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Acheron - The Nightmare Empire


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#81 Spartan198

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 05:49 PM

In this he conjectures that the Lemurian refugees that founded Stygia actually founded two kingdoms, a southern kingdom, Stygia proper, and a northern kingdom, Acheron, with its capital of Python.

If it's no trouble, can you give me the exact quote of Acheron's mention in the HA and tell me which paragraphs that addition was placed between?
I'm writing a story set at the time of Acheron, but I can't come up with where to place its founding in the backstory prologue.

Edited by Spartan198, 26 May 2008 - 05:53 PM.

"What is good in life?... To crush your enemy, see him driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!" -- Conan of Cimmeria

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ ~ "Come and take them." -- Leonidas' reply when ordered by the Persian messenger to surrender his weapons before the Battle of the Thermopylae Pass.


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#82 korak

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 07:59 PM

If it's no trouble, can you give me the exact quote of Acheron's mention in the HA and tell me which paragraphs that addition was placed between?
I'm writing a story set at the time of Acheron, but I can't come up with where to place its founding in the backstory prologue.


My own belief is that Acheron is referred to on the third page of the Hyborian Age, second to last paragraph, Del Rey or Wandering Star edition, where it starts "Far to the east, the Lemurians..."

DeCamp's italicized paragraph is inserted just prior to the paragraph starting "The tale of the next thousand years..." on page 5, Del Rey HA.

It is hard to copy this because I cannot hold the Lancer paperback open flat, but here goes:

[The Lemurian migration that founded the kingdom of Stygia comprised two branches. While the southern branch created Stygia, the northern branch simultaneously founded the powerful empire of Acheron, with purple-towered Python as its capital, in the lands to the north and west. Five hundred years after the founding of Acheron, the first of the Hyborian wanderers reached its borders, to recoil from the priests and warriors of the south. For nearly two thousand years, Acheron warred against the invading Hyborians. At last the barbarians swept over Acheron and blotted it out, to be stopped at last by the disciplined armies of Acheron's sister empire, her southern neighbor Stygia. L.S.deC.]

#83 Spartan198

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 02:12 AM

My own belief is that Acheron is referred to on the third page of the Hyborian Age, second to last paragraph, Del Rey or Wandering Star edition, where it starts "Far to the east, the Lemurians..."

DeCamp's italicized paragraph is inserted just prior to the paragraph starting "The tale of the next thousand years..." on page 5, Del Rey HA.

It is hard to copy this because I cannot hold the Lancer paperback open flat, but here goes:

[The Lemurian migration that founded the kingdom of Stygia comprised two branches. While the southern branch created Stygia, the northern branch simultaneously founded the powerful empire of Acheron, with purple-towered Python as its capital, in the lands to the north and west. Five hundred years after the founding of Acheron, the first of the Hyborian wanderers reached its borders, to recoil from the priests and warriors of the south. For nearly two thousand years, Acheron warred against the invading Hyborians. At last the barbarians swept over Acheron and blotted it out, to be stopped at last by the disciplined armies of Acheron's sister empire, her southern neighbor Stygia. L.S.deC.]

Okay, thanks. I know right where it goes now. :)
"What is good in life?... To crush your enemy, see him driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!" -- Conan of Cimmeria

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ ~ "Come and take them." -- Leonidas' reply when ordered by the Persian messenger to surrender his weapons before the Battle of the Thermopylae Pass.


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#84 deuce

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 05:50 AM

[quote name='korak' post='90098' date='May 26 2008, 01:30 AM']On the subject of the origin of Acheron, as I have sped read through this topic[/quote]

Hey Korak! I guess you "sped read through this topic" because what others (including REH) had to say really didn't matter? :)

[quote]I noticed that someone mentioned that DeCamp had added Acheron to the Lancer Hyborian Age essay[/quote]

Thanks for the "shout out", Korak!

[quote]so I went and got out my old Lancer first edition of Conan to check on that. Sure enough, abuot eight pages into the Hyborian Age, page 29, DeCamp inserts a paragraph in italics, with his initials as the author.[/quote]

LSdC made it SO obvious that you never noticed it until now (after 30+years as an REH fan). These last few weeks back on the forum have been a real "crash course" for you, haven't they, Korak?

