Flashing Swords! is a series of fantasy anthologies published by Dell Books from 1973 to 1981 under the editorship of Lin Carter. It showcased the heroic fantasy work of the members of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America (SAGA), a somewhat informal literary group active from the 1960s to the 1980s, of which Carter was the guiding force. Most of the important sword and sorcery writers at the time of the group’s founding were members; later, membership was extended to other fantasy authors.
Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often inspired by real world myth and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, television, graphic novels, manga and video games.
Dell Publishing is an American publisher of books, magazines and comic books, that was founded in 1921 by George T. Delacorte Jr. with $10,000, two employees and one magazine title, I Confess, and soon began turning out dozens of pulp magazines, which included penny-a-word detective stories, articles about the movies, and romance books.
Linwood Vrooman Carter was an American author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an editor, poet and critic. He usually wrote as Lin Carter; known pseudonyms include H. P. Lowcraft and Grail Undwin. He is best known for his work in the 1970s as editor of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, which introduced readers to many overlooked classics of the fantasy genre.
The Flashing Swords! series provides a cross-section of the heroic fantasy of the period. Carter and SAGA also sponsored The Gandalf Award from 1974-1981. With the collapse of Carter’s health in the 1980s the anthology series, the Gandalf award, and likely SAGA itself all went into abeyance.
The Gandalf Awards, honoring achievement in fantasy literature, were conferred by the World Science Fiction Society annually from 1974 to 1981. They were named for Gandalf the wizard, from the Middle-earth stories by J. R. R. Tolkien. The award was created and sponsored by Lin Carter and the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America (SAGA), an association of fantasy writers. Recipients were selected by vote of participants in the World Science Fiction Conventions according to procedures of the older Hugo Awards.
A precursor of the series was Swords Against Tomorrow , edited by Robert Hoskins (Signet Books, 1970), an anthology which included pieces by four of the eight SAGA members of that time.
Swords Against Tomorrow is an anthology of fantasy stories, edited by Robert Hoskins. It was first published in paperback by Signet Books in August 1970.
In all, twenty-three stories were published in the series, all of them for the first time. These included two "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser" stories by Fritz Leiber (in #1 and #3), two "Dying Earth" stories by Jack Vance (in #1 and #4), the first two parts of the novel The Merman's Children by Poul Anderson (also in #1 and #4), two "Amalric the Mangod" stories by Lin Carter (in #1 and #3), a "Pusad" tale and the first part of the novel The Incorporated Knight by L. Sprague de Camp (in #2 and #3, respectively), two "Elric of Melniboné" stories by Michael Moorcock (in #2 and #4), two "Witch World" stories by Andre Norton (in #2 and #3), two "Brak the Barbarian" stories by John Jakes (in #2 and #4), one story by Avram Davidson (in #3), a "Deryni" story by Katherine Kurtz (in #4), a "Dilvish" story by Roger Zelazny (in #5), a story by C. J. Cherryh (in #5), a story by Diane Duane (in #5), an "Ebenezum" story by Craig Shaw Gardner (in #5), and a story by Tanith Lee (in #5).
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are two sword-and-sorcery heroes appearing in stories written by American author Fritz Leiber. They are the protagonists of what are probably Leiber's best-known stories. One of his motives in writing them was to have a couple of fantasy heroes closer to true human nature than the likes of Howard's Conan the Barbarian or Burroughs's Tarzan.
Fritz Reuter Leiber Jr. was an American writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He was also a poet, actor in theater and films, playwright and chess expert. With writers such as Robert E. Howard and Michael Moorcock, Leiber can be regarded as one of the fathers of sword and sorcery fantasy, having coined the term.
Dying Earth is a fantasy series by the American author Jack Vance, comprising four books originally published from 1950 to 1984. Some have been called picaresque. They vary from short story collections to a fix-up, perhaps all the way to novel.
Flashing Swords! #1 is an anthology of fantasy stories, edited by American writer Lin Carter. It was first published in hardcover by Nelson Doubleday in April 1973 as a selection in its Science Fiction Book Club, and in paperback by Dell Books in July of the same year. The first British edition was issued by Mayflower in 1974.
