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Imaro
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Group Reads > 2013 (b) 9-10 Imaro (Saunders)

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message 1: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
Our focused topic for Sept-Oct 2013 is Imaro by Charles R. Saunders. Time for some "Sword and Soul." The masthead will be posted shortly...and will capture Saunders' Imaro character over time.

Some links to get folks hooked:

Blackgate 2009 Sword and Soul post by Saunders

Where to buy Saunders books! Some new ones are not on Amazon!
Where to purchase new Saunders books


Fletcher's (group member) blog review (link) of Dossouye.

Charles Saunders website


S.wagenaar | 365 comments Sweet! I am currently reading The Long Ships by Fans G Bengtsson(very good, by the way), but I am game to pull out my Daw edition of Imaro for a re-read! I had it signed by Charles last year, and it is one of my most prized possessions. I bought it brand-new and unread for a paltry $5. I read it so fast the first time that it is due to be re-examined at a more leisurely pace.


message 3: by Jason (new)

Jason | 113 comments S.wagenaar wrote: "Sweet! I am currently reading The Long Ships by Fans G Bengtsson(very good, by the way), but I am game to pull out my Daw edition of Imaro for a re-read! I had it signed by Charles last year, and i..."
I envy you your signed edition. And I agree that The Long Ships is a very good read. The movie wasn't bad, either.


message 4: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
I never read Imaro (or any Saunders), but will soon having found a used copy from Abebooks. During my shopping, I was fascinated to discover that several sequels were written, recently even, but are mainly available via Lulu (not Amazon, BN, etc.). See the first comment for the link.


Sean (capthowdy) | 75 comments I haven't read Imaro either and have to admit I was a little frustrated when I found out that there is no ebook version available.

Luckily, I found a copy at the library I've got now on hold... first time I've checked something out physically from the public library in quite a while!
Imaro by Charles R. Saunders


message 6: by David (new)

David Hayden (dahayden) Imaro is excellent.


message 7: by Dan (last edited Aug 23, 2013 11:09PM) (new) - added it

Dan (TheGreatBeast) | 213 comments I hope I can pick up a copy of Imaro by October. I've been meaning to pick up some Charles Saunders for a long time and this would be the perfect time, but I have a couple other books on the burner at the same time.


message 8: by Paul (new)

Paul | 24 comments I read Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology a little while back and enjoyed a number of the stories. The Imaro story at the end was quite good. I think the book is relatively cheap on kindle too.


Fletcher Vredenburgh | 91 comments If it's not out of bounds I think I'll finally read Imaro: The Naama War. The man's writing is some of the best S&S.


message 10: by Periklis, Fafhrd (new) - rated it 5 stars

Periklis (periklisbegzos) | 427 comments Mod
Although September is going to be a super-busy month, I will try to join you with Imaro: The Trail of Bohu. That's one of my favorite grourreads so far BTW, thank you Seth and everyone who suggested a focus on Sword & Soul.


message 11: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
Fletcher wrote: "If it's not out of bounds..."

All Saunder's work is in play. Even Dossouye! It would be great to hear your fedback on Imaro#4 (Imaro: The Naama War).


Fletcher Vredenburgh | 91 comments S.E. wrote: "Fletcher wrote: "If it's not out of bounds..."

All Saunder's work is in play. Even Dossouye! It would be great to hear your fedback on Imaro#4 (Imaro: The Naama War)."


Will do!


message 13: by Dan (new) - added it

Dan (TheGreatBeast) | 213 comments I called up a few used bookshops in town, and no one had any Saunders. So I did a little digging through my anthologies and found a Charles Saunders story in Swords Against Darkness 4, which also has less than 20 reviews. So I guess I'll pick this read it when I'm done For the Witch of the Mists.


Charles (kainja) | 413 comments The Swords against Darkness series was the first place I found an Imaro story, and sought out his books from there.


message 15: by Sean (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sean (capthowdy) | 75 comments Just started Imaro and man, it starts out excellent!