[quote]In this he conjectures that the Lemurian refugees that founded Stygia actually founded two kingdoms, a southern kingdom, Stygia proper, and a northern kingdom, Acheron, with its capital of Python. According to his theory, then, Stygia and Acheron are sister nations the exact same age, founded in the same period of time. I don't buy that. As far as I am concerned, REH gives us a prototype summary of Acheron in the Hyborian Age, and by my interpretation Acheron is the older "mysterious pre-human kingdom of the south" that the Lemurian refugees invade and usurp to create Stygia, Acheron's successor. That would give Acheron the necessary antiquity to match up more confortably with the history of Xaltotun in Hour of the Dragon.[/quote]

Where's the "crippling need/compulsion/obssession" to "confortably" (and "arbitrarily") conform/"force" The Hour of the Dragon (AND The Scarlet Citadel AND Black Colossus) into the "iron-clad" constraints of the Hyborian Age guideline/essay? Wasn't Robert E. Howard an author of "amazing imagination and genius"? How dare you hold him to silly shackles/guidelines such as he wrote only for himself (ie, The Hyborian Age). Shame on you, Korak. ;) He didn't let history itself bind him into a narrow chute. Why, in Crom's name, should he let a (yet-to-be-published) guideline enchain him?

[quote]That would give Acheron the necessary antiquity to match up more confortably with the history of Xaltotun in Hour of the Dragon.[/quote]

This says it all about your "interpretation", IMO. In order for you to cling to your talisman/lucky charm (ie, The Hyborian Age), you'll go against the written word of REH himself in order to make The Hyborian Age "confortable" with the actual, published Conan yarns. Do you really respect the "intent" of Robert E. Howard or are you the guardian of the "sanctity" of The Hyborian Age? The "necessary antiquity" is supplied within The Hour of the Dragon itself. Howard rewrote the timeline (as he'd already done in "TSC" and "BC").

[quote]Because Howard doesn't name it as Acheron in the HA, that suggests to my mind that this concept was in a very embryonic state at that time, though he had already fixed in his mind that he might do something with that idea sometime, which he does finally in HOUR.[/quote]

There seems to be a whole lot of "suggesting" going on here. :) BTW, by "fixed in", don't you mean "crippled"? Just wondering.

[quote]By that time, in taking this old idea from HA and dealing it out afresh[/quote]

Actually, "by that time", REH had come up with a totally NEW idea (in keeping with his "imaginative genius"). THAT idea was that there was "an Hyborian" nation that had taken to Set-worship and imperial conquest and then warred on their more barbaric brothers. As "someone" pointed out, Moorcock and SM Stirling might have taken some inspiration from Howard's concept. True or no, the parallels to Imperial Rome (AND Nazi Germany) are interesting.

[quote]he somewhat revised the concept of Acheron to render it more dramatic narrative for his Conan novel, having it overwhelmed with barbarians rather than mere Lemurian refugees. So maybe then, there is also something in what DeCamp added, that in some way, Acheron still existed after Stygia came about, either as a rival power or as a figurehead power, which might be read into Howard's statement in HA that they retained and worshipped elements of that previous race and culture.[/quote]

There is NO evidence of an "Acheron concept" before the synopsis of The Hour of the Dragon. You keep mentioning these "Lemurian refugees". Exactly WHERE in The Hyborian Age guideline do you find evidence that the "proto-Stygians" (who would found Stygia) EVER came from "Lemuria"? Obviously, their slaves (the Hyrkanians, etc...) came from that archipelago, but where do you, Korak, find evidence of the "Lemurian" origin of the "proto-Stygians"? I have to admit, I can't find it. :)

[quote]The Hyborian Age is a very spartan summary and so any number of meticulous events could have occurred over the course of centuries within Acheron and Stygia that are sped over and ignored or summarized in only the briefest terms in that essay[/quote]

So you admit that all kinds of things "could have occurred (...) that are sped over and ignored or summarized in only the briefest of terms...". I like that. :)

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#85 korak

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 06:51 AM

Um, actually I have not needed to read the DeCamp/ Lancer version of the Hyborian Age since 1977 since Wagner included it in his Berkley trilogy.

You seem to be confusing James Allison the cripple with REH himself, considering how often you like to stick that word in.

For the rest, that's all fine as your opinion, but I don't necessarily agree with your views.

True, it was the ancient race of the east, that enslaved the Lemurian refugees, who made their way west, came upon Acheron and subdued it, and set up Stygia as part of that culture.

#86 deuce

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 07:25 AM

Um, actually I have not needed to read the DeCamp/ Lancer version of the Hyborian Age since 1977 since Wagner included it in his Berkley trilogy.


