Friday, July 22, 2016

Warlocks and Warriors, Two Different Ones

Warlocks and Warriors, Edited by Douglas Hill. Mayflower Books, 1971, 159 pages.



I own and have read just about every anthology of heroic fantasy published in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. But I didn’t have this one up until July of 2016, and I wouldn’t have gotten it then if not for a webpage list put out by the writer G. W. Thomas called “A Reader’s Guide to Sword & SorceryAnthologies.”  Thanks to him for the heads up. 

I guess I missed this book until now for two primary reasons. One, it was published only in England as near as I can tell. Second, there is another book entitled Warlocks and Warriors, which was published in 1970 by Berkley in the US. That probably helped me overlook this one. In addition, the cover is remarkably ugly compared to the cover of the other collection, which I've pasted below.

The 1970s Warlocks and Warriors was edited by L. Sprague De Camp, who did quite a few anthologies around this time while he was also busy editing and rewriting Robert E. Howard’s Conan tales. It’s certainly a good collection, and quite varied, with stories by Ray Capella, Lin Carter, Robert E. Howard, Henry Kuttner, Fritz Leiber, C. L. Moore, Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith, H. G. Wells, and Roger Zelazny. I’ve already reviewed this book on Goodreads, however so I won’t say more about it here. 

The 1971 Warlocks and Warriors was edited by Douglas Hill, whose name I was not familiar with until after I posted this on Goodreads, whereupon a short biography of Hill appeared on my page. That was rather cool, and revealed to me that he also wrote stuff under the name Martin Hillman, who is included in this anthology. After a short and to the point introduction by Hill, the following stories appeared:
“The Sleeping Sorceress” by Michael Moorcock.
“The Curse of the Monolith” by Lin Carter and L. Sprague De Camp.
The Ogyr of the Snows” by Martin Hillman.
“The Wages Lost by Winning,” by John Brunner.
“The Wreck of the Kissing Bitch” by Keith Roberts.
“The Unholy Grail,” by Fritz Leiber.

I’d read “The Sleeping Sorceress” before. This is an early Elric story by Moorcock and is quite good. I’d also read “The Curse of the Monolith,” which is a Conan pastiche by Carter and De Camp. Not quite Howard’s Conan but it was an OK tale. I also had previously read “The Unholy Grail” by Leiber. This tale recounts the earliest adventure of the Gray Mouser, of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser fame. Not my favorite of the series, probably because I like the Fafhrd character better than the Mouser character.

What were new to me were the tales by Hillman, Brunner, and Roberts, and all three were quite good. Brunner, I know, of course. I’ve read a lot of his SF. This is a story of the “Traveller in Black,” definitely fantasy though not sword and sorcery. The “Traveller” is a kind of mixed angel/devil character, who has the power to grant people’s desires. I’d not previously read these tales. It was beautifully written but meandered a bit initially until it got to the main plot.

Martin Hillman’s “The Ogyr of the Snows” is definitely sword and sorcery, and a well written piece. The hero is Conanesque but it’s to be noted in this tale that he wins the day mostly by wit. According to the introduction, this tale was extracted from a “novel in progress” by Hillman, and I would certainly be interested in reading it. I've found since this post went up originally that Hillman was actually the editor, Douglas Hill, and he has written quite a few books. I'm trying to track down now which of these might feature the character of "Ogyr." 

The greatest treasure in this collection to my way of thinking, though, is “The Wreck of the Kissing Bitch” by Keith Roberts. This is a tale set in the world created by Michael Moorcock for his Ice Schooner book.  The world was already beautifully conceived and Roberts does a fine job of playing in the same universe. This was my favorite tale in the collection, concluding with a tense and exciting chase scene of sailed ships across the great ice seas. It sure made me want to go write some heroic fantasy.

21 comments:

George said...

I have WARLOCKS AND WARRIORS in the Berkley Books edition. I may have read it decades ago. I'm also fond of Donald Wollheim's SWORDSMEN IN THE SKY anthology by ACE Books. Later, I was a fan of the Lin Carter FLASHING SWARDS anthologies.

Charles Gramlich said...

George, I have those all as well. Swordsman in the Sky is probably my favorite heroic fantasy anthology of all time. Just love it. Was an early influence on my writing too. There's also the Swords against Darkness anthos edited by Andy Offutt that were quite good.

oscar case said...

I may have read some of these stories way back when I was into SF and stuff. Nice overview, Charles.

Keith West said...

I've got the Berkley volume, but I've never heard of the other. Now I'll have to hunt it down. Thanks for the tip.

David J. West said...

I've got the Berkley edition too but I would certainly pick up the other if I could come upon it in the wilds of a used book shop.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar, probably the Leiber and Moorcock. They were certainly out there.

Keith, I found a copy through Amazon.

David, it's worth having.

Brian Miller said...

what a treat. i know a few of those names from my own reading. i read most of moorcocks elric stories.

Charles Gramlich said...

Brian, I like Moorcock although he's not my favorite heroic fantasy writer. He could spin a good tale, though, and with some really lovely prose.

Cloudia said...

Thanks for this sharing really cool anthology!

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, no prob!

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I'd certainly like to lay my hands on some of these fantasy anthologies. I have got to look harder for them. Thanks for the review.

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, I did see a copy of this one on Amazon UK. Abe books also often carries older SF/fantasy stuff.

sage said...

Sounds like a delightful find. I'm impressed at your mastery of this genre.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sage, love this kind of book

Optimistic Existentialist said...

One of my best friends love those books :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Optimistic, Just fun stuff.

David Cranmer said...

Dig the art work on 70's paperbacks. Complete worlds contained in those images.

David Cranmer said...

Dig the art work on 70's paperbacks. Complete worlds contained in those images.

Charles Gramlich said...

David, Yeah, I should take some collective pics of some of these covers.

X. Dell said...

I'm not sure I can judge a tome by its cover, or for that matter a story by its title. But I must confess that if I saw it in a list of sci-fi/fantasy titles, I'd go straight for the "Wreck of the Kissing Bitch" (which I guess shouldn't be mistaken for the "Beck of the Kissing Witch").

Just for the fun of it, I looked up Michael Moorcock to see if that was his real name. Apparently it is, although he appears to have used a slew of aliases -- which is what I would do if I were him.

Okay, so my mind isn't always on the lofty or philosophical.

Charles Gramlich said...

X. Dell, lol. Yes, Moorcock is his real name. He's been a fixture in Fantasy for a very long time now. I met him once and he definitely seemed a decent sort