Sword & Planet

sppicPicking up a new book to read, is a lot like a deciding on which candy to eat. Much like books, when I was a kid … there wasn’t much of a selection. But now there is so many types to choose from … ones with peanuts or almonds, coconut or caramel, dark chocolate or white chocolate.

Luckily, there is the perfect subgenre for those of us whose book preferences tend to straddle between the worlds of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Sword and Planet combines all of the allure and brute force of a traditional fantasy story with the imaginative, endless potential of a space drama. Who doesn’t like the idea of a human barbarian decapitating aliens and rampaging around inside a space station? The short answer is no one!

My Saturday mornings as a kid were spent watching what is arguably the best example of Sword and Planet available on television. Of course, I’m speaking of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

It’s a flawless genre, truly. Take a character(perhaps even from earth, misplaced on another planet) and have them battle it out on that strange world against a technologically advanced race of people that are native to that planet. It’s such an entertaining platform, that can completely overlook the numerous questions that pop up.

How can a human, use to Earth’s atmosphere, possibly survive the foreign environment of a different planet?

…. I have no idea!

You really expect readers to believe that a guy with a sword could really take one numerous opponents with weapons that are FAR superior in a technological sense?

Sure … why not?

Why’s the sky green there, and the trees purple?

Does it really matter?

How does all that alien technology work, anyway?


Sword and Planet is a fun subgenre that is unapologetic, and feels no need to explain itself. It’s alien technology … if we understood it, then it wouldn’t be considered “alien”. They’re fantastic stories that shine a light on spectacular characters doing the impossible.

I recommend just picking up a copy of one of the many examples of the subgenre … and enjoy!

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Transit to Scorpio by Alan Burt Akers
The Book of Skaith: The Adventures of Eric John Stark by Leigh Brackett
The Swordsman of Mars by Otis Adelbert Kline




Alternate History



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