Didn't LSdC get most things right? You've said his pastiches should be included as "canon".

You seem to be confusing James Allison the cripple with REH himself, considering how often you like to stick that word in.


You won't be able to find me using "cripple/crippled/crippling" in connection with Robert E. Howard before you stated your views regarding Robert E. Howard's "intentions". You, Korak, are the one who introduced the "C-word" into the discussion of Howard's works, (possibly) as a weapon against those who might disagree with you. I'm simply tossin' it back your way. :) All (OK, at least, SOME of) those who possess a contrary "interpretation" to yours are seeking to cripple REH's imagination. Am I correct? Just because you're directly refuting what Robert E. Howard had to say on the matter isn't important. That IS what you're stating (consciously or not)?
BTW, I'm glad you're more familiar with the "Allison" yarns. Before, you couldn't figure out whether they were "pre-Kull", "pre-Hyborian" or "post-Hyborian". :)

For the rest, that's all fine as your opinion, but I don't necessarily agree with your views.


It's not my opinion. :) It's Robert E. Howard's opinion. I thought you were the duly appointed guardian of Robert E. Howard's "intentions"? You better "slow read" this topic. From the top. :)

True, it was the ancient race of the east, that enslaved the Lemurian refugees, who made their way west, came upon Acheron and subdued it, and set up Stygia as part of that culture.


Glad you finally figured that out. :) They (the "proto-Stygians") NEVER "came upon Acheron". You're putting words in Howard's mouth, now.

You better read some actual Robert E. Howard before you go any further with this "theory" of yours.

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#87 korak

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 07:49 PM

No I have never said that DeCamp's pastiches were canonical. In fact I don't know anyone who does, and I never have since I was a teenager. What I have done in the past is to sometimes place non-Howard Conan on different levels of competency-- unlike extremists, I don't put all pastiche into the same level or grouping. Any time you find wiggle room to misinterpret my words, you generally will take the opportunity.

I would rather discuss the Acheron issue with someone who actually is interested in communicating information and is willing to put quotes on the table instead of someone who thinks that their opinion is Howard's opinion, and that other people's opinions are just wrong, and whose primary goal is not to communicate information about REH, but to try to make someone else look ignorant and themselves amazingly smart. I don't see that you know any more about Howard's fantasies than any one else on this board, buddy-boy. <_<

Don't really need all the weird sarcasm about Howard being crippled or whatever--- a waste of time. Let's have the quotes about Acheron to prove whatever the heck it is your trying to prove, though at this point the discussion, as far as I am concerned, is tenuous.

Edited by korak, 28 May 2008 - 07:50 PM.


#88 deuce

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 09:13 PM

Hey Korak! :D Maybe we got off on the wrong foot here. You seem to be taking this kinda seriously, man.

[quote name='korak' post='90396' date='May 28 2008, 07:49 PM']No I have never said that DeCamp's pastiches were canonical. In fact I don't know anyone who does, and I never have since I was a teenager.[/quote]

Then you DID think so, at one time.

[quote]What I have done in the past is to sometimes place non-Howard Conan on different levels of competency-- unlike extremists[/quote]

Well, you can release me from the "extremist loony bin", guvna, 'cuz I've NEVER been opposed to "competent" pastiches of REH. I've been fairly vociferous in my praises of Wagner, Roberts and Hocking in that regard.
The problem is, I, unlike you, DON'T see LSdC's efforts as being "competent". His world-view was diametrically different than that of Robert E. Howard. HOW could he authentically recreate the atmosphere of the Hyborian Age and set Conan stories therein? He was dabbling in things he was incapable of understanding and that shows in the results.

I apologise for confusing your constant (some might call it "fanatical" or "obssessive") defense of de Camp's efforts in regard to Robert E. Howard's writings/concepts as meaning that you saw his works as "canonical". Reading back through your erudite posts, I see that isn't the case. Too bad you don't return the courtesy.

However, in the "context" of this discussion, my faux pas pales in comparison to your confusion of "Stygians" with "Lemurians" (and the wacky theory derived therefrom). I'm sure there was a good reason for your being so slapdash and cavalier with REH's concepts.

[quote]I don't put all pastiche into the same level or grouping. Any time you find wiggle room to misinterpret my words, you generally will take the opportunity.[/quote]

...and you lose no opportunity to insinuate that I'm "fanatical", "arbitrary", "obsessed" or untruthful whenever possible, in regards to my observations about Robert E. Howard's "pseudo-history", simply because my views differ from yours.

