I needed a word to describe the kind of fantasy I like to read and write, and Sabrepunk is what I came up with.
Sabrepunk is swashbuckling, street-wise sword and sorcery that draws from low fantasy, hard-boiled pulp, cloak-and-dagger thrillers, and old-fashioned romantic adventure. It is visceral and immediate. It is crude and sly. It is red and black and break-neck. The doings of sorcerers and kings may spark the action, but rarely are they the story themselves. Instead, the tales are of hard men and dangerous women whose lives are mauled by the whims of the powerful, and who must therefore draw swords and fight in order to survive.
There are heroes here, but no saints.
My influences are many, and make for a strange gumbo – Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Alexander Dumas, Raphael Sabatini, Dorothy Sayers, Raymond Chandler, George MacDonald Fraser and Michael Moorcock, as well as William Gibson, Damon Runyon, Sarah Waters and, just to be perverse, P. G. Wodehouse.
If a distillation of such a stew sounds tasty to you, then come on in. I’m not stingy with the portions.