It’s insanely fun writing adventures for a genre that died out a long time ago.
Sword & planet fiction was popular decades ago, when folks like Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard were writing classics like the Barsoom series and Almuric. These series featured “science” mixed with fantasy and involved lots of swashbuckling action, romance, and weird technology mixed with magic.
Once we actually started learning more and more about the universe, sword & planet got left behind fast. The entire Barsoom series was built upon the premise that there were canals on Mars carrying liquid water, and that other races lived on Mars.
At the time, that was real science- as far as the observations went, we actually believed there were canals on Mars. We know better now, and so stories about life on Mars, or life on other planets in our solar system (like Venus) are totally unbelievable.
But that doesn’t make sword & planet adventures any less exciting!
Crypt Shyfter takes all the cheesy bad science and just owns it. As far as we know, the universe is 13.8 billion years old. Fuzonia, the planet you end up on in Crypt Shyfter, is 30 trillion light years away. The is… fake science, I guess you could say. The observable universe is no where close to that distance, but that’s the fun part about sword & planet- you get to make up your own rules as you go.
Obviously if I was writing a scientific thesis for a scholarly journal I wouldn’t throw in planets like Fuzonia, or alternate dimensions, or time travel, or Morphological Dials, or Mephitic Sacs, or any of the other weird shit I put in my games.
I don’t actually think there are Fuzonians and Andraxxans and Gorlons traveling around the galaxy enslaving people and trying to build evil shape shifting robots or playing arcade games and eating pizza.
But it’s fun as hell to imagine, and so I let my imagination run free. In real life, I’m a totally logical dude. I check my facts and read multiple sources before sharing opinions or writing articles so I know what I’m talking about before entering a conversation.
But when writing fiction, sword & planet is my favorite, because I can use some of that fun scientific knowledge I’ve picked up over the years and blend it with all of my favorite fantasy tropes and mix in whatever weird crap comes to mind at the time.
Maybe in 50 years or so people will look back on Crypt Shyfter and note that it is a worthy addition to the sword & planet genre. I certainly hope so.
I wish there was more sword & planet out there. I know it’s totally campy and cheesy, but it’s just so much fun to read.
If you’re looking for a modern day sword & planet series to sink your teeth into, you’d be hard pressed to find something better than Crypt Shyfter…. but that may be because nobody really writes it anymore 😉