Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Spell Of Seven - L. Sprague De Camp

An all-star lineup of sorts, here. Apparently de Camp had been asked by others why one of his own stories was not in the earlier Swords & Sorcery volume, and he says here that putting your own story in is 'like shooting fish in a barrel'.

However, he has included one here and has left it to readers to judge whether he should be in the same company. Forty odd years later, and the answer is no. His is also the weakest story amidst the strong Lankhmar tales, Conan, Clark Ashton Smith's horror and some reasonable Moorcock.

In the introduction the editor briefly traces heroic fantasy's originals from romances, to the gothic and historial adventure until those like William Morris began to combine the two, as such.

Spell Of Seven : 1 Bazaar of the Bizarre - Fritz Leiber
Spell Of Seven : 2 The Dark Eidolon - Clark Ashton Smith
Spell Of Seven : 3 The Hoard of the Gibbelins - Lord Dunsany
Spell Of Seven : 4 The Hungry Hercynian - L. Sprague de Camp
Spell Of Seven : 5 Kings in Darkness - Michael Moorcock
Spell Of Seven : 6 Mazirian the Magician [short story] - Jack Vance
Spell Of Seven : 7 Shadows in Zamboula - Robert E. Howard

Wizard errands suck, so do commercial crapsters.

4 out of 5

You should not be mean to boys that grow up to be all powerful necromancers. Especially when they invite you to dinners inhabited by untold monsters.

4 out of 5

If it looks too easy, and they provide the transport and the trail, then, well, it is a trap.

3.5 out of 5

A couple of cannibals, a slave girl, a dodgy politician, a z-grade wizard, and a bloke with a sword somewhere in the middle.

3 out of 5

Too much royalty and dead things, but some reward.

3.5 out of 5

Spell use needs to be judicious.

4 out of 5

Conan is in Zamboula, and amazingly enough, comes across a girl, and she needs, and is also not what she seems. Royalty, serpent priests, and huge god-servants need some Cimmerian whup-arse, here.

3.5 out of 5

4.5 out of 5

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