BTW, I don't put "all pastiche into the same level", either. See, we agree on something. Let's try to keep that rollin'. :D

[quote]I would rather discuss the Acheron issue with someone who actually is interested in communicating information and is willing to put quotes on the table instead of someone who thinks that their opinion is Howard's opinion, and that other people's opinions are just wrong, and whose primary goal is not to communicate information about REH, but to try to make someone else look ignorant and themselves amazingly smart.[/quote]

Wow. :blink: THAT's a sentence of truly "Teutonic" length. Did you learn to write those in "English Lit"?

There has been a great deal of "information communicated" and "quotes put on the table" in the course of this topic by a diverse array of knowledgeable REH fans. You have (apparently) ignored all of those posts and thereby slapped in the face all who spent time and effort to "communicate" that "information". If such was NOT the case, my apologies. It's just very hard to discern that you've done anything besides misread the information that Robert E. Howard gave us and THEN come up with some baseless theory.

Here are the post #s of posts that contain the "quotes" which you demand and seek for (my apologies to any I leave out): #1, #5, #11, #22, #27, #30, #39, #43, #44, #52, #74, #75, #78 and #79.
It seems that, in every discussion of this type, you demand that "quotes" must be delivered unto you, all in a very magisterial manner. I've pointed this out before. In THIS case, the "quotes" are right there are on the same thread. Great Gonzo must've graduated from your school of "Internet Forum Usage". :P

You (apparently) feel that you're so "amazingly smart" that there is no need to even "slow read" the posts of others.
I've admitted errors/lapses in knowledge numerous times on this forum. Quite recently. as a matter of fact.

[quote]I don't see that you know any more about Howard's fantasies than any one else on this board, buddy-boy.[/quote]

I wouldn't say that in regards to anyone but you, Korak. Let's see if any of these topics ring a bell:

Kull reigned circa 100,000BC (according to Robert E. Howard).

The "Allison" reincarnation yarns take place in a "Hyborian/post-Hyborian" context (according to Robert E. Howard).

The Hyborian Age guideline/essay is NOT 100% congruent with the Conan yarns written by Robert E. Howard.

The "proto-Stygians"/Stygians were NOT "Lemurians" (according to Robert E. Howard).

THOSE are just off the top of my head AND from the last few weeks.

[quote]Don't really need all the weird sarcasm about Howard being crippled or whatever--- a waste of time.[/quote]

No "weird sarcasm" involved. Perhaps you spot it easier than I do. I'm not surprised that you don't "need" it. My point was that, you seem to think MY views of Robert E. Howard's "pseudo-history" somehow "cripple" his "creative genius". Meanwhile, YOUR attempts to squeeze Acheron into the straitjacket provided by The Hyborian Age guideline ALSO "cripple/set arbitrary limits/crush/hamper/etc..." Robert E. Howard's "incredible imagination".

[quote]Let's have the quotes about Acheron to prove whatever the heck it is your trying to prove, though at this point the discussion, as far as I am concerned, is tenuous.[/quote]

I provided "quotes" long ago (see above). So far, you've provided nothing but a theory that is demonstrably NOT based on Robert E. Howard's writings. Like I said, if you're so worried about Robert E. Howard's "intentions", read the quotes.

Once again, your repeated demands for quotes could be construed as "insinuations" of deception on my part.

As I said above, I think we just got off on the wrong foot. Hopefully, that can be corrected. :)

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#89 korak

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 07:18 PM

[quote name='deuce' post='90705' date='May 31 2008, 10:13 PM']korak' posted=No I have never said that DeCamp's pastiches were canonical. In fact I don't know anyone who does, and I never have since I was a teenager.

Then you DID think so, at one time.[/quote]

No, wrong. I never have. I started reading REH as a teenager.

[quote]Well, you can release me from the "extremist loony bin", guvna, 'cuz I've NEVER been opposed to "competent" pastiches of REH. I've been fairly vociferous in my praises of Wagner, Roberts and Hocking in that regard.
The problem is, I, unlike you, DON'T see LSdC's efforts as being "competent". His world-view was diametrically different than that of Robert E. Howard. HOW could he authentically recreate the atmosphere of the Hyborian Age and set Conan stories therein? He was dabbling in things he was incapable of understanding and that shows in the results.

