Sword & Sorcery from a Bygone Era: Tales of Attluma by David C. Smith

Sword & Sorcery from a Bygone Era: Tales of Attluma by David C. Smith

Tales of Attluma-small Tales of Attluma-back-small

Cover art by Tom Barber

David C. Smith has written a number of articles for Black Gate, most recently a fine review of Brian Murphy’s history of Sword-and-Sorcery, Flame and Crimson. He’s also the author of twenty-six novels and collections, including Oron, The Fall of the First World trilogy, and Robert E. Howard: A Literary Biography. His newest is Tales of Attluma, a collection of classic S&S tales from Bob McLain’s Pulp Hero Press, most of which appeared in hard-to-find small press magazines like Gordon Linzner’s excellent Space & Time.

I asked Dave to tell us a little about his new book, and he obliged in fine style. Here’s what he said.

I’d wanted to pull these stories together into one collection for many years. Periodically, I went through them, off and on, during the past twenty-five years, tweaking them or reworking them. As I improved as a writer, I found ways to open up many of the stories or take them into new directions, so that’s what I did. A few of the later ones didn’t need much done to them, such as “Patience Serves,” or even a very early one, “Ithtidzik.” But most of those written when I was in my twenties, I was no longer happy with… So I’m glad I waited so long to pull them together. And that was only possible because of Bob McLain. I didn’t think there was a chance in hell of an oversized commercial publisher picking up Tales of Attluma, but Pulp Hero Press is ideal. They work closely with their authors, so what I had in mind and what Bob was going for dovetailed nicely. And it’s interesting to see how I matured as a writer. The early stories revolve around plots; as I got older, the stories became character-driven or dealt with ideas. And I feel the quality of my writing has improved, too. I like that.

Unfortunately Pulp Hero Press doesn’t have a website — but Dave Ritzlin of DMR Books comes through by providing a virtual website for the book, with all the essential details. Thanks, Dave.

Here’s the complete TOC, complements of Dave Ritzlin.

“Descales’ Skull”
”The Generosity of the Gods”
”Feasting Shadows”
”Dark of Heart”
”The Last Words of Imatus Istum”
”Aliastra the Sorceress”
”Rhasjud’s Destiny”
”Blood Ransom”
”Dark Goddess”
”Come, Death”
”The Return to Hell”
”The Passing of the Sorcerer”
”Patience Serves”
”The Sounding of the Gong”
”The End of Days”
Author’s Notes on the Stories
Interview with the Author
About the Author

Tales of Attluma was published by Pulp Hero Press on April 23, 2020. It is 244 pages, priced at $14.95 in trade paperback. As of now, there is no digital edition.

See all our coverage of recent work by Black Gate authors here.

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Got my copy already! There is a good chance we’ll have a “group read” on David C Smith’s work (ie Attluma and Oron series) in the Goodread’s Sword and Sorcery group. Probably July-Aug time period, if members concur. Join us if you need reading buddies!


Do these tie in to the Oron novels? I had those on my long list to read and never got around to the first one.

Joe Bonadonna

Great job, Dave! I recall reading a couple of these in early manuscript form, many years ago. Looking forward to reading the finalized versions. Hopefully we’ll be able to hang out in your front lawn or back yard . . . 6 feet apart, of course.

David C. Smith

Glenn, these stories take place in the same environs as the Oron tales, which are also set in Attluma. A few of these were written pre-Oron, some around around the same time as I worked on those books, and a few later on. The tales vary from light-hearted to very, very grim to almost mainstream in tone. Two are sequels to The Sorcerer’s Shadow. Joe, we’ve bought a bean bag set for the back yard and are ready to start grilling as soon as we get some charcoal. Yes, come by! We can sit on the patio six feet apart and talk stories! : )

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