Open main menu
Cover of Flashing Swords! #1, 1973

Flashing Swords! is a series of fantasy anthologies published by Dell Books from 1973 to 1981 under the editorship of Lin Carter. It showcased the heroic fantasy work of the members of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America (SAGA), a somewhat informal literary group active from the 1960s to the 1980s, of which Carter was the guiding force. Most of the important sword and sorcery writers at the time of the group’s founding were members; later, membership was extended to other fantasy authors.

The Flashing Swords! series provides a cross-section of the heroic fantasy of the period. Carter and SAGA also sponsored The Gandalf Award from 1974-1981. With the collapse of Carter’s health in the 1980s the anthology series, the Gandalf award, and likely SAGA itself all went into abeyance.

A precursor of the series was Swords Against Tomorrow, edited by Robert Hoskins (Signet Books, 1970), an anthology which included pieces by four of the eight SAGA members of that time.


In all, twenty-three stories were published in the series, all of them for the first time. These included two "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser" stories by Fritz Leiber (in #1 and #3), two "Dying Earth" stories by Jack Vance (in #1 and #4), the first two parts of the novel The Merman's Children by Poul Anderson (also in #1 and #4), two "Amalric the Mangod" stories by Lin Carter (in #1 and #3), a "Pusad" tale and the first part of the novel The Incorporated Knight by L. Sprague de Camp (in #2 and #3, respectively), two "Elric of Melniboné" stories by Michael Moorcock (in #2 and #4), two "Witch World" stories by Andre Norton (in #2 and #3), two "Brak the Barbarian" stories by John Jakes (in #2 and #4), one story by Avram Davidson (in #3), a "Deryni" story by Katherine Kurtz (in #4), a "Dilvish" story by Roger Zelazny (in #5), a story by C. J. Cherryh (in #5), a story by Diane Duane (in #5), an "Ebenezum" story by Craig Shaw Gardner (in #5), and a story by Tanith Lee (in #5).