I apologise for confusing your constant (some might call it "fanatical" or "obssessive") defense of de Camp's efforts in regard to Robert E. Howard's writings/concepts as meaning that you saw his works as "canonical". Reading back through your erudite posts, I see that isn't the case. Too bad you don't return the courtesy.[/quote]

I don't agree that Mr. DeCamp was incompetent. He got REH in so many ways that some guys won't ever even begin to comprehend, obviously. He was a doer, not an amateur. He was a veritable founder of Howard studies, demonstrated by his articles in Blade of Conan and Spell of Conan. He was one of a few lifetime Grand Masters of Science Fiction. He wrote almost all his Conan stories in collaboration because he knew he couldn't come close to reaching Howard's level alone. It is easy for amateur critics to pummel DeCamp's memory with slander and propaganda, because they themselves are not only unwilling but incapable of writing a Conan story, thus no one can compare their own efforts with someone who actually tried to contribute to the fantasy. He wasn't perfect and made mistakes, and he was not the genius REH was, but no one else is a perfect genius like REH either. It is easy to claim that a person comprehends REH's genius when there is no way to prove it.

Beethoven scholars can dissect Beethoven's musical scores all day long, my friend, but I don't recall one ever writing a Beethoven symphony. That's why I don't read Beethoven scholars--- if I get bored with Beethoven I listen to Brahms or Stravinsky or Bernstein-- someone who can actually produce something of value.




[quote]However, in the "context" of this discussion, my faux pas pales in comparison to your confusion of "Stygians" with "Lemurians" (and the wacky theory derived therefrom). I'm sure there was a good reason for your being so slapdash and cavalier with REH's concepts.[/quote]

Yeah, it's called a typo.



[quote]korak wrote-I don't put all pastiche into the same level or grouping. Any time you find wiggle room to misinterpret my words, you generally will take the opportunity.

...and you lose no opportunity to insinuate that I'm "fanatical", "arbitrary", "obsessed" or untruthful whenever possible, in regards to my observations about Robert E. Howard's "pseudo-history", simply because my views differ from yours.[/quote]

That doesn't really justify misinterpreting my words, does it? In fact, its just changing the subject...



[quote]There has been a great deal of "information communicated" and "quotes put on the table" in the course of this topic by a diverse array of knowledgeable REH fans. You have (apparently) ignored all of those posts and thereby slapped in the face all who spent time and effort to "communicate" that "information". If such was NOT the case, my apologies. It's just very hard to discern that you've done anything besides misread the information that Robert E. Howard gave us and THEN come up with some baseless theory.

Here are the post #s of posts that contain the "quotes" which you demand and seek for (my apologies to any I leave out): #1, #5, #11, #22, #27, #30, #39, #43, #44, #52, #74, #75, #78 and #79.
It seems that, in every discussion of this type, you demand that "quotes" must be delivered unto you, all in a very magisterial manner. I've pointed this out before. In THIS case, the "quotes" are right there are on the same thread. Great Gonzo must've graduated from your school of "Internet Forum Usage". :P

You (apparently) feel that you're so "amazingly smart" that there is no need to even "slow read" the posts of others.
I've admitted errors/lapses in knowledge numerous times on this forum. Quite recently. as a matter of fact.[/quote]

Well, you just wasted an enormous amount of verbiage instead of just relisting relevant quotes, which would not have taken half the wordage, so again avoiding the subject by griping about me. I don't ask for all quotes relating to the subject, just the smoking guns. You don't got any of 'em, dude. Intimidating talk takes up the slack. This is no scholarly academics board (and even if it were, your aggression would be markedly inappropriate, especially coming from a moderator, who is expected to curb their attitude out of respect for their higher position of authority). This is a casual message board for any Conan fans of whatever level of interest.





[quote]No "weird sarcasm" involved. Perhaps you spot it easier than I do. I'm not surprised that you don't "need" it. My point was that, you seem to think MY views of Robert E. Howard's "pseudo-history" somehow "cripple" his "creative genius". Meanwhile, YOUR attempts to squeeze Acheron into the straitjacket provided by The Hyborian Age guideline ALSO "cripple/set arbitrary limits/crush/hamper/etc..." Robert E. Howard's "incredible imagination".[/quote]

Your misinterpretation of my own ideas indicates to me just how much you are capable of misintepreting REH.



[quote]I provided "quotes" long ago (see above). So far, you've provided nothing but a theory that is demonstrably NOT based on Robert E. Howard's writings. Like I said, if you're so worried about Robert E. Howard's "intentions", read the quotes.