Fletcher Vredenburgh | 91 comments I first discovered Imaro on the late Heroes of Dark Fantasy site in 2000 or so. I couldn't believe such great S&S had completely flown under my radar for so long. It took me several years to collect the first three books. Charles Saunders is really one of the greats of the genre.


message 17: by Sean (last edited Sep 08, 2013 09:03PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sean (capthowdy) | 75 comments Finished Imaro.

There's a reason I enjoy doing group reads and finding a book like Imaro is why I put up with some of the not so great titles, and stuff that probably won't interest me. Imaro is fantastic! I suppose I must thank this group for selecting this title but I also really want to thank Periklis who has been championing this book since I pretty well joined this group quite a while ago. I know I procrastinated ever getting to this book even with his ravings so it took the group read to get me to actually read it but MAN this was well worth it! Wow.

The only real criticism I have with this book is that while Charles R. Saunders has detailed in his 'Revisiting Imaro' preface that he did not want to release something that was so similar to the Rwandan Genocide, he eventually did but with massive edits. The story 'Slaves of the Giant-Kings' was totally removed. This screwed everything up for him so he had to write a replacement piece to ensure that the already written future stories where Imaro had met certain characters and plot devices made sense to the reader. He also went through his other stories to clean them up and revise stuff to better fit in with his newly written story (a la George Lucas?).

My criticism isn't really with any of the revisions. It that the replacement story The Afua is sooooo danged good, its by far the best of the book (its also the longest, basically a novella). So, while the book as a whole starts being great right from the start with 'I Leave A Warrior Behind' and continues to gain momentum and steam, once I was done reading 'The Afua' and took the necessary breather, the stories that follow seemed subpar.

Don't get me wrong they were still good, but I think that Saunders' writing must have gotten much better since back in the day when he first wrote these stories that the newest one just towers above the others now. His skills have been refined I would say, and quite awesomely. I plugged through the following stories and momentum started to gain for me by the end of the book. It's just too bad there is that one deflating area in the book for me.

Still, I MUST continue with this and when I get the chance MUST read Imaro 2 : The Quest for Cush.

Did I already thank this group for selecting this? I have a new favourite in my top ten sword and sorcery books.

P.S. ARGH! It frustrates me there is no e-book versions of this series!


message 18: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
Sean, nice comments. My 1981 paperback has the original content, but I am just shy of the "revised" chapter (I will reconnect after reading "slaves of the giant kings"). I'll keep in mind the Afua replacement (that I don't have) is awesome ; the completist in me is already intrigued. I guess I can always purchase the revised copy to compare ...


Aaron Meyer (loptsson) | 75 comments So far I am in the middle of the Afua story. I am actually enjoying these African based tales more than I figured I would. I only wish he would of put in some kind of pronunciation guide because I have always tripped up over African words LOL. I have looked all over for those early editions of the stories because I really wanted to read "Slaves of the Giant-Kings" but the prices online are way to high and are nonexistent in the used bookstores here, but I am still hoping to stumble across that little treasure.


Aaron Meyer (loptsson) | 75 comments Well I have finally finished Imaro and must say the stories were pretty darn good. Now I pretty much have to find the second book because I can't just let the story end here.


S.wagenaar | 365 comments I have to agree; great stories with an African beat you won't find anywhere else. Initially I was disappointed that it was a series of short stories, but they work so well, I now think this is one of my favorite books on my shelf.


message 22: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
Finished Book 2: The Place of Stones ... within Imaro. Wow! I didn't expect such a heavy dose of sorcery and horror. Awesome. Reminiscent of REH 'a Worms of the Earth, but more visceral and faster paced. Next up is the infamous Book 3, "The Slaves of the Giant Kings" (removed from revised edition as per above discussion).

