November 16, 2004

Saberhagen Books

The Omnibus Version of Saberhagen's Swords Books.

I figure I'll start reviewing some of the books I mentioned yesterday for the sake of completeness. I'll start with Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords. This is actually a trilogy that has been repackaged into an omnibus. The setting is ancient times with all the Roman Gods. Vulcan decides to forge some super-powerful swords and throw them into the mix of mortals so the Gods can watch the fun.

The problem occurs when one of the gods decides to play perverse mind-games with a mortal and ends up pissing the mortal off. The mortal gets his hands on a sword and sends it on its way to kill the god. And it works. So now the gods realize that they just screwed up big time, and they have to be really careful with the swords and try to get them back. What ensues is a trilogy of mindless violence in which the swords are more interesting than the characters. Hacktacular, basically.

It's a good one for the kids, because they learn all about mythology in school, and it is a good introduction into a mix of genres. Saberhagen followed up this successful series with a series of 8+ books of "Lost Swords", each one following a particular sword (Farslayer, Woundhealer, Shieldbreaker, Sightblinder, Wayfinder, Stonecutter, Coinspinner, Mindsword are the names that come to mind), but I found the quality was a bit of a dropoff from the initial spark of the first book, so I quit after the 3rd or 4th one.

Saberhagen is probably more famous for his series of "Berserker" titles, about a race of intelligent machines that fly around through space exterminating all living creatures as quickly as possible. I've read a few of those, but I never bothered to try to excavate the whole series and read it from any kind of logical beginning. I found the Berserker stories pretty similar to his other stuff; mindless fun.

Posted by Observer at November 16, 2004 08:59 AM

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