Once again, your repeated demands for quotes could be construed as "insinuations" of deception on my part.

As I said above, I think we just got off on the wrong foot. Hopefully, that can be corrected. :)[/quote]

Not at this rate, friend! Backhanded apologies are not that effective, coming at the end of a long passage of personal gripes. You know, there is a lot more to "getting REH" than just tinkering with continuity. Do you have a set of weights in your garage like Howard had? Are you a faster runner than anyone on your block, like King Kull of Atlantis? Is your skin tanned almost black by the sun like Conan? Do you ever indulge with your local fight club, or is your skill mainly at wrestling with words?

As far as I am concerned, all that is part of "getting" REH. I realize that my philosophy doesn't sit well with some nerds and geeks. :lol:

Edited by korak, 01 June 2008 - 09:11 PM.


#90 timeless

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 01:53 AM

OK, I'm confused.

If I don't agree with Korak, I'm a 'geek' or a 'nerd?'

If I don't join a 'fight club' I do or do not 'get' Howard?

If I recognize inconsistencies in Howard's own world-creation, what am I?

If I don't bow at the de Camp altar, am I also a nerd/geek who doesn't get Howard or a fanatical purist geek/nerd?

You don't need to nail your list of changes on the door of the Church of REH to justify what you say, Korak. Just, I don't know...maybe try making some sense?! The compass needle is spinning, spinning, spinning...
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream. - Edgar Allen Poe

It's the olden lure, it's the golden lure, it's the lure of the timeless things. - Robert Service

For the myth is the foundation of life; it is the timeless schema, the pious formula into which life flows when it reproduces its traits out of the unconscious. - Thomas Mann

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. - Norman Maclean

#91 korak

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 07:35 PM

OK, I'm confused.

If I don't agree with Korak, I'm a 'geek' or a 'nerd?'

If I don't join a 'fight club' I do or do not 'get' Howard?

If I recognize inconsistencies in Howard's own world-creation, what am I?

If I don't bow at the de Camp altar, am I also a nerd/geek who doesn't get Howard or a fanatical purist geek/nerd?

You don't need to nail your list of changes on the door of the Church of REH to justify what you say, Korak. Just, I don't know...maybe try making some sense?! The compass needle is spinning, spinning, spinning...


No, I am not saying all that! ;) My point was that there is more to enjoying REH's fiction than just the standard academic discussions. Howard was a real man and that is part of the equation. His own personal macho was an important element in considering his worldview, unlike say Lovecraft or even Burroughs. Burroughs uses "macho" heroes but they are far less convincing in many details-- Howard was well ahead of his time in terms of the physicality of his protagonists. That is part of the joy of REH. You can enjoy him without that aspect, but you won't get the full experience, IMHO.

As for Acheron, I think that he left Xaltotun's racial characters a bit ambiguous in the final draft of HOUR. A partial synopsis may have details that may or may not be the final version. As it stands, we know for a fact that Xaltotun had white skin, tall, but with dark eyes and hair. That could be anybody from Spain to Iran.

The thing here is that Howard is trying to create an aura of mystery with his bad guys. So he wants to give an awesome sweeping glimpse of who he is and where he came from, but avoid going into specifics, being the "familiarity breeds contempt." So Acheron is a mystery, a strange and terrible mystery. How far can we plunge into that cloud of unknowing? Not too far I think.

#92 timeless

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 01:28 AM

Again, I'm confused. Can't grasp what you're trying to say here:


"there is more to enjoying REH's fiction than just the standard academic discussions. Howard was a real man and that is part of the equation. His own personal macho was an important element in considering his worldview, unlike say Lovecraft or even Burroughs. Burroughs uses "macho" heroes but they are far less convincing in many details-- Howard was well ahead of his time in terms of the physicality of his protagonists. That is part of the joy of REH. You can enjoy him without that aspect, but you won't get the full experience, IMHO."


You sound like Ignatius J. from 'Confederacy of the Dunces' when you mention considering one's 'worldview,' K. Are you saying that someone has to be 'macho' to understand Bob Howard? Pulp fiction in general, during that time, was more visceral than its contemporary competitive markets. I've never read or refused to read stories because I thought the writer was a 'real man' or not. I've enjoyed Jack London and some Hemingway and obviously Steinbeck, Chandler and Hammet, but I never read them because I considered them 'real men.' I read them because they told good stories, as Bob Howard did. So I have enjoyed him, but not got 'the full experience?'


