Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Conan the Instructor

I’m no scholar of Robert E. Howard, just a fan of his storytelling and his best-known character, Conan the Barbarian. Conan first crossed my reading list when I discovered a shelf of dog-eared paperbacks at the local second-hand shop. I was still a relative newcomer to swords-&-sorcery fiction at the time, and Conan was unlike any hero I’d encountered in the welter of Tolkien clones at the library.

Being young and impressionable, I read the stories nonjudgmentally. I didn’t know what portions came from Howard, from Carter, or from de Camp. The word “pastiche” wasn’t in my vocabulary. All three names got credit for everything, good and bad.

No one should be surprised, then, that Conan looms so large in my imagination and in my preferences when it comes to FRPs. Conan and Howard taught me many valuable lessons for navigating the worlds of high adventure.

(Read the rest at Kobold Quarterly ...)

1 comment:

  1. To my eternal shame, I had never read any Howard stories until last year. What I love the most about Conan is how he (quite literally) cuts through the trappings of traditional Western literature. Conan is uncompromising.