Thursday 30 March 2023

Submissions for Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Will Open at Midnight Tonight


Submissions period for Swords & Sorceries Volume 6
will open on the 1st April till the 30th April 2023
Payment is £25 per story regardless of length plus one contributor's copy of the paperback. The book will be published as a paperback and ebook. If a hardcover version is published we will pay an additional £25. Please send your submissions as attachments (doc, docx or rtf) headed  
"Submission - Swords & Sorceries 6" 

Please send only one submission - the one you consider the best fit for us. 

Although we prefer original stories we are prepared to consider reprints. Just let us know where and when it was previously published. 

You can send in simultaneous submissions, but let us know if your story is accepted elsewhere as soon as you can. Bear in mind you will only have to wait a maximum of one month and a week in which to receive a decision from us.

There is no limit on the size of submissions.  

There is absolutely no need to tell us anything about yourself because the only thing that matters is the story. Everything else is irrelevant.

All rejections and acceptances will be sent out by email by the end of the first week in May. Please don't enquire about your submission before then.

AI has become an issue recently. Let's be clear on our policy with regard to stories written using AI: not only will they be rejected but, if proven to our satisfaction, the author using it will be blacklisted.

And good luck!

In the past we have received a number of stories that may be fantasy but are not swords and sorcery. If you are unsure what it is, why not get a better idea by checking out volumes 1 - 5. Saying that, swords and sorcery is a broad genre and we are more than willing to consider stories that stretch its limits, as we have in the past.

Also check our dedicated facebook group: 


The contents of Volume One are:



TROLLS ARE DIFFERENT - Susan Murrie Macdonald




RED - Chadwick Ginther


The cover and all the interior artwork is by Jim Pitts.

The contents of Volume 2 are:

The Essence of Dust by Mike Chinn

Highjacking the Lord of Light by Tais Teng

Out in the Wildlands by Martin Owton

Zale and Zedril by Susan Murrie Macdonald

The Amulet and the Shadow by Steve Dilks

Antediluvia: Seasons of the World by Andrew Darlington

A Thousand Words for Death by Pedro Iniguez

Stone Snake by Dev Agarwal

Seven Thrones by Phil Emery

The Eater of Gods by Adrian Cole 

Illustrations by Jim Pitts.



The contents of Volume 3 are:
Sorcerous Vengeance by Lorenzo D. Lopez 
Seal Snatchers of Jorsaleem by Tais Teng
When the Gods Send You Rats by Chadwick Ginther 
Mother's Bones by Carson Ray
In the Lair of the Snake-Witch by Darin Hlavaz
The Rains of Barofonn by Mike Chinn
Wardark by Craig Herbertson
The Foliage by Rab Foster 
In the Lair of the Moonmen by Jon Hansen 
Sailing on the Thieves' Tide by Adrian Cole
Illustrations by Jim Pitts.



Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 4 contains eleven tales:

In the Iron Woods by Dev Agarwal

My People Were Fair and Wore Stars in Their Hair by Andrew Darlington

At Sea by Geoff Hart 

The Flesh of Man by Frank Sawielijew

City at the Mouth of Chaos by Adrian Cole

In the Belly of the Beast by Edward Ahern

The Tracks of the Pi Nereske by Wendy Nikel

Slaves of the Monolith by Paul D. Batteiger

The Green Wood by David Dubrow

Demonic by Phil Emery

The Whips of Malmac by H. R. Laurence


Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 5 contains eleven tales:

The contents are: 

The Rotted Land by Charles Gramlich

Skulls for Silver by Harry Elliott

For the Light by Gustavo Bondoni

People of the Lake by Lorenzo D. Lopez

Free Diving for Leviathan Eggs by Tais Teng

The Black Well by Darin Hlavaz

Degg and the Undead by Susan Murrie Macdonald

The Mistress of the Marsh by David Dubrow

Silver and Gold by Earl W. Parrish

Bridge of Sorrows by Dev Agarwal

Prisoners of Devil Dog City by Adrian Cole 

Wednesday 8 March 2023

Tuesday 7 March 2023

Book review: Leviathan Wakes: Book 1 of The Expanse


James S. A. Corey

One of the best science fiction series ever shown on TV, The Expanse is based on a sequence of eight novels by James S. A. Corey, pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, the first of which is Leviathan Wakes.

Having enjoyed watching The Expanse, I was curious how closely it followed the books. So far as Leviathan Wakes is concerned I am not disappointed. Covering the events portrayed in the first series of The Expanse, anyone who has watched it will be familiar with the main characters and events. For me, though, the most interesting aspect was how the book helped to fill in all those extra details about the characters and their lives which it was impossible to portray on TV without slowing it down. And also, of course, and perhaps even more importantly, the additional insights into the social, economic and political situations that human civilisation has to grapple with after it has expanded into the rest of the Solar System, with the successful colonisation of Mars and human habitations strung across the Asteroid Belt and on many of the moons of the outer planets.

