Now and then I’d dabble in other S&S tales [“The Pistol and the Sword” (Dark Horizons, 1979), “But the Stones Will Stand” (Fantasy Tales 10, 1982), “Sword of Light” (Victor Summer Special, 1987), and “Day of the Dark Men” (Fantasy Tales Vol.12 #6, 1991)], but over time I drifted away from that particular genre, for some reason. (Although I never entirely left: the jokey “Saving Prince Romero” was published in Unfit for Eden: Postscripts 26/27, in 2012).
Then, during 2020 – whether it was the unusually summery weather, or lockdown madness, who can say – I discovered a new enthusiasm for the form. I found time to dust off some of my unpublished S&S fiction and give it a good polishing (read: re-writing from the ground up) and I’m glad to say the exercise bore a little fruit. And so – by one of those typical coincidences which often plague the writer’s world – two pieces are appearing within a sort time of each other. “Face of Heaven, Eyes of Hell” has just been published in Phantasmagoria #18, while “The Essence of Dust” will shortly be released on an unsuspecting world in Swords & Sorceries Volume 2. And although there is little to connect either tale, they do take place in a shared universe (or should that be multiverse?).
I think it’s fair to say my S&S days are actually far from over.