?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Journal of No. 118


April 17th, 2010

the Atomic Messiah's miracle @ 08:59 pm


citizenbrown had a little shindig last night to celebrate the miraculous non-brokenness of his leg. What further proof is needed that the Atomic Messiah can rearrange atoms to suit his needs, and transmit salvation?

In any event, many friends were about for conviviality and conversation. Important news and revelations vied with less serious conversations, such as determining the best proxy for sex among the activities that earn one points in weight watchers: squat thrusts or wrestling?
graydons amused all with his profound ignorance of fantasy literature. Not only did he defend later Amber novels, and expose his ignorance of Leiber and Moorcock, but he seemed to be under the impression that sword and sorcery originated roughly at the same time as his own mayfly-like existence. He uttered something like: "I mostly read Dragonlance. I had no idea sword and sorcery existed in the 1930s."

I'm very sorry, Richard. Please drink some rum to dull the pain. Rest assured I heaped scorn upon him. I am not a violent man, but I think flame shot out of my eyes as I shouted 'Conan!?!?!' at him.

And since I mentioned it at the time, I like a lot of Zelazny's short stories better than his novels. So seek out his collections, particularly Last Defender of Camelot.
 
Share  |  Flag |

Comments

 
From:stevenkaye
Date:April 18th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Eye of Cat is probably my favorite of Zelazny's novels, honestly. Though I also like Isle of the Dead, possibly beyond its actual merits.
[User Picture Icon]
From:ian_tiberius
Date:April 19th, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)
(Link)
Hee hee. But now a confession: while I have read Leiber and Moorcock, and consider the later Amber novels thoroughly indefensible, I have never read Conan. If I choose to rectify this, should I start with the earliest-written stories ("The Phoenix on the Sword" and "The Scarlet Citadel", says Wikipedia) or are there better places to begin? Does chronology matter?
[User Picture Icon]
From:richardabecker
Date:April 19th, 2010 05:06 am (UTC)
(Link)
For the correct reading of Conan the Barbarian, I advocate the following:

1) Read Robert E. Howard first and foremost -- before any of the DeCamp/Carter/Nyberg "edits," before any of the Roy Thomas comics pastiches

2) Never read any "new and original" Conan stories at all, particularly Robert Jordan or the current Dark Horse comic books

3) Read the stories in the order of Conan's life history, not publication. It begins with "The Tower of the Elephant," and goes from there. Ignore the controversy among long-time fans and stick to the only chronology published during Howard's lifetime, Miller and Clark's "A Probable Outline of Conan's Career." It goes like this:

* "The Tower of the Elephant"
* "Rogues in the House"
* "Queen of the Black Coast"
* "Black Colossus"
* "Shadows in the Moonlight"
* "A Witch Shall Be Born"
* "Shadows in Zamboula"
* "The Devil in Iron"
* The People of the Black Circle
* "The Slithering Shadow"
* "The Pool of the Black One"
* Red Nails
* "Jewels of Gwahlur"
* Beyond the Black River
* "The Phoenix on the Sword"
* "The Scarlet Citadel"
* The Hour of the Dragon

4. Forget the movies, the TV show, the cartoon, the roleplaying game, the MMORPG and all that crap.

5. Remember they're written in the 1930s by a very gifted and very crazy man who lived in Texas and committed suicide shortly after writing the best of the stories.

6. If you need to know what Conan looks like, look up the paintings of Frank Frazetta or the drawings of John Buscema. That's what he looks like. If he sounds anything like any actor alive today, it's not Arnie Schwarzenegger. It's probably more like Gerard Butler or Clancy Brown.
[User Picture Icon]
From:richardabecker
Date:April 19th, 2010 05:12 am (UTC)
(Link)
Oh, and as nice as the chainmail bikini looks in all those pinup drawings and photos, forget Red Sonja. She's not in the stories and is 99.999% apocryphal. Howard's actual warrior women of the Hyborian Age include Valeria the thief and Belit the pirate queen. Conan does tend to spend a lot of his time with sexy bimbos in the stories, but he also tends to piss away his money on sprees, get drunk and hang out in sleazy taverns, and do a lot of irresponsible nonsense before he finally gets ambitious.

And despite the many artists that depict him in the classic loincloth and helmet garb, pay attention to all the times in the stories that Howard has Conan put on armor and use a shield -- he's incredibly tough and deadly, but he's not actually stupid...
[User Picture Icon]
From:richardabecker
Date:April 19th, 2010 05:14 am (UTC)
(Link)
He might also sound like Ron Perlman. Brian Blessed and John Rhys-Davies are both too goofy to voice him, though.
[User Picture Icon]
From:richardabecker
Date:April 19th, 2010 05:17 am (UTC)
(Link)
And watch for the instance in a later Conan story in the chronology where our hero actually sidesteps a fight with a gigantic snake -- reasoning that he doesn't need to do that in order to fulfill his mission. This usually shocks people who have preconceived notions about him. That, and the way he's described 80% of the time as being scared out of his wits when he meets a supernatural menace...
[User Picture Icon]
From:essentialsaltes
Date:April 19th, 2010 01:42 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I defer to Richard. I'm actually not a huge Conan fan. I'm not sure I've even read any Conan material written by people other than Two Gun Bob Howard.
[User Picture Icon]
From:richardabecker
Date:April 19th, 2010 05:03 am (UTC)
(Link)
Graydon could have pretty much stopped at, "I mostly read _Dragonlance_." No greater shame can be afforded a fantasy reader than this. (As for the birth of sword and sorcery, Howard would be joined by Ms. C.L. Moore, Henry Kuttner, and many others in disgust at Graydon's lack of understanding.)

I hope Graydon has heard of Tolkien... it's a lost cause to imagine he knows of Jack Vance, William Morris, Lord Dunsany, Thomas Malory, U.K. LeGuin, and so on and so on...
[User Picture Icon]
From:essentialsaltes
Date:April 19th, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC)
(Link)
He had indeed heard of Tolkien, but again the fact that The Hobbit was published in 1937 was yet another shock, as was the fact that LotR was written not long after.

Journal of No. 118