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Conan Of Venarium (Turtledove) Reviews


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#1 Emirikol

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 09:38 PM

Harry Turtledove is doing the next conan novel, entitled "Conan of Venarium."

http://www.uk.scifi....d=11&HeadId=525

What do you all think of Turtledove's works?


It's due out in July.

Jay H

#2 Ironhand

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 10:06 PM

I love HT's work. It is well-written, and wonderfully researched, a treasure trove of information about whatever period he's writing about. He may not be the inventor, but he is the quintessential examplar of alternate history.

But the only review I've read so far pans "Conan of Venarium", saying that HT's presentation of Cimmerians is far too civilized, making Conan's village seem like a medieval hamlet. For instance Conan is (allegedly) carrying on a romance with "the weaver's daughter". Weaver?!?

I will probably buy the book, but it looks like HT's story is an "alternate history"of Hyboria and the Cimmerians.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#3 Kane

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 12:17 AM

Ironhand,

Where did you find the preveiw of the novel. And, could you provide the URL?
"I vanquished Law once, I'll conquer yet again--
And force upon Mankind the Freedom he fears--
And dead gods I will again defy?"

#4 emerald

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 01:28 AM

Kane,
That was me, on the Conan.no board, back in early January.
I'm a buyer for a major book chain and often get a bit of a jump on info about new books.
What I saw, and posted, was the copy from TOR's summer catalog.
Here it is again...

CONAN OF VENARIUM
HARRY TURTLEDOVE

A new adventure of Conan-from one of today's most popular writers of fantasy and SF.

For decades, millions of readers have thrilled to the adventures of Conan, the barbarian adventurer invented by Robert E. Howard, and further chronicled by such notable fantasy writers as L. Sprague de Camp, Poul Anderson, and Robert Jordan.
Now Harry Turtledove, one of today's most popular writers of SF & fantasy, fulfills a lifelong ambition by contributing a novel to the Conan saga. Here is the tale of the young Conan, in the year or so before he becomes the wandering adventurer we know from Howard's tales. On the verge of adulthood, he lives in a Cimmerian hamlet, caring for his ailing mother and helping at his father's smithy. He's big, strong, shy, ferocious-and has a crush on the weaver's daughter who lives next door.
Then war comes: an invasion by the Aquilonian Empire. Conan burns to join the fight, but he's too young to go. The Aquilonians have smashed the Cimmerian defending forces, and can rule as they please. Soon their heavily garrisoned forts dot the countryside. Their settlers follow after, carving homesteads out of other men's land.
Every Cimmerian longs to drive the intruders out with fire and sword, but they must stay their hands, for the Aquilonians promise savage reprisals. Then, intolerably, the Aquilonian commander takes a wholly dishonorable interest in the weaver's daughter-and he's not a man to wait, or even ask permission.
It's not a recipe for a peaceful outcome.

-That's it. It's just a blurb, so drawing hard & fast conclusions about the book from it are a bit risky. It's probably accurate, but take it with a grain of salt."



This original post generated a number of less-than-enthusiastic responses.
I'l wait until I can read a copy before I pass judgement.
With any luck I'll get to check it out well before its actual release, and I'll post my reaction both here and at Stale's board.

#5 alex

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 08:04 AM

The only Turtledove I've read are the four from The Misplaced Legion series, (which were fun) and his alternate Civil War story: Guns Of The South. After that I lost interest. I really felt it was getting slightly out of hand with the alternate history. Historical fiction is more to my liking. After reading the link Emirikol kindly provided and learning it was de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall which influenced HT. Well, that explains a lot! (That was a good one.)

Turtledove is miles above some of the other authors around nowadays. Looking forward to reading Conan of Venarium, even if the storyline sounds like Braveheart. (Cimmerians staying their hands because of Aquilonian promises of reprisal?? :blink: wha?)

I wish David Drake would try doing a Conan story, his Cormac Mac Art was good.
What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs - I was a man before I was a king.

- "The Road of Kings"

#6 Kane

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 08:57 AM

Emerald,

Thanks for posting the preveiw!
After re-reading it I can understand why I drove it from my mind. however, in all fairness I will give the book a read before I render a final judgement.