Also, I wrote to Charles R. Saunders's email (on Lulu.com) and informed him of the Groupread, invited him to comment, and inquired about the possibility of getting PDFs or eBooks.


message 23: by Sean (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sean (capthowdy) | 75 comments S.E. wrote: "Also, I wrote to Charles R. Saunders's email (on Lulu.com) and informed him of the Groupread, invited him to comment, and inquired about the possibility of getting PDFs or eBooks. "

I was thinking of doing that.. very happy you did!


message 24: by Aaron (last edited Sep 12, 2013 07:52PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Aaron Meyer (loptsson) | 75 comments S.E. wrote: "Finished Book 2: The Place of Stones ... within Imaro. Wow! I didn't expect such a heavy dose of sorcery and horror. Awesome. Reminiscent of REH 'a Worms of the Earth, but more visceral and faster ..."
Yeah I didn't expect it either. I really liked how he writes about sorcery, it is believable.
It would be really sweet if Mr. Saunders would stop by for a chat. I would like to hear what any of his plans for further stories are!
On another note I was fortunate enough to find the first three original DAW copies of Imaro stories at a very good price. So I will hopefully very soon get to jump back in to the fascinating world of Imaro.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

I've got to get a copy and get in on this read. I've been dying to read these for a while now.


message 26: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 17, 2013 09:30AM) (new)

I had planned on rereading Imaro for the group read but I have so much other stuff I'm trying to read for a project that a reread will have to wait. Here are my reviews of some of Saunders' work though; I doubt I could add anything more to what I've already said in them, anyway.

Imaro & Imaro 2 double review

Imaro III

Dossouye

Dossouye: The Dancers of Mulukau


Milton (thegriot) | 5 comments I'm a big Charles Saunders fan. Stay with the Imaro Series. Imaro IV will blow you away.


message 28: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
Milton wrote: "I'm a big Charles Saunders fan. Stay with the Imaro Series. Imaro IV will blow you away."

Cool, it is nice to have Milton J. Davis join in. I am knew to Sword and Soul, but I know enough to connect your name with Saunders. Thanks for chiming in!

Griots A Sword and Soul Anthology by Milton J. Davis


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes! I finally got my copy of Imaro! I'm going to start reading tomorrow on the plane. :D


Milton (thegriot) | 5 comments Charles's current publisher is working on e-book versions of the Imaro books. There's a new Imaro story in Griots and a new Dossouye story in the upcoming Griots: Sisters of the Spear anthology. And to top it all off, I plan to publish the first book (or two) in a new series by him entitled 'Abengoni.


message 31: by S.E., Gray Mouser (last edited Sep 25, 2013 07:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
Bill wrote: "I had planned on rereading Imaro for the group read but I have so much other stuff I'm trying to read for a project that a reread will have to wait. Here are my reviews of some of Saunders' work th..."


Bill, these are great reviews. Thanks for sharing the links. Extremely thorough.
(see message 26)

If you are up to it, it would helpful to have Goodreads "reviews" for those (i.e. either a link to your blog... or a copy/paste of the content). That would help inform future readers, and direct more folks to your blog.


Aaron Meyer (loptsson) | 75 comments Milton wrote: "Charles's current publisher is working on e-book versions of the Imaro books. There's a new Imaro story in Griots and a new Dossouye story in the upcoming Griots: Sisters of the Spear anthology. An..."

Wow that's some awesome news there!! My to be bought list just keeps getting bigger lol


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Yeah, I'd like to read these if they were either in print or ebooks, so that's good news.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Great news about Imaro coming to ebook, that will definitely reach a lot more fans and I'll be sure to crow about it over at BG when the time comes.

Thanks for the compliment, SE. I was working on copying my reviews over to Goodreads a while ago, but stopped before I got to any fantasy I think. I'll have to set aside a weekend to get some copy-paste action going sometime soon.


Fletcher Vredenburgh | 91 comments Milton wrote: "Charles's current publisher is working on e-book versions of the Imaro books. There's a new Imaro story in Griots and a new Dossouye story in the upcoming Griots: Sisters of the Spear anthology. An..."

Great to hear all that.


message 36: by S.E., Gray Mouser (last edited Sep 27, 2013 05:24AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
Finally completed the third chapter "Slaves of the Giant Kings." It was almost as long as the first two stories combined. Unlike the others it felt contrived. In other words, the first two chapters were better. I would gamble that the revised edition / replacement "Afua" is better (especially given Sean's Message 17).


