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Conan the Barbarian

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  565 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Conan the Cimmerian. Black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer… Discover how it all began. Conan the Barbarian spawned a hundred imitators. Find out why with these tales from his early life. From the Tower of the Elephant to Beyond the Black River, follow Robert E. Howard's greatest creation as he cuts a bloody swathe through the history of Hybo ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published 1954 by New York: Gnome Press (first published 1934)
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This is a collection of novellas about the swashbuckling adventures of the wandering Barbarian Conan. Conan's instincts are uncivilized which means he is aware of things that lesser mortals (including the feisty lady pirate Valeria) cannot detect. And so he roves over the ancient world, seeking loot, adventure and amorous conquests. He is basically not a bad guy to have on your side, in spite of the fact that he is lustful, covetous and supremely confident in his own abilities. The only cracks i ...more
Aug 10, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of all the seminal Fantasy works, there are certain authors that are named as setting the standard. Before Tolkien, there was Robert E. Howard, whose epic tales have entertained readers for over eighty years.

Here, to tie in to the latest impending film (starring Jason Momoa) we have what I will describe as a Conan primer. It’s not ‘the Complete Conan’ of twenty-one stories (you’d need the lovely Gollancz leather bound Black Library edition for that), but instead a select grouping of eight novell
J.G. Keely
Picked this up because it was a cheap binding of many of Howard's Conan stories. I've since gotten the much more thorough and accurate Del Rey collection, which I suggest highly. This edition doesn't include any of the stories De Camp altered and finished, publishing them under Howard's name posthumously, so one need not worry about bowdlerization or other tampering.

Curiously, this edition was published in Thailand, which is likely cheaper, but I wonder if they are also profiting by the fact th
Mark Neumayer
Sep 07, 2011 Mark Neumayer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's nice to see a complete compilation like this. It would have gotten 5 stars if the publisher had spent a little more time looking for typos and had hired a cover artist who had a passing familiarity with human anatomy. Seriously, Conan looks like his shoulders are hunched way too far forward and I don't know what the heck is going on with his feet.
Oct 09, 2012 Amadei rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my father who was born in 1938
Crossposted from my blog...

Let me start of these musings by saying that I am one hundred percent not the target audience for Conan the Barbarian by which I mean to say, I am not a fifteen-year-old boy circa 1935. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me begin with a story.

I was twenty-five years old and sitting in my mother’s sunroom while she puttered around watering her plants. Out of nowhere, she asked me, “Do you do drugs?”

Up until this point, I had been playing a matching game on h
Michael Clifton
Sep 15, 2011 Michael Clifton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Conan" is an anthology of the original stories by Robert E. Howard, although it is by no means an exhaustive compilation. Tragically, Howard committed suicide in his early 30's before he could add to his body of work. For fans of "Conan the Barbarian", this anthology establishes the foundation of the "sword and sorcery" genre we have come to associate with Conan, as well as the terms and verbage. Mighty "thews", "rude" huts, don't you just love it! Howard also gives a brief history of how the H ...more
Joanna Maciejewska
I've read these books when I was young, and I remember the interesting and rich low-fantasy world and the sense of adventure. The stories have gotten old: the writing is not as good as it could be (or maybe it's the translation? I've read the Polish version) and the storytelling is more telling than showing, not to mention the female characters that made me cringe whenever one appeared on the pages, but the world Howard created is still as mesmerising it was in the past and there's clear sense o ...more
A collection of classic Conan tales, repackaged with a new jacket to tie-in to the new movie coming out. This edition includes:

The Tower of the Elephant (pg 1)
Rogues in the House (pg 27)
The Frost-Giant's Daughter (pg 54)
Queen of the Black Coast (pg 63)
A Witch Shall Be Born (pg 95)
The People of the Black Circle (pg 141)
Red Nails (pg 226)
Beyond the Black River (pg 212)
The Hyborian Age (pg 372)
Cimmeria (verse) (pg 397)

and, to be honest, I'd be more inclined to give the book 1.5 stars (except GR doe
Oct 06, 2013 Poorj rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A grandfather in the pulp genre, this book is racist, awful to female kind, and somewhat redundant; BUT! its a 1930s story about an invincible barbarian that travels the ancient world fighting wizards and saving women that love to have their shirts torn off. Really I'd be disappointed if there was some hidden message that dealt with the social ideas of the time.
Oct 17, 2013 Ohr rated it it was ok
Gets two stars instead of one only because of my love for the Milius (and "Ahnold") film.
I encountered the same problems (boredom, some embarrassment) with this volume as I did when I read (most of) the first three John Carter of Mars stories.
Jul 27, 2014 Raj rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I picked up this 'primer' collection of Conan stories for free at the 2014 Eastercon mostly because I've never read any Howard before and felt that it was a missing part of genre education.