It is a complex and frighteningly fragile civilisation. And, for all the technological advances humanity has made during its colonisation of the Solar System, it takes little to steer it towards a self-destructive war between the various factions: Earth, Mars and the Belt all have reasons to distrust each other, especially those millions who live in the Belt and have grown to resent what they perceive as exploitation by those who they disparagingly call the Inners (those who live on the inner planets of the Solar System, i.e.  Earth and Mars).

Throw into this already volatile mix an alien “protomolecule” with the terrifying ability to take over and alter biological tissue into something either hideously monstrous or, maybe even more terrifying still, into the next, almost godlike state which an alien civilisation many millions of lightyears from Earth achieved umpteen years ago. It was this unknown race that sent the protomolecule on a collision course with Earth with the intention of altering life there into something similar to their own, only for it to be accidentally drawn aside by the gravitational pull of Saturn onto one of its moons, where it has only recently been discovered. This is the catalyst that brings about death, destruction, deceit and war to the Solar System. James Holden and his small crew aboard the Rocinante and alcoholic Belter cop Detective Miller find themselves embroiled in a tug of war over the fate of wayward heiress Julie Mao, who is the key to the protomolecule and what it can do.

Leviathan Wakes is a fast-moving novel and every bit as good as the television series, and I am glad I decided to read it, even though the storyline was familiar to me. The added details and depth of character it provides to the leading protagonists was well worth it, not to mention an added clarity about the issues dominating life in this distant future, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series soon. As well, of course, of future series of The Expanse.

Leviathan Wakes is available as a paperback and ebook (Kindle).

Reviewed by David A. Riley

Review: The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon by Moira Greyland


Castalia House 2018, 528 pages

I am sure everyone who is into fantasy and science fiction will know the name of Marion Zimmer Bradley, winner of the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement and author of The Mists of Avalon and numerous Darkover novels and stories, as well as editing the Swords and Sorceress anthologies. During her lifetime she was one of the biggest names in the genre, and even had a long-established magazine named after her: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine.

Rumours of a darker aspect of the author’s life arose even during her lifetime, though, especially in regard to the activities of her second husband, world class coin expert Walter H. Breen who was banned from some science fiction conventions in the States from as early as the 1960s for his unwelcome interest in some of the young boys who attended them. He was first charged for these kind of offences in 1954, though back then he only received a probationary sentence. Later, his continual pursuance of vulnerable young boys who came within his sphere of influence resulted in his imprisonment.  

Not only was Moira Greyland’s father guilty of openly indulging in sexual activity with minors, so did her mother, who molested her from when she was three to twelve.

The narrative contains a fascinating if horrifying insight into the lives of people who saw themselves as living alternate lifestyle from the hippy heydays of the 1960s in west coast America, with drugs, alcohol and sexual “freedom”. Just as Charles Manson exposed one dark side of this, so the Bradley/Breen lesbian/homosexual household revealed another. And despite Bradley’s success as a best-selling fantasy writer, the children of that family were exposed to activities and people that left them broken. Herself a fervent feminist and lesbian, Marion Zimmer Bradley was openly disappointed that her daughter, Moira, did not follow suit. In the end Moira freed herself from the narrow vision of life which her “free-thinking” parents tried to imprison her in and carved a life and career of her own as a harpist, actor and writer. As much as The Last Closet is an expose of the warped worldview of her parents, this is the saga of a girl who managed to keep her mind intact and broke free from the indoctrination her parents tried to impose on her. It’s the story of how Moira Greyland managed to survive her warped upbringing and rise above it.

“In my family the slightest dissent amounted to complete, unequivocal betrayal.”

The true horror of her family was the freedom of expression and tolerance for beliefs which her mother and father demanded for themselves was denied, derided and suppressed for anyone holding views contrary to theirs. In the end, the long-lasting damage her father’s activities were having on the young boys he seduced was too much for Moira Greyland and it was she who finally went to the police, and by doing so saved others from him in the future.

The final two hundred pages of this 528-page book are appendixes of court transcripts that substantiate the accusations against Moira Greyland’s parents and the complicity of Marion Zimmer Bradley in ignoring and, indeed, in condoning her husband’s paedophiliac activities.

Most biographies of writers tend not to be particularly fascinating but the revelations in this book are quite the opposite and well worth reading, if at the same time it’s disappointing to find that one of the “greats” of fantasy and science fiction could at the same time be such a horrific mother.

Reviewed by David A. Riley