Is Sword-and-Sorcery Making a Come Back?

Grumpy Wizard

Sword-and-Sorcery was the beginning of the fantasy genre. It was overwhelmed by epic fantasy in the 1990s. Many thought it was never coming back. There has been a response to epic fantasy, the so-called grimdark, which shares many characteristics of sword-and-sorcery but remains distinct.

I see signs that there are some writers returning to sword-and-sorcery. I don’t expect to see Del Rey or Tor publishing anthologies of new stories. I think we are in the beginning stages of a small and spirited small press revival of the genre. I have a few ideas why that might be.

Much Diminished

Sword-and-sorcery has long been a genre sneered at by literary snobs. Even some of its foremost storytellers have been critical of the genre when it became overwrought and cliched.

In the fantasy world, epic fantasy has been the dominant form of the genre since the late 80s’. Multi-book series of…

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