Tanith Lee has been a fixture of fantasy and horror as long as I have been reading those genres. She was part of that generation of fantasy and horror writers who came of age in the 1970s. She was one of the stars of D.A.W. Books. She graced many of the fantasy anthologies of the late 1970s to mid 1980s.
A friend of mine considered Tanith Lee to be the Clark Ashton Smith of our time. Lee straddled horror, fantasy, and science fiction, as did Smith. As a woman, you get the inevitable comparisons to C. L. Moore but I think that is fair comparison as Lee often wrote in a lush style with erotic elements. Lee could be more upfront than what Moore could get away with in the 1930s.
Tanith Lee had a good command of language told in a unique prose style. What I liked about her is she never seemed to have a gender agenda. She just wanted to tell a good story. There was never a fake masculinity with her female protagonists. Her male characters were portrayed across the moral spectrum.
The Birthgrave and Wars of Vis series were intelligent modern versions of sword and planet vision. These were not slavish imitations of Edgar Rice Burroughs but something different.
The prime example of her sword and sorcery is the Cyrion series. The stories originally appeared in magazines and paperback anthologies.
The Murderous Dove Heroic Fantasy, D.A.W. Books, April 1979
A Hero at the Gates Shayol #3, Summer 1979
Perfidious Amber Swords Against Darkness V, Zebra Books, Nov. 1979
One Night of the Year Other Worlds 2, Zebra Books Jan. 1980
Cyrion in Bronze Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Feb. 1980
Cyrion in Wax Dragonfields #3, Summer 1980
A Lynx with Lions Cyrion, D.A.W. Books, Sept. 1982
Cyrion in Stone Cyrion, D.A.W. Books, Sept. 1982
Odds Against the Gods Swords Against Darkness II, Sept. 1977
In the Balance Swords Against Darkness III, March 1979
Deux Amours d’une Sorciere Swords Against Darkness IV, Sept. 1979
The Third Horseman Weirdbook 14, June 1979
Northern Chess Amazons!, D.A.W. Books, Dec. 1979
When the Clock Strikes Weird Tales 1, Zebra Books, Dec. 1980
The Sombrous Tower Weird Tales #2, Zebra Books, Dec. 1980
The Dry Season Flashing Swords #5, Dell Books, Dec. 1981
Mirage and Magia Hecate’s Cauldron, D.A.W. Books, Feb. 1982
Southern Lights Amazons II, D.A.W. Books, June 1982.
Lee continued to produce steadily all through the past 30 years. More recently she had stories in the anthologies Swords & Dark Magic and The Mammoth Book of Warriors and Wizardry. She provided among the few stories worth reading in those two books.
Farewell Tanith Lee. You gave us some great stories.