Book Review: Sword and Planet

Sword and Planet (2021) – edited by Christopher Ruocchio

Genre: Anthologies – Science Fantasy (Sword and Planet)

Publisher: Baen

352 Pages

$6.99 (e-book), $16.00 (paperback), $8.99 (MM paperback)

Rating: 4/5

This enjoyable anthology of new fiction is based on, as you might expect given the title, the “sword and planet” sub-genre of science fiction. Or, to be more specific, adventure fantasy set in space or on other planets. Think Burrough’s John Carter of Mars or Brackett’s Eric John Stark.

The two standouts to me were:

“Queen Amid Ashes” (by editor Christopher Ruocchio) – I think is some of Ruocchio’s best writing in the entire Sun Eater series. The plot is very simple, yet it leaves its mark on you long afterwards. It’s both a great introduction to the main themes of the series to newcomers (plus, as it’s told from Hadrian’s POV, it reads like a main series novel) and also a deepening of them for returning readers, knowing what comes later in the series.

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Nakh-Maru” (Jessica Cluess) – I think this story, of all the others in the anthology, best captured the adventurous feel of sword and planet: non-stop action, larger than life characters, and cool set pieces. It was a blast to read.

Other highlights:

“A Murder of Knights” (Tim Akers)
“Power and Prestige” (D.J. Butler)
“Saving the Emperor” (Simon R. Green)
“Chronicler of the Titan’s Heart” (Anthony Martezi)
“A Knight Luminary” (R.R. Virdi)
“The Test” (T.C. McCarthy)