Getting into old school Sword & Sorcery today is easy. What with Paizo's Planet Stories, Del Rey's Robert E. Howard series, Night Shade Books' Clark Ashton Smith Collected Fantasies library, and other assort small press publishers, its easier to come by many of the classics of the Sword & Sorcery genre than it has been since the end of the seventies.
Still, a great many interesting stories and characters languish in Out-of-Print Limbo. Here are a few of the characters I've encountered over the years that ought to have collections in print, but tragically, do not, or are just less known than they deserve:
Kardios of Atlantis: Kardios isn't my favorite Manly Wade Wellman character (that would be John the Balladeer) but he is a Sword & Sorcery character, and he was left out of Night Shade Books' five volume Wellman short story series. Kardios is a minstrel, and sole survivor of Atlantis--who sank his homeland with a kiss. There are at least four Kardios stories appearing in the Swords Against Darkness anthologies. Possibly there are more elsewhere. Wellman infuses Kardios with gentle humor and aplomb in face of danger, adding up to a personality atypical for Sword & Sorcery protagonists.
Simon Magus of New Testament fame. The Simon stories combine sword and sandal action with speculative Lovecraftiana, and historical fantasy. Chaosium released a collection of the Simon Magus stories, The Scroll of Thoth in 1997, which is now out of print. There are also a couple of novels featuring Simon, but only Drums of Chaos, a crossover novel with Tierney's Lovecraftian SF character, John Taggart--and special guest appearance by Jesus--is still in print.
Prince Raynor: Henry Kuttner's prince of doomed Sardopolis, greatest city of the lost civilization of the Gobi. There were only two Prince Raynor stories--"Cursed be the City," and "Citadel of Darkness"--but their well worth your time. Kuttner gives these stories a slightly darker tone than most Sword & Sorcery of their day. In this way, as Karl Edward Wagner points out in Echoes of Valor III, Prince Raynor seems to prefigure Elric. His civilization in the Gobi may be lost, but Prince Raynor is actually in print currently, appearing in Paizo's Elak of Atlantis collection.
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