top of page
  • Writer's pictureMatt John

Swords-and-Sorcery Against the Pox of Plagiarism

I want you to visualize the first ever swords-and-sorcery book you picked up. It was likely a paperback with a cover painted by Frank Frazetta, Ken Kelly, Boris Valejo, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, or some other legendary artist. Of course it could have been an album cover, a comic book, or even the side of an arcade cabinet. If nothing else, old school Dungeons and Dragons art definitely had the vibes, and I know you’ve at least leafed through one of those books.   

Arty by Ken Kelly
Art by Ken Kelly

If you’re reading this blog, you’re of the demographic where this kind of art likely blasted your mind and planted seeds for a very specific and highly active imagination. I don't know about you, but I feel I owe that tradition something. These images and the stories they helped sell are invaluable to me. And if you’re not a reader, you still must understand that visual art helped create Star Wars and Alien and other dear-to-our-hearts film franchises. If you’re a nerd, you, too, owe it a lot.  

Visual art is integral to this genre. Fantasy art is important from a holistic stand-point, too, and I can’t say I love a lot of the current trends I’m seeing–but human-made art remains vital in the realm of story telling and selling. For S&S, it’s the butter to the bread, the peanut butter to the chocolate, or some other food analogy. Sadly, though, this union is under assault and too many are contributing to this siege. 

So, I ask, are you?

AI-generated “art” is everywhere now. Publishers are, by and large, not embracing it, and are, on the contrary, distancing themselves from its use and drafting apologies when it slips past their radars into publication. However, it seems fans and smaller presses alike are making some disappointing decisions. 

I’ve observed indy authors and indy publishers embracing this dreck. Social media is rife with it. I’m not going to give a full rundown of why it’s trash, but it’s easily shown to be theft and a massive drain on energy resources. Simply put: it sucks. And if you’re using it to sell books, you kinda suck, too. 

Harsh, eh? Well, too bad. I get that it’s cheap. I get there is some skill involved in writing prompts (I think?), but folks, we stand to lose it all. Artists are already losing so much–gigs, money, respect, their own hard-earned skills–and too many S&S fans (consumers?) seem pleased as parasites. 

“But Matt, the writing is on the wall; AI is the future and so is the ‘art’ it produces!”

“Matt, dear boy, you probably said the same thing about photoshop or downloading MP3s!” 

No, bro, not the same. And I’m not going deeply into the why in this blog post. Others have already done so elsewhere with a precision and eloquence you shall not find here. I just want us to be a community. I want our soldiers of genre lining the parapets of Dros Delnoch. When the horde comes, we need to stand against it. And, warriors, it IS coming. The same goes for any old troglodytes who worry about S&S going “woke” or some other nonsense. We need to stand against them, too.  

Yes, let's support one another. And we can’t do that if we’re willingly, even gleefully, doing harm to an entire medium/industry by sharing and selling “art” spat out from the plagiarism machine. That kind of behaviour is so against the Riddle of Steel it makes me wanna smoke Haga. 

Those still manning the walls, I salute you. To the hosers using the tools of the enemy, take off, eh.  

467 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Jun 24

Where do I sign up?

Seriously though, I couldn't agree more.

The art is what pulled me, without a doubt and as one of the fanboys I'm on the side of honor.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Spotify
  • Apple Music

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page