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Conan the Barbarian

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  405 ratings  ·  28 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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(showing 1-30 of 836)
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Mark
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
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Amadei
Oct 09, 2012 Amadei rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Keely
Picked this up because it was a cheap collection of many of Howard's Conan stories. I've since gotten the much more thorough and accurate Del Ray collection (though only the first volume), 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
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Michael Clifton
"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
Mark Neumayer
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.
Raj
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
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David
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,
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Wanda
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
John
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
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Mike 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
...more
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
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David
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
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Luc
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
Kate
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
...more
David Brawley

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
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Poorj
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.
Fred
"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!
Adam Koebel
This shit is great, if you're willing to look past his over-use of the word "ejaculated". It was kind of awesome to, on occasion, think "wow, this was written in the 30s" and I imagine it was pretty nasty for those days - lots of tits and stabbing and the like. Pretty fun.
Keith Bell
I have read these stories over and over. Great way to spend a morning. Turned on to Conan when I was 12yrs old and have every story written by Robert E. Howard and every book written by others in tribute to his characters. Always fun to re-read.
Ohr
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.
Rusty
You have to accept certain things to get through this - mostly about WHEN it was written. Otherwise the sexism and racism will really grate.

Regardless, if you accept this for what it is, it is a good read.
Joni
Conan the Barbarian is one of the best adventure series characters ever written. With his quick thinking and skilled use of weaponry he always wins. Exciting, action filled entertainment!
Andre
The classic Conan tales. A unavoidable read for the sword & sorcery background.
Robert
I read a few of the stories and got the idea. enjoyable.
Ray
classic pulp fantasy!
Lee
Thanks to Robert E. Howard's intricately complex world of Hyboria, we have the best Sword and Sorcery fantasy yet written. More adult than J.K. Rowling, more gritty than J.R.R. Tolkien, and more mature than Terry Goodkind.
Nahapet Nahapetyan
Nahapet Nahapetyan marked it as to-read
Oct 25, 2014
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Goodreads Librari...: Issues with Conan the Barbarian 2 15 Jun 27, 2014 05:54PM  
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66700
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
More about Robert E. Howard...
The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian (Conan the Cimmerian, #1) The Conquering Sword of Conan (Conan the Cimmerian, #3) Conan of Cimmeria (Conan 2) The Bloody Crown of Conan (Conan the Cimmerian, #2) The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane

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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.” 10 likes
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