Tarzan not understand. Me go bang rocks together now, make sounds, take mind off crazy talk.
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream. - Edgar Allen Poe

It's the olden lure, it's the golden lure, it's the lure of the timeless things. - Robert Service

For the myth is the foundation of life; it is the timeless schema, the pious formula into which life flows when it reproduces its traits out of the unconscious. - Thomas Mann

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. - Norman Maclean

#93 korak

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 03:14 AM

No, Tarzan would understand. Tarzan macho! :lol:

Seriously, I did not say you couldn't get into REH, but just that there are some aspects that you may miss if you don't share Howard's love of the human body. A lot of REH was intellectual and mental, but some of it is just pure macho, and that is a big selling point in his popularity over other more pedestrian authors. He and his generation are still popular and now considered classics, for one thing, because they retained aethetic values that are difficult for many cerebral types to wrap their brains around.

And the thing is that the body should not be undervalued just because the brain is the thought center. The brain is just one organ that is affected by the overall health of the body. So the Orson Wells types can lean back in their padded leather chairs, and smoke cigars all day quoting Shakespeare, but, you know, Howard could kick a man's ass.

It reminds me of the story about Lord Byron and Polidori, once when they were on a boat down a scenic river in Europe. Polidori was comparing himself to Byron in ability, and Byron just made the shrewd observation that he could swim across that river and back. Polidori would drown. Yeah, that matters. ^_^

#94 timeless

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 05:51 AM

Can't vouch for the veracity of the Byron thing (that guy stole much of what he wrote and attributed to himself,) but that scene definitely predates LB. Shakespeare nailed it...


For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
Caesar said to me 'Darest thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point?' Upon the word,
Accoutred as I was, I plunged in
And bade him follow; so indeed he did.
The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
And stemming it with hearts of controversy;
But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
Caesar cried 'Help me, Cassius, or I sink!'
I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
Did I the tired Caesar. And this man
Is now become a god




Again, just can't grasp your point. Howard's love of the human body, which shouldn't be undervalued (the body, not Howard's love of it?) is lost to me. Do you mean descriptions of violence?

Bob Howard could kick Orson Welles's a55?

Edited by timeless, 03 June 2008 - 05:57 AM.

All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream. - Edgar Allen Poe

It's the olden lure, it's the golden lure, it's the lure of the timeless things. - Robert Service

For the myth is the foundation of life; it is the timeless schema, the pious formula into which life flows when it reproduces its traits out of the unconscious. - Thomas Mann

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. - Norman Maclean

#95 berserkmax

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 05:59 AM

I'm actually glad that you guys are talking about this.

I find Howard to be more believable as an action writer simply because he was a man's man. Unlike Lovecraft, who sat in his house and typed, never boxed a round in his life like most writers, Howard was an athletic guy. He stood toe to toe with other guys in a boxing ring, and to do that you've got to have balls--trust me, it's a scary thing. Howard's characters, to me, are far more realistic because he was himself a fighting, hot tempered man. I sometimes laugh at authors who write about so-called action heroes, when the author himself is a fat, overweight individual, who's probably never taken a punch to the face and withstood it, nor thrown a good punch that's caused another man to spurt blood from his own nose.

I love the intensity in Howard's writing, and it's all because I find it to be more believable!
"Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and priest and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content" (Howard--Queen of the Black Coast).

#96 korak

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 07:08 AM

Yeah, how often I have been disillusioned by my writer heroes, who I imagine to look like a movie actor (like their characters), but in person they are short, fat little bald headed men who smell like my grandmother. And talk with a lisp.

Then again, now that I think about it, I guess I would rather read a book written by a fat little bald guy about a macho hero (I am thinking ERB here) than to read a book by a young macho guy about a fat little bald man.

Edited by korak, 03 June 2008 - 07:39 AM.


#97 timeless

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 04:42 AM

To a huge degree does a writer's personality and experiences influence their work. But physical appearance? The best writing, I think, goes straight into your cerebellum and paints cave paintings there regardless of the writer's image and etc.

I guess I sort of roundabout grasp the point you're making, Korak, yet it seems shallow to me.