Flashing Swords! #2 is an anthology of fantasy stories, edited by American writer Lin Carter. It was first published in hardcover by Nelson Doubleday in 1973 as a selection in its Science Fiction Book Club and in paperback by Dell Books in February 1974. The first British edition was issued by Mayflower in February 1975.
Flashing Swords! #3: Warriors and Wizards is an anthology of fantasy stories, edited by American writer Lin Carter. It was first published in hardcover by Nelson Doubleday in 1976 as a selection in its Science Fiction Book Club, and in paperback by Dell Books in August 1976. The first German edition was issued by Pabel in November 1978.
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Sword and sorcery (S&S) is a subgenre of fantasy characterized by sword-wielding heroes engaged in exciting and violent adventures. An element of romance is often present, as is an element of magic and the supernatural. Unlike works of high fantasy, the tales, though dramatic, focus mainly on personal battles rather than world-endangering matters. Sword and sorcery commonly overlaps with heroic fantasy.
The Ballantine Adult Fantasy series was an imprint of American publisher Ballantine Books. Launched in 1969, the series reissued a number of works of fantasy literature which were out of print or dispersed in back issues of pulp magazines, in cheap paperback form—including works by authors such as James Branch Cabell, Lord Dunsany, Ernest Bramah, Hope Mirrlees, and William Morris. The series lasted until 1974.
The Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America or SAGA was an informal group of American fantasy authors active from the 1960s through the 1980s, noted for their contributions to the "Sword and Sorcery" kind of heroic fantasy, itself a subgenre of fantasy. When it developed a serious purpose that was to promote the popularity and respectability of Sword and Sorcery fiction.
Conan the Swordsman is a collection of seven fantasy short stories and associated pieces written by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter and Björn Nyberg featuring Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was first published in paperback by Bantam Books in August 1978, and reprinted in 1981. Later paperback editions were issued by Ace Books. The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in December 2002. The first British edition was issued by Sphere Books in 1978. The book has also been translated into Italian and French. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan.
The Spell of Seven is an anthology of fantasy short stories in the sword and sorcery subgenre, edited by L. Sprague de Camp and illustrated by Virgil Finlay. It was first published in paperback by Pyramid Books in June 1965, and reprinted in December 1969. It was the second such anthology assembled by de Camp, following his Swords and Sorcery (1963).
Kingdoms of Sorcery: An Anthology of Adult Fantasy is an anthology of fantasy stories, edited by American writer Lin Carter. It was first published in hardcover by Doubleday in January 1976 as the first of two such anthologies continuing a series of nine assembled by Carter for the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series.
Adrian Christopher Synnot Cole, is a British writer. He is known for his Dream Lords trilogy, the Omaran Saga and Star Requiem series, and his young adult novels, Moorstones and The Sleep of Giants.
Bibliography of science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction and nonfiction writer L. Sprague de Camp:
Flashing Swords! #4: Barbarians and Black Magicians is an anthology of fantasy stories, edited by Lin Carter. It was first published in hardcover by Nelson Doubleday in May 1977 as a selection in its Science Fiction Book Club, and in paperback by Dell Books in November 1977.
Flashing Swords! #5: Demons and Daggers is an American anthology of fantasy stories, edited by American writer Lin Carter. It was first published in hardcover by Nelson Doubleday in December 1981 as a selection in its Science Fiction Book Club, and in paperback by Dell Books simultaneously.
Thongor of Lemuria is a fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the second book of his Thongor series set on the mythical continent of Lemuria. It was first published in paperback by Ace Books in 1966. The author afterwards revised and expanded the text, in which form it was reissued as Thongor and the Dragon City, first published in paperback by Berkley Books in 1970. This retitled and revised edition became the standard edition for later reprintings.
Lore of the Witch World is a collection of science fantasy short stories by American writer Andre Norton, forming part of her Witch World series. It was first published in paperback by DAW Books in September 1980, and has been reprinted numerous times since. Early printings had cover art by Michael Whelan and a frontispiece by Jack Gaughan.
The Fortunes of Brak is a collection of fantasy short stories by American writer John Jakes featuring his sword and sorcery hero Brak the Barbarian. It includes all Brak stories not previously gathered into the earlier books in the series.