The stories are a mixed bunch of shorts, novelettes and novellas, along with a poem and a background article on the Hyborian age (the mythical age of the world in which the stories are set). Due to the archetypical nature of Conan and his world, the stories actually felt quite familiar, given everything that h
Timothy Boyd
Feb 08, 2016 Timothy Boyd rated it did not like it
Robert E. Howard is my all time favorite writer, but for many years much of his work was heavily edited. This is another of the heavily edited collections of Robert E. Howard's stories. I am a purist when it comes to a writers works. I know some of these stories are no longer PC but they should be read as Howard wrote them and understood that he wrote in another time period. Don't read this book unless you just can't find any others of Howard's unedited books to read. Message me if you need a li ...more
Marek Pawlowski
Jun 06, 2016 Marek Pawlowski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jestem naprawdę zaskoczony tym, jak wiele przyjemności sprawiła mi ta książka. Pomimo swoich całkiem masywnych rozmiarów i pewnego stałego schematu, który pojawiał się w większości opowiadań okazała się ona rewelacyjną książką fantasy. Jest to pełen klimatu zbiór opowieści ze świetnie zarysowanym światem i bohaterami, godna polecenia każdemu fanowi gatunku. Widać tutaj także jak postać Conana została strywializowana przez wszelkiego rodzaju filmowe adaptacje. Z czystym sumieniem mogę powiedzieć, ...more
Feb 11, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The plots aren't suspenseful, but the world Robert E. Howard creates in these stories is well fleshed out through the use of great language mastery. The characters have degrees of development, and can vary from categorically evil to being motivated by circumstances. Written before the works of Tolkien and other masters of the fantasy genre, these are great stories for those who want to enjoy a primeval fantasy world in which life, although definitely not easier, is simpler.

As far as I am aware,
James Davis
Jan 10, 2013 James Davis rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I was prepared to not like this book when I picked it up. I expected the sexism of the 1930s and have probably seen way too much cover art featuring scantily clad women with unrealistic figures! I'm glad that I overcame my prejudices and plunged in. The cover art on this edition didn't do Conan any favours--it is not at all the way that I imagined him. I was pleasantly surprised by how active the women in the stories were--there was a little bit of swooning, but usually they were participating m ...more
Feb 25, 2015 Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ten stories of the greatest barbarian of them all, Conan the Cimmerian. Neither sword nor sorcerer can stop him as he fights and loves his way across the Ancient Hyborian world, rising from thief to King of Aquilonia. I have the Arnie movies but have not seen the newest one yet.
When your brain is tired of serious literature, try this as a relaxant. Robert E Howard invented the sword and sorcery genre and has yet to be matched.
John Poor
A grandfather in the pulp genre, this book is racist, awful to female kind, and somewhat redundant; BUT! its a 1930s story about an invincible barbarian that travels the ancient world fighting wizards and saving women that love to have their shirts torn off. Really I'd be disappointed if there was some hidden message that dealt with the social ideas of the time.
Hilmi Isa
Nov 07, 2014 Hilmi Isa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics-read
Edisi novel yang saya miliki dan baca ini merupakan edisi yang diterbitkan sempena tayangan filem Conan The Barbarian pada tahun 2011. Lebih tepat lagi,buku ini merupakan koleksi cerita-cerita pendek yang pernah diterbitkan di dalam beberapa medium penerbitan sebelumnya pada sekitar tahun 1930-an.
Novel ini boleh dianggap sebagai sebuah pengenalan yang baik mengenai Conan,suatu watak kepahlawanan Sword and Sorcery yang amat popular. Apabila nama Conan disebut,mungkin ada di kalangan kita yang ter
Jul 11, 2012 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I started reading this book I hoped that it would have an aspect to it that was like the Tarzan books, well written and interesting despite what you might think upon first glance. Unfortunately it was exactly what it seemed like on first glance. It was pure pulp fiction, and once I allowed myself to enjoy its pulpishness, I liked it a little better.