BTW, am I the only one who thinks that it sounds like a Hyborian version of Braveheart?
"I vanquished Law once, I'll conquer yet again--
And force upon Mankind the Freedom he fears--
And dead gods I will again defy?"

#7 budgie

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 09:33 AM

But the only review I've read so far pans "Conan of Venarium", saying that HT's presentation of Cimmerians is far too civilized, making Conan's village seem like a medieval hamlet.  For instance Conan is (allegedly) carrying on a romance with "the weaver's daughter".  Weaver?!?

Ironhand,

Are you saying that a Cimmerian clan wouldnt have a weaver or it the fact he is trying to romance the weavers daughter? Again is this weaver male or female? weaving is generally a womans work.. everty clan needs clothes etc.. And as for Conan romancing, every youth gets horny :D

Although the cimmerians are known for being a feudal people there has to be other professions within the clans than just warriors for the clan to survive..

weavers, woodworkers, blacksmiths, cooks, shamen, healers, artists, bards and so on..

without these people a vilage would not work or grow.

budgie
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#8 alex

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 12:03 PM

BTW, am I the only one who thinks that it sounds like a Hyborian version of Braveheart?

You are not alone in that opinion. I also noticed the similiarities. Reread my post. thanks.
What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs - I was a man before I was a king.

- "The Road of Kings"

#9 Isaacson

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 05:53 PM

Hi .

... Budgie Wrote ( in a reply to Ironhand ) :

>>Are you saying that a Cimmerian clan wouldnt have a weaver or it the fact he is trying to romance the weavers daughter? Again is this weaver male or female? weaving is generally a womans work.. everty clan needs clothes etc..

.... And ....

>>Although the cimmerians are known for being a feudal people there has to be other professions within the clans than just warriors for the clan to survive..
>weavers, woodworkers, blacksmiths, cooks, shamen, healers, artists, bards and so on..

.... And ....

>>without these people a vilage would not work or grow.


- ( Isaacson ) Such communities possibly would utilize and have need of such industries and individuals . But Robert E Howard , gave little , if any , clues about most of those trades in Cimmeria ( except the hint of Conan's father being a blacksmith ) . Specifically concerning the point of a weaver being in the tribe , hints are only made ( in the readily available texts at least ) about "animal furs" being worn by Cimmerians ....


"The Hour of the Dragon" ( UK pb Millennium Conan Chrons. Vol 2 , Page 374 ) .

" ( Conan relating a dream to Pallantides ) I saw again the battlefield
whereon I was born , said Conan , resting his chin moodily on a massive
fist . I saw myself in a pantherskim loin clout . Throwing my spear at the
mountain beasts ."


... & ...


"The Hour of the Dragon" ( UK pb Millennium Conan Chrons. Vol 2 Page 435 ) .

"The firelight gleamed redly on his steel mail , on his baleful eyes .
They burned in the firelight like the eyes of a wolf . Servius was again
aware as in the past , and now more strongly than ever , of something
alien about the king . The great frame under the mesh mail was too
hard and supple for a civilized man ; the elemental fire of the primitive
burned in those smoldering eyes . Now the barbaric suggestion about
the king was more pronounced , as if in his extemity the outer aspects
of civilization were stripped away to reveal the primordial core . Conan
was reverting to his pristine type . He did not act as a civilized man
under the same conditions , nor did his thoughts run in the same
channels . He was unpredictable . It was only a stride from the king of
Aquilonia to the skin-clad slayer of the Cimmerian hills ."

.......................


- Cheers , Danny .

#10 Ironhand

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 06:21 PM

[quote name='budgie' date='May 5 2003, 09:33 AM'][/quote]
Ironhand,

Are you saying that a Cimmerian clan wouldnt have a weaver or it the fact he is trying to romance the weavers daughter? Again is this weaver male or female? weaving is generally a womans work.. everty clan needs clothes etc.. And as for Conan romancing, every youth gets horny :D

Although the cimmerians are known for being a feudal people there has to be other professions within the clans than just warriors for the clan to survive..

weavers, woodworkers, blacksmiths, cooks, shamen, healers, artists, bards and so on..

without these people a vilage would not work or grow.

budgie [/quote]
The Cimmerians were not feudal, they were more primitive, and more independant, than that. They were tribal, and every tribe was independant, owing allegiance to nobody.

