Savage Scrolls, Volume One (Pulp Hero Press, 2020). Cover uncredited.
Last summer there was an ugly incident involving the long-awaited publication of Flashing Swords #6 from Pulp Hero Press, the spiritual successor to Lin Carter’s legendary sword-and-sorcery series from the 70s. Editor Robert M. Price’s introduction, which read to me like an incoherent right-wing rant against feminism, proved toxic enough that four contributors pulled their stories immediately, and publisher Bob McLain made the decision to de-list and kill the book before it even went on sale.
That left plenty of good tales without a home, though Bob did promise that some would find a home in “a new anthology series – no politics, no drama, just sword-and-sorcery! – that I’d like to release later this year.” So I was especially intrigued to see the first volume of Savage Scrolls, a new Swords & Anthology series edited by the distinguished Jason Ray Carney, arrive from Pulp Hero in November. I ordered a copy last month, and I’m delighted to say it’s a thoroughly professional production.
And what a list on contributors! In addition to two tales salvaged from Flashing Swords (Adrian Cole’s Elak of Atlantis tale “The Tower in the Crimson Mist,” and Steve Dilks’s sword & sorcery “Tale of the Uncrowned Kings”), Savage Scrolls includes names that will be intimately familiar to Black Gate readers, including Howard Andrew Jones (with a new Hanuvar tale), James Enge (a new Morlock the Maker story), David C. Smith (a new Oron adventure) and D.M. Ritzlin (with a tale of Avok the Cytheran). In a Publisher’s Note at the back, Bob McLain teases readers with a promise that
The cover art will tell a story, spread over four volumes of Savage Scrolls. On the cover of this volume we have our characters on the cusp of battle: the barbarian, the cultist, and the sorceress. On the cover of the next volume we will have those same characters, with the barbarian, well, you’ll just have to wait and see.
A bold promise! Though why he’d draw such attention to the intriguing cover and then completely neglect to credit the artist, I have no idea. The artist isn’t credited anywhere, far as I can find. Maybe that’s part of the mystery.
Jason Ray Carney’s first blog post for Black Gate was Bran Mak Morn: Social Justice Warrior, and he’s promised us a behind-the-scenes peek at Savage Scrolls in the coming weeks.