examples of modern sword & sorcery (and I’m not just saying that because I was invited to write the introduction for Volume I.) In his review of Volume I, Fletcher Vredenburgh wrote:

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly is… the most consistent forum for the best in contemporary swords & sorcery. Some may think I’m laying it on a little thick, but The Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly: Volume 1, 2009-2011, a distillation of the mag’s first three years, should prove that I’m not.

Volume III has just arrived, with a dynamic cover by Zoltan and stories by Charles Gramlich, P. Djéli Clark, Adrian Simmons, David Farney, and many others — plus an introduction by Darrell Schweitzer, and original art for each story by Miguel Santos, Justin Pfiel, Garry McCluskey, Robert Zoltan, and others. It’s an all-around gorgeous package, and a fine reminder that Heroic Fantasy is still a vibrant genre in the 21st Century. Here’s the complete Table of Contents.

Sword and Sorcery Is What I Mean When I Point My (Insert Cutlery of Choice) At It, Darrell Schweitzer
“A Whisper in Ashes,” Charles Gramlich
“Don Quixote’s Quandary,” Colleen Anderson
“A Lonely Grave on the Hill,” Cesar Alcázar
“Corinth,” Gerald Henson
“The Region Linuis,” Lorna Smithers
“The Last First Time,” Colin Heintze
“Fortune-Teller,” E.L. Schmitt
“The Sword,” Cullen Groves
“Mouth of the Jaguar,” Evan Dicken
“A Matter of Goats,” Ben Fenwick
“The Tomb Robber’s Tale,” Sean P. Robson
“Lady Cardula and the Gryphon,” Shawn Scarber
“At the Sign of the Midpoint Tavern,” the editors
“Chiron,” Gary Every
“Shadows and Foxfire,” R. Michael Burns
“With a Golden Risha,” P. Djéli Clark
“Auspicious Events at Swift Creek Farm,” Adrian Simmons
“Witch and Palidin,” Reilly S. Blackwell
“Crazy Snake and the Ciguanaba,” Eric Atkisson
“The Madness of the Mansa,” Cullen Groves
“The Reeds of Torin’s Field,” Andrea G. Stewart
“Shamans,” David Farney
About the Artists
About the Editors
Kickstarter Contributors

The Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Volume 2-small The Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Volume 2-back-small

The Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Volume II (2017)

Our previous coverage includes:

New Treasures: The Best Of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Volume 1 by John O’Neill
The Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly: Volume 1, 2009-2011, compiled by the Editors of HFQ by Fletcher Vredenburgh
The Finest in Modern Sword & Sorcery: The Best of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly: Volume 2, 2011-2013
Discussing All Things Fantasy, Past, Present, and Future: An Interview with Adrian Simmons and David Farney of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly by Joe Bonadonna
Sign up to Support Heroic Fantasy Quarterly through Patreon!

If you haven’t had the opportunity to try the magazine, why not check out one of their recent issues? Their entire back catalog (42 quarterly issues, and counting!) is available free online.

The editors have also created a Patreon where those who love quality fantasy can make meaningful contributions. Here’s HFQ editor and Black Gate blogger Adrian Simmons:

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly has brought new voices in sword and sorcery, adventure fiction, and historical fiction to the people since 2009. On our shoestring budget we have hit our goal of publishing three stories and two poems every three months AND started working in artwork, AND starting working in audio; and with more funds we could do much more.

Even just a few dollars a month can have a huge impact. Make a contribution to HFQ here, to help ensure one of the best modern fantasy magazine can continue for years to come. And check out their latest issue here.


  1. I’m jealous! My copy hasn’t arrived yet. Even though I haven’t read all of the stories in volumes 1 and 2, I’m still looking forward to this one.

    Several times now I just randomly select a story from either volume and its always entertaining.

    The only problem with that is after you finish a story you want another with those characters.

    Comment by Glenn - January 13, 2020 9:23 am

  2. S&S is a genre that calls out for serial storytelling. But has there been a modern S&S series that could lay claim to being this generation’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser? A series featuring compelling characters you really enjoy spending time with?

    A few possibilities come to mind, including the Dhulyn and Parno Novels by Violette Malan:

    Tim Pratt’s tales of Rodrick the thief (called “Fafhrd-and-Grey-Mouser-style sword and sorcery adventure” by SF Signal):

    The Copper Cat novels by Jen Williams:

    The Black Iron Legacy books by Gareth Hanrahan;

    I know I must be missing several. Any suggestions out there?

    Comment by John ONeill - January 13, 2020 10:56 am

  3. Woo! Thanks for spreading the word, John.

    Glenn, did you order it as part of our kickstarter?

    Comment by Adrian Simmons - January 13, 2020 10:57 am

  4. Yes, I did. I’ve been getting the email updates as the project went along.

    Comment by Glenn - January 13, 2020 11:29 am

  5. John, the Egil & Nix series by Paul S. Kemp is billed as a F&GM type stories.

    There are three stand alone books in that series. The first being The Hammer and the Blade.

    Gotrek and Felix Warhammer books?

    I feel like every month i see a new series whose cover quote either references Tolkien or Leiber.

    Comment by Glenn - January 13, 2020 12:02 pm

  6. I need this and ‘yay Charles Gramlich!” – he was a writer on my Strange Worlds Anthology

    Comment by Barsoomia - January 13, 2020 4:24 pm

  7. Adrian, it was waiting for me in my mailbox when I got home!

    Comment by Glenn - January 13, 2020 6:49 pm

  8. Glenn, glad to hear it! How did it look?

    John, I feel it would be improper of me not to mention that in addition being an excellent illustrator, Robert Zoltan is also an excellent writer (He’s been in HFQ twice now), and has collected his Dareon and Blue stories in his book ROGUES OF METRTH.

    Comment by Adrian Simmons - January 14, 2020 12:00 am

  9. Looks great next to volumes 1 and 2

    Comment by Glenn - January 14, 2020 1:32 am

  10. Glenn, excellent! How does the interior artwork look?

    Comment by Adrian Simmons - January 15, 2020 10:54 am

  11. It looks great just flipping through!

    Comment by Glenn - January 16, 2020 7:15 pm

  12. Glenn- woo hoo!

    I am always amazed at How HFQ has been able to get both incredible writers and incredible illustrators.

    Comment by Adrian Simmons - January 17, 2020 11:16 am

  13. > John, the Egil & Nix series by Paul S. Kemp is billed as a F&GM type stories.


    Thank you! I spent five minutes racking my brain for the name (or author) of that series before giving up and posting the others on the list. All I could remember was the covers…

    > Gotrek and Felix Warhammer books?

    I should have remembered this as well.


    Comment by John ONeill - January 20, 2020 2:01 am

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