Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Issue #8 of Swords and Sorcery Magazine On Line

   Another month, another issue of Swords and Sorcery Magazine.
This might be my least favorite issue so far but that's because the first of its two stories is the weakest one they carried to date.    
   Called "Kaxzorus the Liberator", it's by Kyle Bakke.  The actual writing's average but the story is straight S&S boilerplate.  There's an evil wizard, evocatively (well, of REH) named Thursa-Thune, who's kidnapped children to feed to an amorphous blob in exchange for vast, demonic power.  Then there's our hero, Kaxzorus the Armesskvalann who ventures forth into the mountains to rescue the kids.  Along the way he happens upon an old friend who's conveniently learned the secret ways into old Thursa's keep.  You can guess the little bit that remains.
   I try not to be mean in any of my reviews or essays (and life).  It's too easy and doesn't serve any useful purpose.  I also know how hard it is to actually put something to paper and submit it, so I'd rather be encouraging than discouraging, but this story is so cookie cutter, so by-the-numbers, that I can only shake my head in disappointment.  So far even the most poorly written stories in the magazine have had something going on.
   "Shadow of Ragnarok" by Rebecca L. Brown is a much more welcome story.  Without giving away too much, since it's less about plot than mood and reflection, the story's set in days after Ragnarok when the gods are gone and the world is winding down.  Eldgrim is a Norse warrior who has sent his family south in the face of the fimbulwinter and survived the death of the gods never really expecting things to have gone the way they have.  Now he and his few comrades wait for the end that will leave nothing save one man and one woman.  Not a tale of action, it is one true to the gloom-laden northern thing that so permeates much of S&S.
   So read them, tell me what you think or not.  Say your piece or whatever.

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