Monday 16 December 2013

I [Heart] Conan

I followed a link on Google+, which transported me back in time to a bunch of 2009 blog posts about D&D and the picaresque [Grognardia, Playing D&D with Porn Stars]. Do read those for interesting thoughts. In the meantime, I had my recent haul from a second-hand bookshop in my bag, and I was prompted to write this post. Even if just to say that I love Conan. And it isn't [just] the mighty thews.

Last week's second-hand bookshop 'score'.

One thing that you don't get from that picture is how slim the books are. Why are fantasy novels so big these days? What? Market forces? "What do we want? Nationalised fantasy novel production. When do we want it? The Hyborian Age!" Actually, only Conan the Conqueror ('The Hour of the Dragon') is actually a novel (and less than 200 pages at that), with the rest of the books being composed of short stories. I love the lurid, Frazetta covers too.

I'm glad that I don't own an omnibus edition of the Conan stories. Gathered together under a 'serious' cover (in hardcover!) there would be the shadow of an overarching narrative cast on these stories. As they are, in little bite-size chunks, you see what a good D&D (or fantasy adventure game of your choice) campaign might look like, when the story is retold after play.

Anyhow, I [heart] Conan.


  1. Good catch! I've been collecting Conan/Howard prints for years....give me Howard any day over today's obese fantasy tomes.

  2. You should definitely still check out the Ballantine/Del Rey three-volume collection of Howard's unaltered, unadulterated Conan stories (The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, the Bloody Crown of Conan, and The Conquering Sword of Conan). Though I grew up on the LSdC and Lin Carter 12-book series, I find Howard's originals as first published, without the later editing, to be much superior.

    1. Cheers James. I'll see if I can track them down. Half the fun is scouring the bookshops. It helps that we live about 60 miles from Hay-on-Wye - a kingdom of secondhand bookshops.