New novels set in the Age of Conan

Arkobla Conn said:
2. What is the criteria for writing an acceptable story in this world? Will any of us ever be content with anyone other than REH?

I can certainly be content with other authors. I have a fairly large library at home and I enjoy a rather wide selection of authors. As for criteria, I do like to begin with proper punctuation. Then we can go onto an interesting cast of characters who impact the storyline (as opposed to just a large list of names without a lot of personality to them), and an interesting story that does not get bogged down in too many details about mundane issues or that runs around in seemingly endless circles without resolution.

I enjoyed a lot of the Roy Thomas comics and a lot of the new Dark Horse comics, so authorship is not the issue so much as quality of authorship. I also like the Andrew Offut pastiches.

Actually, if he had written his Kern novels in first person, I wouldn't have been bothered so much by the fragments, as we would be inside his head.
 

Azgulor

Banded Mongoose
Arkobla Conn said:
2. What is the criteria for writing an acceptable story in this world? Will any of us ever be content with anyone other than REH?

I will. I am much happier with the idea of new heroes of Hyboria being written by other authors than I am with the idea of other authors trying to write Conan as well as REH.

(Byproduct #1) If these books expand awareness of Hyboria for the fantastic setting that it is rather than just a backdrop for Conan, so much the better.

(Byproduct #2) If these books help generate interest in Hyboria and helps bring others gamers to the Conan RPG fold, so much the better.

Azgulor
 

Mythos

Mongoose
Arkobla Conn said:
2. What is the criteria for writing an acceptable story in this world? Will any of us ever be content with anyone other than REH?
For me there is one absolute unwavering rule; DO NOT CONTRADICT WHAT HOWARD ALREADY ESTABLISHED.
If an author can keep that simple rule in his mind when either writing Conan or new characters in a Hyborian setting, I will be happy.
 

Azgulor

Banded Mongoose
René said:
Is Conan / his adventures mentioned in these books?

Mention is made about King Conan and how since he has taken the throne many significant Cimmerian events are associated with him, regardless of whether he was present or not. I think they do a good job of showing how the legend can grow greater than the true event. Conan gets undue credit because he's internationally famous now that he rules Aquilonia.

For example, several of the exploits of the main character are almost immediately retold as having happened years before and been performed by Conan.

They also show that Conan is not a typical Cimmerian nor is he viewed as such. In many regards, Conan is viewed as having abandoned his heritage and is now viewed as just another oppressor from a "civilized" land. (This is based on Aquilonian efforts to expand into Cimmeria under Conan's rule.)

Azgulor
 

René

Mongoose
Azgulor said:
René said:
Is Conan / his adventures mentioned in these books?

Mention is made about King Conan and how since he has taken the throne many significant Cimmerian events are associated with him, regardless of whether he was present or not. I think they do a good job of showing how the legend can grow greater than the true event. Conan gets undue credit because he's internationally famous now that he rules Aquilonia.

For example, several of the exploits of the main character are almost immediately retold as having happened years before and been performed by Conan.

They also show that Conan is not a typical Cimmerian nor is he viewed as such. In many regards, Conan is viewed as having abandoned his heritage and is now viewed as just another oppressor from a "civilized" land. (This is based on Aquilonian efforts to expand into Cimmeria under Conan's rule.)

Azgulor

Looks like an "adult" solution. Ordered vol.1 just now.

Regarding delrey books: After reading Solomon Kane for 1 time the pages are getting away (in German it's: "going out of glue"). Do you have the same problems with your delrey books?
 

Jason Durall

Mongoose
Bregales said:
Another possibility, if you want to read characters that could fit in to the Hyborian Age world, but not necessarily Conan, is to read Fritz Lieber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser series. His writing style is more sparse but his characters are 'interesting' and he doesn't write like an imbecilic moron! :lol: :!:
As a huge Fritz Lieber fan, I am a bit flabbergasted to see his style described as "sparse", as he is an eloquent wordsmith as the fantasy genre has been blessed with. He's not Jack Vance or Roger Zelazny, but the wordplay and elegance of his prose shouldn't be overlooked.

Another author (maybe also recommended in this thread) who does a pretty acceptable sword-and-sorcery yarn is David Gemmell, whose Druss novels are quite obviously Conan-inspired and feature a similar powerful warrior hero.
 

Jason Durall

Mongoose
I've just gotten back from a grueling 11-day trip, with a bright spot being able to visit two of the West Coast's best bookstores - Portland's Powell's and Seattle's Elliot Bay Book Company. Between them, I managed to grab a half-dozen of older, rarer Howard collections, and scored the entire six-book run of David C. Smith and Richard Tierney's Red Sonja novels. I once owned them, but they were lost in a move (with about half of the rest of my REH collection).

Reading through the Red Sonja books, I am reminded once more how readable they were, even if a bit stereotyped, and how slavishly the authors stuck to REH's Hyborian Age in feel, if not in vigor and imagination. Pity there's likely no chance at all the books will be reprinted, as they'd make a nice couple of omnibus collections.
 

