I've been in a sword & sorcery mood lately. It was triggered by the arrival in the mail if the first season DVD set of a syndicated fantasy series called Legend Of The Seeker. Based on a series of fantasy novels by author Terry Goodkind, the television show is produced in New Zealand by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, and the rest of the crew that made Hercules the Legendary Journeys and Xena, Warrior Princess a decade ago.
The storyline is pretty standard fantasy fare, but the cast is good, the stunts and swordplay skillful, and the special effects superior. It's a fun show.
Watching the season with my wife over the last couple of weeks also prompted me to hit my sword & sorcery bookshelf and delve into some of the paperbacks I've bought over the last couple of years that I hadn't yet read. Among these was the second "Prester John" novel by Norvell Page (author of The Spider pulps), Sons Of The Bear God.
It was great, and a solid follow up to the other Prester John novel, Flame Winds. The only problem I had with it - and it sure wasn't any fault of the story or Page's writing - was that I had just recently read Roy Thomas and John Buscema's adaptation of the same story, where they turned it into a Conan adventure for Marvel Comics' Conan The Barbarian series back in the early Eighties (and reprinted by Dark Horse Comics in Volume 17 of their Chronicles of Conan collections).
Right now, I'm zipping through Lin Carter's Thongor And the Dragon City, the second (revised) book in the Thongor of Lemuria cycle. I've said before that I'm a big fan of Carter and believe him to be an underrated author; his predilection for pastiche has hurt his reputation, but I can't fault the guy for writing what he loved.
After I finish this one, I'll probably read through the rest of the Thongor books I have while I'm still in a fantasy fiction mood. It makes for a pleasant - if temporary - respite and escape from the seemingly overwhelming real-world problems that my wife and I are tryuing to deal with lately.
But then, that's why they call it "escapist literature," right?
(And the beautiful Jeff Jones cover paintings are appealing, too.)