Robert E. Howard Readers discussion

Cormac Mac Art (The Robert E. Howard Library, Vol. I)
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Other Writers & Artists > Cormac Mac Art Pastiches

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message 1: by Vincent (last edited Jan 20, 2015 07:55PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments The fragment "Tigers of the Sea" written by REH was completed by Richard Tierney for the Donald Grant edition of Tigers of the Sea, and reprinted by Zebra (Tigers of the Sea), and again in Ace's edition (Tigers Of The Sea). The story was also completed by David Drake in Baen Books' Cormac Mac Art. It's been ages since I've read those completed versions - does anyone have a preference on the pastiche endings? If so, why one over the other? How different are the endings?


message 2: by S.wagenaar (new)

S.wagenaar | 6 comments I think I have both versions-will have to compare and see...


message 3: by S.wagenaar (new)

S.wagenaar | 6 comments I think I have both versions-will have to compare and see...


message 4: by S.wagenaar (new)

S.wagenaar | 6 comments Oops, clumsy finger!


Vincent Darlage | 633 comments I look forward to your comparison!


Michael (dolphy76) | 440 comments I've never read the pastiches although I just bought "The Undying Wizard" and "The Tower of Death" by Andrew J Offutt on ebay and was thinking of trying them out. I'm not big on pastiches of Howard's work but I like Andrew J Offutt. Curious what others think of those novels and others about Cormac.
I haven't read Tigers of the Sea in years and will read it before starting on these.


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 542 comments I never cared for Offutt's writing, but haven't read any of it in years - maybe 30 or so. I think I only read one of his pastiches & didn't care for that much so I've steered clear of them. Maybe I should give them another shot.


message 8: by Ó Ruairc (last edited Jan 29, 2015 08:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ó Ruairc | 169 comments I have always been quite fond of Offutt's "Cormac Mac Art" series. I recommend reading them in order. "The Mists of Doom" is the first book, and it covers the time period of Cormac's youth. It's been a long while since I've read these books, but if I remember a-right, Offutt's Cormac Mac Art is a reincarnation of the legendary Irish hero Cu Cuchulain.

Offutt's character is different than REH's Cormac Mac Art, so I'm hard put to label his works as a take off or copy of Howard's tales. Offut's Cormac Mac Art stories are well-written, and he bathes his dialogue with a particular old Irish parlance that I find highly entertaining.

Offutt uses Ireland as his milieu, and I believe the stories take place during the first century after Christ. If you are interested in some excellent fantasy stories about ancient Éire's history and legendry, I highly suggest reading this series.

I love these books. As a matter of fact, it's nigh time I read them again.

By the by, Andre J. Offutt gave up the ghost last April, aged 78 years.


message 9: by Vincent (last edited Jan 30, 2015 06:32AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments I have Offut's The Mists of Doom and Sword Of The Gael, but not the others. I haven't read them yet.

I did like his Conan pastiches, but it's been nearly twenty years since I last read them. I have found that liking something as a teenager and liking them now doesn't always happen. I remember trying to re-read the first Dragonlance trilogy a few years back (which I LOVED as a teenager) and couldn't get past the first few chapters.


Michael (dolphy76) | 440 comments Very true Vincent. I've had the same experience especially with old TV shows and movies that I loved as a kid and they don't make the grade anymore. I bought the Andrew Offutt books because that's what I do (LOL) is buy too many books that I may never be able to read in my lifetime! Hopefully I will get to them soon. Thanks for the recommendation O'Ruairc.


message 11: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 542 comments With older media, it's sometimes best to keep the memories, isn't it? I've had the same experience. Some books can appeal more, though. Fahrenheit 451 & To Kill a Mockingbird were both good when I was a teen, but really wowed me when I reread them recently.


message 12: by Vincent (last edited Jan 30, 2015 08:03AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments I think that is the reason classic books remain classic. I have a hard time rereading a lot of fantasy books that I loved as a teen (outside of REH) and am reticent to call them great characters for that reason. Every time I reread Frankenstein or Jane Eyre, I find new facets to appreciate. That doesn't seem to happen with a lot of the fantasy books... at least not for me. YMMV.


Ó Ruairc | 169 comments Agreed. The classics never fail you. I've read some sorry fantasy books in my youth, and I'll be damned if I ever read them again. There are exceptions, obviously, and Offutt's Cormac Mac Art series is one of them - at least, for me.



Vincent wrote: "I think that is the reason classic books remain classic. I have a hard time rereading a lot of fantasy books that I loved as a teen (outside of REH) and am reticent to call them great characters f..."


message 14: by S.wagenaar (new)

S.wagenaar | 6 comments Concerning Tigers of the Sea:
Gotta say, Richard Tierney did a much better job completing REH's tale. His prose is well matched to Howard's, and he maintains the action oriented headlong drive of the original fragment. David Drake's version is shorter, slower and too wordy with dialogue for my tastes. And the style is off from Howard, with jarring sound effects written in and out of sync descriptions like "moccasins" that just doesn't seem to fit the timeframe of the story. Stick with Tierney's version.


Vincent Darlage | 633 comments Thank you for the comparison, S.! I'm not surprised, I guess. Tierney has done a lot of REH pastiches and so on, with books like For the Witch of the Mists (Bran Mak Morn) and the Red Sonja books (such as The Ring of Ikribu), but those books were written with David Smith as co-author, so I wasn't sure how well he might do on his own. Thanks again for taking the time to read them both!


message 16: by S.wagenaar (new)

S.wagenaar | 6 comments No problems! Reading Howard, and S&S in general is hardly a boring task-I love this stuff!


Michael (dolphy76) | 440 comments I just saw a post on Facebook from Chris Offutt, Andrew Offutt's son. He wrote a short biographical piece on his father and reveals that he made his living mostly writing porn. I was stunned. First I heard of it!
Looks the article came from the NY Times Feb 5, 2015 and named "My Dad, the Pornographer." Guess it paid the bills.


Vincent Darlage | 633 comments Yes, I read that article also. I already knew that about him, but it was still an interesting article.


message 19: by S.wagenaar (new)

S.wagenaar | 6 comments Yeah, I recall Andrew had written a series of sci-fi porn books, mostly soft-core stuff, pot boilers. If you want to make a living writing, sometimes you write what sells, be it romance, gothics, or even erotica.


Ó Ruairc | 169 comments Indeed, I think even REH punched out some lascivious tales in order to make a buck.


message 21: by Vincent (last edited Feb 07, 2015 02:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments Yes, he did. Spicy Adventures collects them. It'd be interesting if Offut's family puts out a collection of his erotica in an handful of omnibus editions for fans.


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