The Flashing Swords Controversy (Robert Price)

Robert Price has stirred another shitstorm. For those who don’t know, Price is the atheist who has argued that Jesus never existed, worships Donald Trump, knows everything to know about the Cthulhu myths and Lovecratian scholarship, and has a life-long passion for the great pulp fantasies that PC culture so desperately wants to cancel. (In other words, he has serious pros and cons to say the least.) Recently he revived the Flashing Swords anthology series from the ’70s that had published sword-and-sorcery stories from giants like Leiber, Vance, and Moorcock. For this revived volume (#6) Price wrote a story and got other authors to contribute. Then he wrote a foreward to the volume — an unexpected political screed — of which the other authors were wholly unaware, and were livid when they found out; many of them demanded that their stories be withdrawn. The book has now been delisted.

Personally I think the offended authors were overreacting, and it’s their loss. Who cares what Price’s political opinions are? He’s the one who wrote the foreward, not them. I happen to agree with some of Price’s screed anyway — or at least his condemnation of the the feminist hatred for pornography — but even if I didn’t, if I were a contributing author, I would have given the foreward my blessing. Price’s politics have no bearing on any sword-and-sorcery story that I might write, and I’m not so insecure that I worry about being associated with those with whom I disagree. If we were talking about something like an academic work it could be different. There are cases where a foreward can indeed “speak for” the views, or at least the common ground, of a book’s contributing authors. This plainly isn’t one of them. If readers assume that it is, then that’s their problem, not the authors’.

This is a segment of Price’s foreward:

I think Price was more stupid than anything else to write this kind of a preface, instead of something more directly on-topic. As I said, if I’d been one of the authors, I would have gone along with it fine. But the fact is that many authors, especially these days, are not on board with the expression of political views that are guaranteed to call down censure.

Price’s story is called Immortals of Lemuria. Other tales that were included in the book are The Tower in the Crimson Mist, by Adrian Cole; The Lion of Valentia, by Steve Dilks; The Island of Shadows, by Paul McNamee; A Twisted Branch of Yggdrasil, by Dave Ritzlin; Blood Games in the Temple of the Toad, by Frank Schildiner; and Godkiller, by Cliff Biggers. I hope these stories will see publication at some point. Pulp fantasy is practically a dead genre, and I always appreciate revivals like the one Price attempted here.

For more details on the controversy:

Authors Ask That Their Work Be Removed From Flashing Swords #6
Publisher Delists Flashing Swords #6 After Authors Object to Foreword



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