Darkstorm

Mongoose
Just to put in my two cents into the discussion. I'd give all three books 3 and a half stars out of five (yes, I've read all three). Didn't mind the sentence fragments. Thought the characters were fine as they were written (if he had spent the time to delineate them further, we would be complaining about that). The books keep up a good pace and for the most part keep one interested. The overall plot reminds me of the movie "Braveheart" in that Kern's interested in action while all the Cimmerian tribes are mired in political inaction.
Hated that Coleman wrote Conan being so stupid as to attempt to protect the land of Cimmeria with Aquilonia garrisons. The Cimmerians wouldn't accept it (as per Venarium) because they wouldn't see it as anything but an invasion, since Conan isn't a Cimmerian chieftain and not their king. Conan was at Venarium; he would have known better.
I did like the subversive undercurrent as to how Conan's legend got "pumped up". When Kern's exploits were described in terms of Conan having done them years ago, did anyone else get the feeling that it was describing practically any issue of the Marvel Conan comic?
I liked the description of the Cimmerians and their culture. I thought it was much closer to Howard than the Cimmerian culture that appeared in Turtledove's abortion, Conan of Venarium. I also got the impression that Coleman had read Conan the Valorous, since he used so many of the proper names from that book.
All in all, they were just fairly average S&S books. I hope the Stygian books are much better.
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
Jason Durall said:
I've just gotten back from a grueling 11-day trip, with a bright spot being able to visit two of the West Coast's best bookstores - Portland's Powell's and Seattle's Elliot Bay Book Company. Between them, I managed to grab a half-dozen of older, rarer Howard collections, and scored the entire six-book run of David C. Smith and Richard Tierney's Red Sonja novels. I once owned them, but they were lost in a move (with about half of the rest of my REH collection).

Reading through the Red Sonja books, I am reminded once more how readable they were, even if a bit stereotyped, and how slavishly the authors stuck to REH's Hyborian Age in feel, if not in vigor and imagination. Pity there's likely no chance at all the books will be reprinted, as they'd make a nice couple of omnibus collections.
If you are looking for out of print books did you never try to find them on abebook.com? I found many things there for a reasonnable price.
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
I can't understand now why everything that is written must be at least a trilogy. This is nothing but pure mercantilism.
In his short stories Howard could describe more in 20-30 pages than others in 200 pages.
Most pastiches focus on Conan's ands the other protagonists' behaviour as well as what they're thinking about.
Howard kept this to a minimum. His characters talked only if they had something interesting and inherent to the story.
Though he created a coherent world and gave here and there some details about it, he never developped it in such a way that Conan might live his adventurer life through it. It is more a background he created for the Cimmerians.
In other words, while most authors "build a setting" and then put their characters, I feel Howard had already his character and then developped the setting as background images while Conan (or any of his heros) was always in the foreground.
 

Jason Durall

Mongoose
The King said:
If you are looking for out of print books did you never try to find them on abebook.com? I found many things there for a reasonnable price.
I'd checked there, but the prices were so low for the books I felt awkward at paying more than twice the cover price in postage.

The truth is that for lower-priority books (like the Red Sonja series), I keep a little list in my wallet that gives me an excuse to stop in any used bookstore I encounter. My wife kids me about it mercilessly...
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
Jason Durall said:
The King said:
If you are looking for out of print books did you never try to find them on abebook.com? I found many things there for a reasonnable price.
I'd checked there, but the prices were so low for the books I felt awkward at paying more than twice the cover price in postage.

The truth is that for lower-priority books (like the Red Sonja series), I keep a little list in my wallet that gives me an excuse to stop in any used bookstore I encounter. My wife kids me about it mercilessly...
There is a computed quote of the shipping costs too. Moreover some libraries are selling series as lots. For instance, I got the 6 Red Sonya together in great condition for $30 or 40.
The USPS isn't that expensive.
 

Jason Durall

Mongoose
The King said:
There is a computed quote of the shipping costs too. Moreover some libraries are selling series as lots. For instance, I got the 6 Red Sonya together in great condition for $30 or 40.
The USPS isn't that expensive.
True on every count, and I have used abebooks.com perhaps two dozen times in the last few years, but as I mentioned before, it's often the searching for OOP books that is most of the fun, as you never know what you'll find in addition to what you're looking for.

For example, while getting the Red Sonja series, I found a copy of Otis Adelbert Kline's The Swordsman of Mars, a little treasure I will place alongside my Edgar Rice Burroughs Martian novels.
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
I also found (but didn't bought) some Swords & Sorcery anthologies with stories by Ray Capella set on the Hyborian continent (the Leopard of Poitain) because I don't know what there are worth and after all these bad pastiches I read I am now more demanding.
 

Jason Durall

Mongoose
The King said:
I also found (but didn't bought) some Swords & Sorcery anthologies with stories by Ray Capella set on the Hyborian continent (the Leopard of Poitain) because I don't know what there are worth and after all these bad pastiches I read I am now more demanding.
Ouch. Those are worth a pretty penny now...
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
Jason Durall said:
The King said:
I also found (but didn't bought) some Swords & Sorcery anthologies with stories by Ray Capella set on the Hyborian continent (the Leopard of Poitain) because I don't know what there are worth and after all these bad pastiches I read I am now more demanding.
Ouch. Those are worth a pretty penny now...
I meant the reading and entertainment value.
 
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