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bluejester12
10-11-2006, 07:08 AM
I'm reading his Conan stories and I'm wondering how his Solomon Kane stories are. I've heard Solomon is a more original character.

zornhau
10-11-2006, 12:43 PM
They're good. A long time since I read them. I don't think there are that many, but there's at least one poem as well. Kane has a certain grim moral force, in contrast to Conan's more limited moral compass.

However, in the context of his times, Conan is a very original character. Howard created the barbarian sub genre. Saying Conan isn't original is like saying Tolkein's elves are a cliche.

Shadow_Ferret
10-11-2006, 04:01 PM
Honestly. ALL Robert E. Howard's stories and characters are good. Conan. Brak Mak Morn. Kull. And yes, Solomon Kane. Although it's been years since I read the Kane stories, I do have a new compilation book that the sci-fi book club offered. Just haven't gotten around to reading it.

I mean how could you not love a Puritan swordsman?

JAK
10-11-2006, 11:05 PM
Howard is the king of fantasy. I'm reading the Del Rey compilation of Kane now (among other novels). I prefer Conan as a character, but the writing is all REH and since a stash of previously unpubbed Conan stories has yet to be discovered, I'm reading his other works.

bluejester12
10-12-2006, 12:49 AM
They're good. A long time since I read them. I don't think there are that many, but there's at least one poem as well. Kane has a certain grim moral force, in contrast to Conan's more limited moral compass.

However, in the context of his times, Conan is a very original character. Howard created the barbarian sub genre. Saying Conan isn't original is like saying Tolkein's elves are a cliche.

Well, I haven't read Kull or Brak, but I heard all three (including Conan) are fairly similar so that's where I was goin with that. I don't know.

AnneMarble
10-12-2006, 01:00 AM
Well, I haven't read Kull or Brak, but I heard all three (including Conan) are fairly similar so that's where I was goin with that. I don't know.
From what I understand (waiting for the Kull stories to be reprinted :D), Kull is a more philosophical character than Conan. Unlike Conan, most of the stories take place after he takes over the throne of Atlantis. So you don't have stories of young Kull stealing jewels, wasting his money on wenches, etc. IIRC he never acquires a queen and in fact showed little or no interest in women. No, that doesn't mean he was gay, he was probably just too depressed about finding himself straddled with this large kingdom. :D (Most of my memories of the Kull come from the adaptations in the Savage Sword of Conan stories, so I could be wrong about some of this.)

Compare that to the so-called movie "based" on the Kull stories, which should be taken out and shot. That Kull was about as philosophical as my stapler and thought with his... well you know. :D

Memnon624
10-12-2006, 08:22 AM
Though I'll always be a dyed-in-the-wool Conan fan, I'm also quite partial to REH's desert tales -- those of El Borak and Kirby O'Donnell. I'm hoping at some point Del Rey or Wandering Star will release those in a nice, spiffed-up anthology (because, let me tell you, my Ace editions are looking a little rough).

Whoever had the idea to stick Kevin Sorbo in the role of Kull should really be thwacked upside the head . . .

JDCrayne
10-12-2006, 09:49 AM
I'm reading his Conan stories and I'm wondering how his Solomon Kane stories are. I've heard Solomon is a more original character.

I like the Solomon Kane stories a lot. They're quite a bit different.
Kane is a dour New Englander, and you don't get the pages and pages
of thrust and stroke swordcraft that Howard used with Conan and ...
Bran? I don't recall the name of his Celtic hero. They're all good.

Shadow_Ferret
10-12-2006, 07:23 PM
...
Bran? ...

Bran is something you eat to keep regular. The celtic hero was Brak Mak Morn. ;)

This thread got me to thinking, I think I'll reread my browning and aging copy of Almuric, a rare Edgar Rice Burroughs-like other world adventure by Howard.

Memnon624
10-12-2006, 09:14 PM
No, Bran is correct. Bran Mak Morn. And he wasn't a Celt, he was the last king of the Picts.

Hey, being a pedant's not just a job, it's an adventure ;)

Shadow_Ferret
10-12-2006, 09:47 PM
I need to get my eyes checked. I read it right off the cover on my bookshelf. :Wha:

AnneMarble
10-12-2006, 10:20 PM
John Jakes did write stories about Brak the Barbarian, though. :)

zornhau
10-12-2006, 10:39 PM
Well, I haven't read Kull or Brak, but I heard all three (including Conan) are fairly similar so that's where I was goin with that. I don't know.

What happened - IIRC - was a certain editor in the 80s churned his way through the Conan tales, tweaking them enough to establish ownership. Then he fleshed out some of the REH's rejects and created pastiches.