I think that some of the professions you list did not exist among Cimmerians, although there was obviously some specialization, since Conan's father was a blacksmith. But REH's mythos requires Cimmerians to have steel swords, and learning how to make those from scratch is the labor of a lifetime, hence, the specialization. But I think (MHO only) that most Cimmerians were occupied with subsistance survival; fabric, if any, would have been homespun.

Don't think of European feudal villages, think of Indian tribes, or Himalayan or Afghan villages.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#11 emerald

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 06:45 PM

I feel absolutely no urge to debate the likelihood of a weaver dwelling in a Cimmerian village.
My indifference to this possibility yawns as vast as the space between the stars.
It's an unimportant background detail.

I'm honestly concerned with how "Howardian" a story about Conan with a teen-age crush could possibly be. Especially one in which the Cimmerian's sole spur to action (despite his country's invasion) appears to be a rival for his dream girl's affections.

But it's just a catalog blurb, guys.
Reading to much into it is probably a waste of time.

#12 budgie

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 08:01 PM

Isaacson et al.

I understand your view on the quotes etc, I tip my hat to your research :D

Ok, maybe I am picturing the Cimmerian clans somewhat different in structure than some of you all but I still believe the Cimmerians were a lot more advanced than most folks think.

As Ironhand states concerning the crafting of swords there was a level of technology existing so I cant see everyone tramping around in just furs.. maybe its a battle dress thing like the American Indians with the feathers and war paint..

Even iron age people were wearing treated and tailored furs and leathers not just some flimsy loincloth..

makes ya think :blink:

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#13 Ironhand

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 09:24 PM

It's all conjecture. No doubt whatsoever they tanned their hides. Maybe they wore tailored leather like some American Indian tribes. They may have made fabric, but I bet it was homespun. Spinning and weaving was a major spare-time activity for women in pre-technological cultures, and that includes iron age and steel age, so a weaver probably wouldn't be able to support himself in a small "rural" village.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#14 DRH

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 04:00 AM

Howdy all!! New to the posts but thought that I would drop in and let you folks know that you can preview the dust jacket artwork for HT's forthcoming Conan pastiche at Amazon.com. It looks pretty good, lots of barbarian battle mayhem taking place. I'm looking forward to Tor's relaunch of the Conan franchise. I will even go so far as to say that I would welcome authors taking a few minor liberties with the character as long as the novel is well written and Conan is still mostly recognizable as the Conan we all know and love.

#15 alex

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 03:15 PM

For those curious or have not seen the cover yet. Here it is.

Posted Image
What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs - I was a man before I was a king.

- "The Road of Kings"

#16 budgie

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 09:28 PM

For those curious or have not seen the cover yet. Here it is.

Posted Image

Blimey!! its Conan versus the Romans on the cover :blink:

budgie
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#17 Ironhand

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 10:05 AM

So where's Russell Crowe? ;-)
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#18 budgie

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 09:41 PM

So where's Russell Crowe?  ;-)

well, if he saw Conan and the Cimmerian horde coming towards him I'm sure he would be doing an about turn and riding away in the opposite direction as quickly as possible B)

wouldnt you too? I know I would ;)

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#19 Orkin

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Posted 12 May 2003 - 06:47 PM

Don't know about you, but I'd be cheering him on: "There's a good lad, and here's a tankard of the good stuff when you're through mopping up!" :D
? ?When I can not stand alone, it will be time to die,? he mumbled, through mashed lips. ?But I?d like a flagon of wine.?
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#20 Amra31

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 05:55 AM

I hope it will be a good read. I am a huge fan of Conan, and I especially like the Tor series. Its been so long since we have had new Conan to read, it would be a shame to be let down. I have never read and of HT'swork but I have always heard good things. so hopefully that will be a good sign. Is it going to come out in Hardcover first?
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