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Starter REH Conan Yarn for Female Friend/Relative


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#21 Guest_finmaccool_*

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 03:46 PM

The Best REH story to get a freind hooked is not a Conan story at all, but its one of REH's best - Kings of the Night.
That is, in my opinion, the summation of all that makes REH great!

As for Conan stories I think the best for a new reader would be "Pool of the Black One" for Clasic Conan, "Tower of the Elephant" to show Conan is not as stereotyped as a lot of people think, and "Red Nails" for an all around Great Conan Story.

By all means, never let a newcomer come withing 500 miles of "Vale of Lost Women." I wish the purists would fabricate some evidence that Howard never wrote it and that maybe Lin Carter did on a bender. ... it is less than excreble.

#22 Ironhand

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 07:09 AM

Rather than "Pool of the Black One", which IMHO may be too "strange" for a new reader, I would like to suggest "Shadows in Zamboula", to show Conan's intellect as he plays detective, or "Teeth of Gwahlur", to show him as a cagy conman who sacrifices the treasure he has spent the whole story trying to acquire, in order to save a woman's life. "Beyond the Black River" for all-round rip-roaring adventure.
"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

#23 Halfdane

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 05:44 PM

In the end I started her out with The Frost-Giant's Daughter.

I figured it's a make-it-or-break-it option:

You quickly learn that you like Conan in a whirlwind tale that leaves you wanting for more...

OR

You can't stand either the setting, the style, the character, or his behavior...but you finish it anyway because it's so short it's like tearing off a band-aid.

She liked it, and she likes Howard's storytelling ability overall; but I think the verdict is that her interest lies with Science-Fiction, and not Fantasy. Still, she did continue & read The Tower of the Elephant.

#24 scottra

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 07:29 PM

I've turned a few new readers on with Skullface.
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#25 KG Thunder

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 01:07 AM

Rather than "Pool of the Black One", which IMHO may be too "strange" for a new reader, I would like to suggest "Shadows in Zamboula", to show Conan's intellect as he plays detective, or "Teeth of Gwahlur", to show him as a cagy conman who sacrifices the treasure he has spent the whole story trying to acquire, in order to save a woman's life. "Beyond the Black River" for all-round rip-roaring adventure.

Much as I like 'Shadows In/The Man-Eaters of Zamboula', the debatable racism therein would keep me from ever recommending it as a starter story. I can see it putting a lot of people off right away.

#26 THE KID

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 01:17 AM

Red Nails - Free Download on a Kindle via Amazon.com B)
Beyond The Black River - parallels Bob and his Dog Patches in the story.
Pigeons From Hell :D It's on Netflix streaming under Chiller with Boris Karloff

Keep posting. I like your topic. Good job.

Other suggested readings to start with:

Blood and Thunder, The Life and Art of REH by Mark Finn
One Who Walked Along by Novalyne Price Ellis who was Bob's girlfriend.

Edited by Richard, 17 August 2011 - 01:24 AM.

The New Sheriff In Town - The Vultures of Whapeton & Boot Hill Payoff (The Western Stories)

#27 Eamon

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 06:13 PM

My girlfrined also wants top read Conan as I am always telling her that Games of Thrones is very Howard like as is Lord of The rings.

I will be getting her the new Gollanz reprints that are out next month as I heard they got these new pimpin covers.
But I too was was wondering what Conan stories to recommend to her.

Tower of the Elephant is in the first book from Gollanz so I guess that is the one to go for. I really want a story that will reassure her that Howard is king!

Edited by Eamon, 02 September 2011 - 06:14 PM.

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#28 duaneshadow

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 08:04 PM

first one I read was People of The Black Circle. First paragraph hooked me for life. By the time the priest were gasdhing themselves with bronze knives I was fit to be tied.
'why does he have to be a misfit? Why can't he be handsome and kind?'

'You're still a dreamer girl'.

#29 keny from prague

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 09:49 PM

Great topic. Im trying to introduce my father to REH since hes looking for stuff for his new kindle. Im veering away from the Conan stuff too. Ive recommended "Pigeons" which i only just finally read myself. Aming toward "lord of samarcand" and some of the crusader tales as well. those were what got me interested in REH books.

#30 keny from prague

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 09:52 PM

I've turned a few new readers on with Skullface.


I read that sentence out of context and my mind did dirty things.

#31 monk

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 03:53 AM

hmmm...this was a tough one for me, I recently wanted to introduce Conan to a class of 5th graders. I went with Tower, it was aligned with the standards and objectives, and is just a great story. It was perfect to introduce Conan to new readers and at least one other teacher ran with my lesson plan as well, which I posted here in the literature forum I think. It was a lot better than regurgitating another of aesop's fables to teach character growth.

I was thinking of doing it as Johnny suggested, that being to do it as the public was originally introduced to Conan, but in the end I just thought Tower was more of a gateway to a mixed audience.
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"Our basic purist premise:
ROBERT E. HOWARD, ENTIRELY ALONE, WITHOUT ASSISTANCE FROM ANY OTHER PERSON, CREATED THE CHARACTER CONAN OF CIMMERIA. NO OTHER PERSON OR PERSONS SHOULD BE INTRUDING THEIR WORK INTO THE VOLUMES OF HOWARD'S CONAN STORIES.
In essence, we believe that the work of any creative artist -- writer, painter, illustrator, musician, what-have-you -- is a unique expression of an artistic point of view. It should not be appropriated or altered by others without the artist's consent. No other writer has Robert E. Howard's unique point of view, and no other writer knows what Howard would have done with his character had he lived. Upon his death, his canon, the expression of his artistic vision, became fixed. Tampering with it now is desecration."

