Sword & Planet

Baen. Dec. 2021. 352p. ed. by Christopher Ruocchio. ISBN 9781982125783. pap. $16. SF
Popular authors such as Tim Akers and Simon R. Green express their passion for the speculative genre by penning short stories that deftly merge elements of fantasy and science fiction, edited by Ruocchio (Empire of Silence). These are tales that nod to the classics, like Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series and Edgar Rice Burroughs’s “Barsoom” series, and they encompass the same sense of adventure. Knights slay monsters, grumpy mercenaries solve a murder mystery in an ancient labyrinth, a brave young girl stands up against a dragon on a distant planet, a pacifist nation kidnaps a warrior queen to protect them all from encroaching monsters, a suave outcast saves the empire, and much more.
VERDICT Space battles and sieges, aliens and feral gods, dragons and starships, warriors and underdogs, raiders and radiation: These tales expertly unite the standard tropes to create fun, action-packed, and fast-paced escapades. Fans of Ruocchio’s excellent epic series “The Sun Eater” will also appreciate the lengthier story that features Hadrian Marlowe. Every story is commendable for its unique intrigues, diverse settings, noteworthy characters, and the inventive use of swords in a sci-fi environment.
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