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

I enjoyed "Slaves of the Giant Kings." I was a little hesitant when I heard it was significantly longer than the previous stories, but I felt it was enjoyable. It reminded me the most of a Conan story wherein Imaro acts by example for others and inspires them to action over tyranny. I thought it had some interesting twists as well, but nothing has matched the conclusion of "The Place of Stones;" a striking image which is also burned into Imaro's memory.

"Horror in the Black Hills" I thought was a weaker story. That premise seemed more cliche and contrived to me. It started with potential, but I found the payoff disappointing. I still need to finish "The City of Madness."

Overall, I found the stories very enjoyable, and I read them quickly. I would have liked to have seen more of the supernatural though and more imaginative cultures as these seems to skew pretty close to their African roots rather than fantasy. Still very good, and a change of pace from "Clonan" stories. My next book has its basis in African mythology as well, so I was glad to see I'm not treading the same ground Saunders has already covered.


message 38: by S.E., Gray Mouser (last edited Oct 04, 2013 04:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
Paul wrote: "I read Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology a little while back and enjoyed a number of the stories. The Imaro story at the end was quite good. I think the book is relatively cheap on kindle too."

Good call, Paul. I just got the kindle version ~$4. Actually editor Milton J. Davis chimed in this discussion about this anthology, which pretty much lays a foundation of Sword & Soul. I was taken with Saunder's foreward/essay in which he described his motivations for writing (and coining the term) Sword & Soul.


message 39: by S.E., Gray Mouser (last edited Oct 04, 2013 04:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
Imaro Cover Art

Michael and I were discussing Imaro Cover Art in the "Cover Art Thread" and with this note I try to bring it back into this discussion.
--> https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

In short, the 1981 cover by Ken Kelly seems to have some glaring disconnects: the cover depicts Book Four Horror in the Hills, but has a hero that appears non-African and the creature approximates the primary antagonist...but is of the incorrect gender.
Imaro by Charles R. Saunders

The NightShade edition of Imaro, has a beautiful illustration by Vince Evans, but given the color-palette & the lack of magic & creatures, it appears to showcase a Historical-Fiction novel rather than Fantasy-Fiction.
Imaro by Charles R. Saunders

Perhaps some of those design features were intentional marketing concepts.

Michael commented:

"I have the 1981 DAW version, and I loved the cover. I was excited to see Imaro battling evil hippo men! I was disappointed to discover how misleading that cover is. :(

The Night Shade cover is kind of drab, and it definitely looks more like a history book rather than pulp fantasy goodness. The first four stories (I haven't read the fifth yet) seem to echo that though. There are supernatural elements within them, but they definitely low fantasy, not unlike a Conan story. They seem more firmly rooted in historical African culture than in a fantastic world.

I feel like both covers are misleading to some degree, but I don't know how you could capture the actual tone of the books since it is a fine distinction, and it's easy to go too far in one direction or the other.

I like the DAW version, but that's also the type of fantasy I prefer."



Aaron Meyer (loptsson) | 75 comments S.E. wrote: "Imaro Cover Art

Michael and I were discussing Imaro Cover Art in the "Cover Art Thread" and with this note I try to bring it back into this discussion.
--> https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/109..."


I actually enjoyed the new cover for Imaro. I think it captured the first story rather nicely. It also somewhat reminded me of Conan when I first seen it. The covers for the second book "The Quest for Cush" I for the most part liked both the DAW version and the newer release. The only thing about the DAW version I thought was weird is that they make Imaro out to be practically a giant. I haven't had a chance to read it yet so maybe he ran into a tribe of pygmee's? The newer versions cover though I like the figures (it's a classic position they are in)though the background could of been a little better.


message 41: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
I was getting the feeling the The City of Madness (book 5 in the DAW 1981 verion) slipped to being the 1st chapter in Nightshade's second volume. Being a completist freak...and inspired by Sean's comments on the Afua...I found a used copy of the Nightshade edition; it is coming by mule-shipping (may arrive in weeks) and I am too impatient to wait to check the table of contents myself.