Finally, he re-purposed stories of other REH characters to make them Conan, on the grounds that the characters were all the same.

This, however, to be as charitable as possible and to avoid swearing, is pish. They resemble each other only in that they are warriors taking part in gritty action adventure stories.

Axler
10-13-2006, 05:19 AM
I picked up a big pichur book just yesterday entitled CONAN: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most SAVAGE BARBARIAN, published by DK.

It's pretty cool, encompassing all of the original stories by REH and even the comics.

As big a fan as I am of REH's heroes (I have a Solomon Kane statue on my desk and I've insinuated that the Kane character in my Outlanders series is his direct descendant), I still think Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are the absolute pinnacle of sword and sorcery characters.

Shadow_Ferret
10-13-2006, 07:53 AM
What happened - IIRC - was a certain editor in the 80s churned his way through the Conan tales, tweaking them enough to establish ownership. Then he fleshed out some of the REH's rejects and created pastiches.

Finally, he re-purposed stories of other REH characters to make them Conan, on the grounds that the characters were all the same.

This, however, to be as charitable as possible and to avoid swearing, is pish. They resemble each other only in that they are warriors taking part in gritty action adventure stories.

Are you talking about the Ace books that L. Sprague de Campe and Lin Carter co-edited? That was in the late 60s, early 70s. They produced a volume of 12 books and put them in "chronological" order from young Conan to aging Conan (even though Howard didn't write them chronologically) and they took some non-Conan stories and put then in to flesh things out, plus I believe they added their own stories to the mix, too.

They weren't truly Howard's stories any more, but they were fun reading.

zornhau
10-13-2006, 06:18 PM
Yes. He also dicked around (I'm being charitable here) with the text of the originals. See http://www.barbariankeep.com/issues.html

Yes the mutilated stuff is fun. But so is your local Beatles tribute band. Neither is a substitute for the original.

Shadow_Ferret
10-13-2006, 07:10 PM
Yes. He also dicked around (I'm being charitable here) with the text of the originals. See http://www.barbariankeep.com/issues.html

Yes the mutilated stuff is fun. But so is your local Beatles tribute band. Neither is a substitute for the original.

Not a substitute, no, but at the time it was the only way to get your Conan, unless you could find old out-of-print collections. And at the time, many of us didn't realize it was diluted and reformulated.

And as writers unto themselves, I enjoyed both L. Sprague de Camp's and Lin Carter's stuff.

zornhau
10-13-2006, 07:25 PM
Not a substitute, no, but at the time it was the only way to get your Conan, unless you could find old out-of-print collections. And at the time, many of us didn't realize it was diluted and reformulated.

And as writers unto themselves, I enjoyed both L. Sprague de Camp's and Lin Carter's stuff.

Carter rocks.
L. Sprague de Camp... it's like Gary Glitter; impossible to separate the artistic output from the crimes.

AnneMarble
10-13-2006, 07:41 PM
Yes. He also dicked around (I'm being charitable here) with the text of the originals. See http://www.barbariankeep.com/issues.html

Also, don't some REH fans blame De Camp for creating an inaccurate image of Howard's life? I don't know how true this is, but I've read articles alleging all sorts of stuff.

On the other hand, I do give De Camp credit for bringing great awareness to Conan (in particular) and REH (in general). And I got the impression that some fans think that REH would have been as popular without the Ace editions. I don't know if that is true. I learned about Conan and REH through those books, and they had a wider distribution (and more "cachet") that the other REH anthologies at the time.
:Shrug:

On the one hand, it's a shame the stories were mucked up. On the other hand, it's great that Conan was popularized through the stories. On the third hand, it's a shame that De Camp thought all the major characters were so similar when they clearly weren't. On the fourth hand, I must admit to a sneaking fondness for that De Camp pastiche where (IIRC) Conan gets stuck to a magnetic monolith because he's wearing all that armor. :D

Four hands?! :Wha: Do I qualify as a villain in an REH story now? :)

Axler
10-13-2006, 07:44 PM
I never felt the level of venom toward the deCamp/Carter pastiches and revisions as a lot of purists did and do...mainly because as Shadow Ferret pointed out, when the Lancer/Ace books were published, the young readers didn't know and having known, probably wouldn't have cared overmuch.

Even as a 14 year old, I could tell the difference in styles between Conan The Conqueror by REH and Conan The Buccaneer by deCamp and Carter. The important thing to me was that both books were about Conan.*

As far as I'm concerned, without the work of deCamp and Carter, it's doubtful that Conan would have been rediscovered at all, let alone all of REH's other creations.

*However, I do think Bjorn Nyberg's Conan The Avenger is more parody than pastiche.