Any mods around? I'd love to be able to follow this thread because REH's Acheron interests me.
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream. - Edgar Allen Poe

It's the olden lure, it's the golden lure, it's the lure of the timeless things. - Robert Service

For the myth is the foundation of life; it is the timeless schema, the pious formula into which life flows when it reproduces its traits out of the unconscious. - Thomas Mann

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. - Norman Maclean

#98 Kortoso

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 05:11 PM

Yeah, a lot of non-Acheron discussion going on here. I am sure that you are all aware of this and will confine the bulk of your remarks to that subject. Thanks!

#99 Starocotes

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 11:24 AM

Thanks deuce for the great thrad and your very informative posts with all the quotes and source references.

I do have ONE question:

Every direct reference made by REH to Acheron (with the just possible, indirect exception of the "Hall of the Dead" fragment)

Where in the "Hall of the Dead" Fragment you see the reference to Acheron?

#100 deuce

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 07:43 AM

Thanks deuce for the great thrad and your very informative posts with all the quotes and source references.

I do have ONE question:

Every direct reference made by REH to Acheron (with the just possible, indirect exception of the "Hall of the Dead" fragment)

Where in the "Hall of the Dead" Fragment you see the reference to Acheron?


Hey Starocotes! Good question. B) I wondered when someone would ask it...

First, note my wording: "just possible, indirect". I'm NOT saying that the "city of the ancients" IS an outpost of Acheron (or somesuch), just that there IS a possibility of it being such. Let's look at the pertinent details...

Location: Unless someone has a good reason for placing it elsewhere, it seems that the "city of the ancients" lies on an "upland plateau" in western (south-western?) Zamora. This would place it (just maybe) within the realm of Acheronian influence (at its greatest extent).

Age: It's called "the city of the ancients" by REH (and, presumably, the Zamorians). Some (including LSdC and Lin Carter) seem to think that the city is a remnant of Thurian Age times. However, LSdC and LC are the ones who tried to say that Atlanteans settled Hyperborea (in "Thing in the Crypt"). That's a topic for a whole 'nother thread. ;) Also, REH states that the warrior-mummies within the city's great palace are from "a by-gone age". If you read Howard's essay, The Hyborian Age, you'll see that he said that the Hyborians took "ages" to spread over the world. This would surely encompass the "Acheronian Age" which, as we know from tales like The Scarlet Citadel and The Hour of the Dragon, ended three thousand years before. To me, one of the most telling details is that when Conan tries to enter the city, he has to climb the walls (without de Campian "foot-thingies" :P) due to "the gates being locked". Now, I can see 3000yr-old gates forged by Acheronian sorcery still being intact. It's much harder for me to believe that gates erected by Thurian Age Zarfhaanians (who don't seem to have been mighty magic-workers) would have survived the cataclysms, upheavals and general wear n' tear of 20-30-40 THOUSAND (plus) years. IF those gates (and the city) were built by native Zamorians, it implies a fairly drastic decline in their architectural/magical skills, IMO.

Culture and Ethnicity: There's the "jade serpent, apparently a god" on the altar in the palace. The half-Zamorian Tsotha-Lanti aside, it doesn't seem that Set-worship was big amongst the Zamorians. Also, Xaltotun was buried in a "jade" sarcophagous (in Stygia). There's also the "mummification" thing. REH doesn't explicitly state that the "warriors" are mummies, but I think it's suggestive. Mummification seems to be THE choice of interment for Set-worshippers. Finally, the warriors are described as "giant". Now, REH's definition of "giant" seems flexible. He calls King Kull a "giant", and we know that Kull couldn't have been more than, say, 6'4". Howard calls the Aquilonians "tall" when they average a little over 5'10" in height. Xaltotun is described as "tall" AND a "giant". REH habitually describes the Zamorians (except for Yara) and their cousins, the Shemites, as being "short" or of "medium height".

So, where does this leave us? To be honest, as I was typing this last part of the post, another idea occurred to me: might the "ancients" be Stygians? We know that when Stygians and Shemites "cross-breed", that "giants" often result. Plus, (warrior-caste) Stygians are "tall" anyway. Might not "giants" result when Stygians and Zamorians (cousins to the Shemites) intermix? Perhaps the "city of the ancients" is a far-flung Stygian outpost. It all depends on location. The south-west corner of Zamora is tucked in between Koth and Corinthia. The Stygians appear to have controlled Koth at one time. A short-lived, break-away Stygian principality could have been established in s-w Zamora. So, Conan could've then moved on to the "Rogues" city, and from there to Yaralet. All things considered, I think the "Stygian solution" works best. Thanks for asking this question, Starocotes! :D

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