Can anyone with the Nightshade 2006 edition confirm the number of chapters? 4 ? 5?


message 42: by Jason (new)

Jason | 113 comments Seth,
Imaro 2 The Quest for Cush by Charles R. Saunders The City of Madness does indeed kick off Nightshade's version of Imaro 2, and this change is discussed by the author in an introductory Author's Note. For this version, that chapter is also renamed Mji Ya Wzimu which "was its title in its first incarnation in Gene Day's Dark Fantasy magazine back in 1974." (Quote from Author's Note to same).


message 43: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
Jason,
Thanks. I was curious in part because I am writing up my review and like to have notes about acquisition/distribution. It seems that it makes sense not to mix and match series too much... I wonder/assume in the various volumes 2 end similarly to start vol 3.
Cheers Seth


message 44: by S.E., Gray Mouser (last edited Oct 07, 2013 04:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
Not only did I enjoy Imaro, my OCD compelled me to track down Nightshade's Imaro 1=Imaro (must read Afua)...and Vol-2 The Quest for Cush: Imaro II (must read more Imaro). Those are in transit. (I am hoping that "Sequels" becomes the topic of our next groupread :) )

Just posted my review. In short, Imaro’s pulpy style & storytelling may merit 4 stars, its uniqueness & place in literature boost it to 5.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Thanks to this group for getting me exposed to Sword & Soul. Without this groupread, I am sure I would have missed it.

Full confession: my cursed OCD led me get the Kindle version of Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology.


Charles (kainja) | 413 comments I haven't read that antho yet but plan to get to it.


Fletcher Vredenburgh | 91 comments I liked Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology a bunch and reviewed http://swordssorcery.blogspot.com/201... it last summer. Milton Davis is a powerful force, getting lots of great stories out there.


message 47: by S.E., Gray Mouser (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
Jason wrote: "Seth, Imaro 2 The Quest for Cush by Charles R. Saunders The City of Madness does indeed kick off Nightshade's version of Imaro 2, and this change is discussed by the author in an introductory Author..."

I received my other Imaro books today (#2 of the first editions, and Nightshade#1). So I am reading The Afua (which replaced Slaves of the Giant Kings)...
and to my surprise is another new chapter called Betrayal in Blood (which pushes The City of Madness to the next Volume). I was actually curious about the betrayal mentioned in The City... it will be fun to read that.

I'll have to edit my review to better contrast/compare the Original vs Revised Imaro-volumes' chapters.


message 48: by Periklis, Fafhrd (last edited Oct 09, 2013 07:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Periklis (periklisbegzos) | 427 comments Mod
S.E. wrote: "Jason wrote: "Seth, Imaro 2 The Quest for Cush by Charles R. Saunders The City of Madness does indeed kick off Nightshade's version of Imaro 2, and this change is discussed by the author in an intro..."

Although I've only read the first two volumes of the Imaro saga (Nightshade Books - editions), I'm curious about the differences wtih the original editions. Please do keep us posted Seth...


message 49: by S.E., Gray Mouser (last edited Oct 29, 2013 07:46AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 1989 comments Mod
Just read the Nightshade's revised chapter 3 and additional chapter (Betrayal in Blood), and really like how Saunder's revisted his past work and made it stronger. The Afua chapter in particular seemed more consistent with Imaro's development as an outcast and his conflict with evil forces...and the writing seemed less forced (especially with Tanisha's introduction). The candid remarks from Saunders and Syzumskyj (a loyal fan who urged him to revist Imaro) were interesting and encouraging to fans of the genre. In short, despite the first edition being a good-read, I would recommend future readers to grab the Nightshade Version if given the option (since it is even better).


message 50: by Sean (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sean (capthowdy) | 75 comments S.E. wrote: "In short, despite the first edition being a good-read, I would recommend future readers to grab the Nightshade Version if given the option (since it is even better)."

Wow interesting comment.


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