Andrzej Sapkowski (born 21 June 1948) is a Polish Fantasy author.
Born in Łódź, he began his career as a writer by sending a story about a "Witcher" to a writing contest organized by a speculative fiction monthly. He didn't win, but garnered enough popularity to become one of the pioneers of the fantasy genre in Poland and the Witcher series eventually reached worldwide fame, which ultimately allowed him to drop his day job as a fur trader and take up writing full-time.
He is well-versed in fantasy literature, often discussing fantasy tropes and their appearance in various literary works. In his writing, he is fond of untranslated foreign language passages, Celtic or faux-Celtic themes, and cats.
- The Witcher series (1992-1999, 2013). Consists of:
- The Last Wish (originally published in 1991 as Wiedźmin (The Witcher), it was remastered to fit into the emerging continuity better and published again under the new title Ostatnie życzenie in 1993; English edition: 2008)
- Sword of Destiny (Miecz Przeznaczenia, 1992; English edition: 2015)
- Blood of Elves (Krew elfów, 1994; English edition: 2008)
- The Time of Contempt (Czas Pogardy, 1995; English edition: 2013)
- Baptism of Fire (Chrzest Ognia, 1996; English edition: 2014)
- Tower of the Swallow (Wieża jaskółki, 1997; English edition: 2016)
- Lady of the Lake (Pani jeziora, 1999; English edition: 2017)
- Season of Storms (Sezon burz, 2013)
- The Hussite Trilogy (2002-2006): Historical Fantasy adventure novels set in the time of the Hussite Wars. (The series lacks a real name, so it's known under that fan nickname.)
- Narrenturm (2002)
- Warriors Of God (Boży Bojownicy, 2004)
- Lux Perpetua (2006)
- The Viper (Żmija, 2009): Novel set in Afghanistan in The '80s
- Maladie And Other Stories (2012): A collection of short stories, first published in 2000 as Something Ends, Something Begins.
Sapkowski's non-fiction (mostly essays)
- Oko Yrrhedesa (The Eye of Yrrhedes), a tabletop RPG he penned in 1990 and expanded with help of other game designers in 1994.
- Piróg, or, There Is No Gold In The Grey Mountains (1992): An essay about fantasy tropes and clichés, the history of modern fantasy and a criticque of the state of fantasy literature in early 1990s Poland. Nowadays mostly infamous due to a hefty dose of hypocrisy on author's side. Explanation
- The World of King Arthur (1998): Book about Arthurian Legend.
- Manuscript Discovered in a Dragon's Cave (2001): An essay about fantasy tropes
Sapkowski's works provide examples of:
- Approval of God:
- Sapkowski allowed Vladimir Vasilyev to use Geralt's name for his The Big Kiev Witcher short story series.
- In 2013 The Tales of the Witcher World (Opowieści ze świata wiedźmina), a collection of short stories written by various Russian and Ukrainian authors got to be officially published in Poland with the permission and blessing from Sapkowski, and later another one by Polish authors.
- Artist Disillusionment: Sapkowski (in)famously spent the late 90s and most of the 00s pouring bucket after bucket of scum over his own Witcher books, finding the hype surrounding what he wrote predominately to pay bills tiresome. His disillusionment only grew after people kept asking about next book about Geralt on events promoting Hussite Trilogy. He eventually got over it, but as a result, he fully embraced his convention persona of a Trolling Creator in all of his appearances.
- Author Appeal: Sapkowski often incorporated untranslated foreign language passages, Celtic or faux-Celtic themes, and cats in his writings.
- Author Usurpation: He has written other books, but everyone only cares about and knows him for The Witcher - much to his frustration. And this only further accelerated thanks to video games and Netflix adaptation.
- Canon Welding: Originally The Witcher, the short story, was a self-contained thing. And few of the stories that followed only shared the main character. When working on what became Sword of Destiny, Sapkowski decided to re-edit the prior stories and treat them as sort of prequel to the events of at this point only planned saga - a decision he regretted ever since. Not only he was stuck with random bits and pieces of trivia and had to find a work-around for some of them, but this lead to his fandom continuously asking questions for more details and clarification, for decades, while he himself couldn't care any less about what he considers pointless trivia.
- Flip-Flop of God: It's not an exaggeration to call Sapkowski's attitude toward his works and their adaptations to be like a swing. Asking anything about "canon" of his works is pointless - as part of this trope and being a Trolling Creator he always gives different answers and purposefully so. Sometimes during the same convention he's attending. One of the main points of writing Season of Storms was to just flip on the sole concept of an established canon. He used to be quite vocal against the concept of overthinking his works, especially Witcher short stories, because he wrote them for the plot and to play with genre conventions, rather than doing any sort of world-building, which he considers to be a window dressing.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes:
- Most of Sapkowski's non-fantasy stories he wrote before The Witcher for fishing magazines are believed to be lost, as the author himself doesn't have copies of them. It's up to his dedicated fans to search for them in libraries and put into circulation on the Web.
- Oko Yrrhedesa was last in print in 1999, and it was already a short-run reprint with minimal editorial changes from the 1995 edition. As a result, unless you buy any of the absurdly overpriced used books (we are talking eight-ten times their original pricetag, and that's not just the inflation), good luck getting your hands on a legal copy.
- Pretty much everything that was published on his official site pre-2010 is considered lost, as the internet repositories have only a small fraction of all the articles and trivia that were there. Since the site got a total overhaul without any warning, not much was done to preserve its old version.
- Magnum Opus Dissonance: He considers the Hussite Trilogy to be his greatest work. As far as everyone else is concerned, he's "that Witcher guy". This used to get Sapkowski on angry, aggressive rants during fan conventions in mid-00s, when the trilogy was just published and yet gathered crowd was only asking about the already finished witcher saga, a series its creator never considered anything beyond a bill-payer.
- Money, Dear Boy: Sapkowski always was very open about writing predominately to cover his own bills, but by Season of Storms he outright called it "a small money-printing machine". Then there's the whole "sued CD Projekt RED because he wanted money from the games" thing.
- One-Hit Wonder: No matter how to count it, none of his works gained as much attention, recognition and basic publishing output as the Witcher saga. And that was before video game adaptations reignited popularity of his works.
- Shrug of God: His official attitude toward made-up settings. And if pushed about Witcherverse, deliberately turning into a Trolling Creator just to mess with people.
- Trolling Creator:
- His attitude toward fandom and its expectations when still working on the Witcher saga is best decribed as simply mean-spirited. He openly declared a few times in early 00s how the infamous decision to Torch the Franchise and Run was made solely to get rid of fans, as they annoyed him.
- His short story Battle Dust is an excellent example - he wrote it as a fragment of a non-existing Space Opera book and many fans have been fooled into thinking he is actually writing one.
- Write What You Know: As an economist by education, Sapkowski just couldn't resist to include real life economic laws into his fantasy series. Probably the most prominent example is the short story Eternal Flame (Wieczny ogień), in which Geralt meets Dainty, a halfling merchant. Sapkowski even invoked the trope itself in few interviews, whenever asked why he never tried to write more sci-fi: he never felt comfortable with writing about technologies he was unfamiliar with, while simultaneously disliking Applied Phlebotinum. That and the problems he faced with translations of Battle Dustnote further convinced him to stay in the comfort zone of familiar fantasy conventions and random inserts of economic trivia.