Sojan the Swordsman/Under the Warrior Star by Michael Moorcock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sojan the Swordsman: Sojan the Swordsman is the story of Sojan the Shieldbearer, a warrior odd among those of Zylor for his use of the a shield. Sojan experiences a variety of adventures, riding myats, rescuing a princess, and flying aboard airships.
While Sojan the Swordsman kept me entertained, it was obviously never meant to be a novella. It read like a hastily patched together collection of Sword and Planet short stories, several of which I'd already read in Elric at the End of Time. It was okay but not great by any means.
Under the Warrior Star: Former Olympic fencer and world class screw up Braxton Booker takes a trip into an artificial universe created by a government scientist. Can he free the people of Juna from the tyranny of the mantis-like Norwat, the ogrish Julon, and the tentacled horror known as The One and win the love of the beautiful Choona?
Now we're talking! Joe Lansdale wrote a love letter to Edgar Rice Burroughs and his ilk in this one. Instead of merely copying what Burroughs had done as Moorcock did in the Sojan story, Lansdale busts out a planetary romance all his own. While the plot is fairly standard for a planetary romance, Lansdale makes it his own with the entire adventure taking place atop trees of immense size with branches that dwarf redwoods. Organic swords, giant spiders, and a Cthulhu-like main villain make this story worth the price of admission.
All in all, I can only give this a three. While I loved the Lansdale story, the Moorcock one was only okay. Any fan of Sword and Planet/Planetary Romance will get a few hours of enjoyment out of this Planet Stories Double Feature.
View all my reviews