One of the strangest stories ever written -- the tale of a barbarian adventurer, a woman pirate, and a weird roofed city inhabited by the most peculiar race of men ever spawned!
That was the Weird Tales editor's original terse blurb for this story's magazine publication. (There was another, longer less coherent, but it wouldn't fit here on the back cover.) Death! Decay!...more
Imagine relentlessly pounding this out on a typewriter with no light at the end of the causeway besides a pulp paycheck and the modest respect of your friends.The author still ...more
Here we find Conan and his companion Valeria (Those familiar with the 1982 movie will recognize that name) as they go through a jungle. They are attacked by a dragon, and once that encounter is done, find an abandoned and hidden city. Hopeful for treasure, they enter the rusted ...more
This was my first foray into the world of Conan, and boy, what a trip! As I finished the story, I laughed at how little there was to actually take away from it (as in, nothing) but- that's okay. Comically racist and sexist, the story is a great adventure all the way through. Now, I just have to find a reason to exclaim, "Sulky slut!"
Robert E. Howard had a complex and contradictory consciousness. For example, he's a lost cause on the subject of race. Like his colleague, H.P. Lovecraft, he was a man whose family had fallen on hard times, and aggrandized himself at the expense of other people ...more
They certainly come out of a different era, but the fantasy elements of the lovable swashbuckler are still awesome and wonderful. This was written when you knew straight down the line who the bad guys were and who the good guys were.
What I find especially fascinating about Conan himself is that he is not a ...more
1. The mood and the setting had a tremendous feel. Howard is not just some pulp fiction author - he really knew his craft.
2. Conan was far more literate than I ever expected. Probably the result of seeing the Conan movies so many years ago. This was not disappointing in the least. Just took some getting used to.
3. The action was beautifully written - something I expected of course but it far exceeded my ...more
I have read this story several times in the past, and after the Conan movie I thought "Wow, the plot really sucked. Why didn't they do something like "Red Nails" which reminded me I hadn't read it for ten or twenty years. I figured I would reread it, just in case I remembered it through rose colored glasses. Nope, still as fun as ever.
Think of if the Hatfields and MaCoys were trapped in an enclosed city of three or four stories, ...more
Modern readers will note the racist tinges and sexism...even though here Valeria is a heck of a fighter. Yet when running from danger he picks her up and carries her so as to maintain speed. Ah, well...
this one begins:
1. the skull on the crag
the woman on the horse reined in her weary steed. it stood with its legs wide-braced, its head drooping, as if it found even the weight of the gold-tasseled, red-leather bridle too heavy. the woman drew a booted foot out of the silver stirrup and swung down from the ...more
In this story, Conan meets his equal in the form of Valeria, a captain of the Red Brotherhood. She's a pirate, and a true swashbuckler, skilled with blades and fancy footwork. To me, she's an incarnation of Bêlit from the Black Coast; it's not an exact fit, but it's close enough for me to shoehorn it into my personal Conan canon.
There's a lot of Hyborian history in this book, too; several discussions detail the stories of Aquilonia and the ...more
The foreword and afterword by Glenn Lord were, for any REH fan, worth reading just by themselves. Otherwise, this compilation includes:
1. Beyond the Black River (1935);
2. Shadows in Zamboula (1935);
3. Red Nails (1936);
4. The Hyborian Age (notes from Howard on his world mythos).
Once upon a time, I would’ve listed R.E. Howard as one of my favorite authors. Oh REH, R.E. Howard, Two-Gun Bob, you are like the sexist, racist uncle at the holidays. Everything will be fine for a while, then BAM, he says something awful. Ostensibly, Red Nails is a great tale of a dwindling civilization trapped in the halls of an abandoned, entirely enclosed city. It’s horror effective, its action ...more
I have been reading Howard since I’m 13 years old. A giant that lives life on his own terms, is a favorite of actual gods, and loves every minute. Arnie was not a bad character in the movies, but still did not fulfill the image from these stories.
If you have a chance to read them all - do it.
This was a ...more
If you're into S&S "sword & sorcery", then this will be right up your alley. A great tale from the Conan series of stories. Nothing overly flowery or "epic" about this fantasy. Straight forward, brutal, dark. You can pretty much tell how things will end well before the final page, but Howard's storytelling makes the journey fun nonetheless.
This is a quick read full of fun hack n' slash fantasy; the kind you just don't find nowadays. Both the content and the language (so ...more
A truly exciting story with excellent characters and an unusual setting.
NOTE: My copy still has the fold out poster that comes attached to the inside cover.
He is well known for having created — in the ...more