As with other works of this era I was not surprised to find quite a bit of racism in the book. I also expected the misogyny. What surprised me
Michael B Tager
Pulp fiction is at its best when straight not giving a shit. Want some dinosaurs, wizards and bloody warfare in the same story? Why not! Want to have a racist cult of slaves that are tolerated by their masters? Done!

The Conan stories are pretty solidly entertaining. They aren't doing anything fancy or new, nor would they try to. And some of the racism is not subtle. I wonder if Howard was TRYING to be be racist or just relying on cultural cliches. Hard to say ... but the sexism is blatant. With
Larry Kenney
This is a must read for fans of the sword and sorcery genre, as well as fans of the Conan franchise. Reading the original stories has really changed my perspective on the genre and Conan himself. You can really see the roots of the genre here laid out. Its fun to see how the style has changed so much over the decades.

Most of my contact with Conan has been through the comic books, as well as the movies. I was surprised to see so much emphasis on pirates and such a strong Arabian influence. Seeing
May 24, 2016 Andrea marked it as to-read
NPR 100 Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Books, #68

I didn't think I would be interested, but now I see it was written in 1954, which is an interesting time to be writing this. Now 50% more interested.
Víctor Manuel
Considered probably one of the first fantasy tales, the saga of Conan was a interesting read, particularly due to the use of a varied and somehow archaic vocabulary.
Interesting to read (some) of the story that spawned the movies and cartoons that fueled a part of my adolescence. I would have never bet after seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jason Momoah's performances that Robert Howard could be so litterate. I'm also surprised that even though Conan is obbiously every inch the muscled hero the movies made him out to be, he was rarely the main character and most stories are told from the point of view of someone who saved/kidnapped or otherwise influenced by ...more
Jan 22, 2013 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books
Entertaining! "Queen of the Black Coast" and "Red Nails," a pirate story and a tale set in a creepy completely enclosed city, respectively, were my favorites. (It helps that--while nearly all the stories were not half as misogynistic as I expected, considering when the stories were written--these two had some of the best leading ladies. Howard definitely lets his female pirates run ruthless.)

The racism throughout is something awful, though. I recommend reading the opening essay about the Hybori
David Brawley
Jun 01, 2011 David Brawley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, classic

Prior to reading this collection I was only familiar with the Conan of the movies and the Conan the Adventurer cartoon from the early 90’s. Robert E Howard’s Conan is a very different character, and a much more interesting and complex one at that. I’m glad I took the time to delve into the original Conan, in spite of the terrible cover art.

The tales are pulpy, and generally short, and are remarkably similar to Vance’s Dying Earth in tone if not style. While Vance tends toward more grandiose lang
Rudi Opperman
Jan 26, 2015 Rudi Opperman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Classic! Enjoyable.
Janith Pathirage
Dec 14, 2014 Janith Pathirage rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first adventure of Conan and my second favorite book of the series. This is not as good as 'Conan the Conqueror', which I think is the only Conan novel completed by Robert E. Howard in his lifetime. However this story talks about the earlier years of Conan's life from his childhood.
Jul 17, 2011 Fred rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"You know that you wrapped a towel around your waist and took a stick out to the yard to conquer the dogs the first time you ever saw Conan the Barbarian! Everybody did!" -Scotty D.

If everybody that saw the movie had also read the book then them poor dogs wouldn't have stood a chance!
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Goodreads Librari...: Issues with Conan the Barbarian 2 16 Jun 27, 2014 05:54PM  
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Robert Ervin Howard was an American pulp writer of fantasy, horror, historical adventure, boxing, western, and detective fiction. Howard wrote "over three-hundred stories and seven-hundred poems of raw power and unbridled emotion" and is especially noted for his memorable depictions of "a sombre universe of swashbuckling adventure and darkling horror."

He is well known for having created — in the p
More about Robert E. Howard...

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“Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat & stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame crimson, and I am content"......Conan the Cimmerian.” 16 likes
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