We’re pleased to welcome the first of FOUR new Castalia House bloggers today, as Morgan makes his debut with a post on what he describes as the Sword & Sorcery Extinction Event:
In the early 1980s, if you were new to the sword and sorcery genre, you
could go to your local chain bookstore, generally B. Dalton or Walden
Books and get the core library in short order. Robert E. Howard’s Conan,
Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Michael Moorcock’s Elric
were all there. There was a period around 1983 that you could get Karl
Edward Wagner’s Kane books, C. L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry, and Timescape
editions of Clark Ashton Smith. Sword and sorcery in paperback form went
back to 1966 with the Lancer editions of Conan. There was a post-Conan
sword and sorcery boom in the late 1960s where you had Brak, Thongor,
Kothar with eye catching covers painted by Frank Frazetta or Jeff Jones.
That died out around 1971.
There was a second boom in the late 1970s
fueled by Zebra Books reissues of Robert E. Howard non-Conan material
and Berkley Medallion issuing of nine collections and one novel and
another six reissues of previous Zebra paperbacks with new covers. All this created a coat tails effect with new sword and sorcery novels
and anthologies published. Many of them were bad. Some of the books were
really science fiction disguised to look like sword and sorcery. The
minor publishers such as Manor, Zebra, and Tower were looking for
anything to slap a barbarian with a sword on the cover. Those publishers
were gone in the early 80s leaving Ace, D.A.W., Bantam, Del Rey, and
the new Tor Books as the main publishers.
Morgan will be blogging on Sundays; we’ll be introducing the other new bloggers in the coming weeks.