#32 monk

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 03:54 AM

lol as deuce noted, he was a bit of a tough sell to some of the girls in the class...but in the end they all were able to complete the assessment.
"I live, I BURN WITH LIFE, I love, I slay, and am content."
"Here's to brother Painbrush, we drink to his Shade..."
"All Art Is Martial"- RZA

"Our basic purist premise:
ROBERT E. HOWARD, ENTIRELY ALONE, WITHOUT ASSISTANCE FROM ANY OTHER PERSON, CREATED THE CHARACTER CONAN OF CIMMERIA. NO OTHER PERSON OR PERSONS SHOULD BE INTRUDING THEIR WORK INTO THE VOLUMES OF HOWARD'S CONAN STORIES.
In essence, we believe that the work of any creative artist -- writer, painter, illustrator, musician, what-have-you -- is a unique expression of an artistic point of view. It should not be appropriated or altered by others without the artist's consent. No other writer has Robert E. Howard's unique point of view, and no other writer knows what Howard would have done with his character had he lived. Upon his death, his canon, the expression of his artistic vision, became fixed. Tampering with it now is desecration."

#33 keny from prague

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 04:44 PM


I've been lurking these boards for a few months -- avoiding you veteran members like Turanian archers after my hide -- accumulating a wealth of insightful information as I've worked my way through REH's Conan stories. Thanks! Lots of fascinating theories to read through!

Now, I've been trying to convince my wife (who's into newer "fantasy") to give Howard a try. I've seen threads on here about which story each of you prefers, but I'd be interested to know which one you're likely to recommend to someone new to Howard.

I tried to select a "starter" tale for her, but was unable to pick just one that represented who Conan was. After that, I thought I could pick three stories to showcase his evolution -- a sort of trilogy. However, the road from thief to king just had too may compelling stops along the way. My list grew to look like a five-act play, and finally swelled to seven stories. That's 1/3 of the completed tales!

Any suggestions for narrowing it back down to one? What do you consider when introducing Conan to people? Are you careful to suggest ones that avoid instances of (attempted) rape [TFGD], (alleged) racism [MEoZ], and murder [TTotE]?

My seven-act list:
The Tower of the Elephant
Black Colossus
Queen of the Black Coast
The People of the Black Circle
Red Nails
The Black Stranger
The Hour of the Dragon

Right now I'm leaning towards The People of the Black Circle or Red Nails.
Thanks! This is really my first forray on any forum, so I hope I did this right.


My recommendation would be RN or Beyond the Black River. Just point out to your wife that the Picts (in REH's own mind) were quite admirable and worthy of respect. The Picts were to Howard in the same way as the Elves were to Tolkien (the parallels are numerous).

However, why MUST you start out your wife on Conan? He's one of REH's most masculine characters. Why not the Agnes de le Fere tales? Or perhaps The Shadow of the Vulture?



I agree with deuce on this one. I think the Agnes de le Fere tales might appeal to female readers. Plenty of REH style storytelling and action with a character who might be more relatable than conan.

To my mind, Conan is probably the REH character who would appeal to female readers the least. At least to start off with.

#34 Mark Finn

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 02:58 AM

I'm going to add the short story "Wild Water" to this mix. It's found in the Best of Volume 2 and it's one of those stories that perfectly showcases everything good about REH's writing style--but with no magic, no sword and sorcery, no monsters, and no weirdness. It's a "modern" story, based on a real historical event, and it's very Hemingway-esque. I would hand that to anyone interested in REH and say, "here's how the guy wrote. If you like this, then it's just a matter of picking which direction you want to go next."
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#35 Rockamobile

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 01:53 AM

Conan Hour of The Dragon.

#36 Ironhand

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 06:48 AM

Tower of the Elephant.
"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

#37 Rockamobile

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 05:57 PM

I've been lurking these boards for a few months -- avoiding you veteran members like Turanian archers after my hide -- accumulating a wealth of insightful information as I've worked my way through REH's Conan stories. Thanks! Lots of fascinating theories to read through!

Now, I've been trying to convince my wife (who's into newer "fantasy") to give Howard a try. I've seen threads on here about which story each of you prefers, but I'd be interested to know which one you're likely to recommend to someone new to Howard.

I tried to select a "starter" tale for her, but was unable to pick just one that represented who Conan was. After that, I thought I could pick three stories to showcase his evolution -- a sort of trilogy. However, the road from thief to king just had too may compelling stops along the way. My list grew to look like a five-act play, and finally swelled to seven stories. That's 1/3 of the completed tales!

Any suggestions for narrowing it back down to one? What do you consider when introducing Conan to people? Are you careful to suggest ones that avoid instances of (attempted) rape [TFGD], (alleged) racism [MEoZ], and murder [TTotE]?

My seven-act list:
The Tower of the Elephant
Black Colossus
Queen of the Black Coast
The People of the Black Circle
Red Nails
The Black Stranger
The Hour of the Dragon

Right now I'm leaning towards The People of the Black Circle or Red Nails.
Thanks! This is really my first forray on any forum, so I hope I did this right.





Hour Of the Dragon :)

#38 amster

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 08:41 PM

Black Canaan.
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Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#39 deuce

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 09:35 AM

The first few paragraphs of People of The Black Circle hooked me completely, even before the big man appeared. Then when he appeared on the balcony and threatened to 'split your skull like a ripe melon' I was taken for life.

 

Yeah, that's likely to enthrall any feminine reader.


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#40 Halfdane

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 05:31 PM

I forgot about this topic. I've been wanting to recommend a Conan tale to my sister, since she liked Jason Momoa in the awful new movie. (and also because we are starting a book exchange) I want to recommend The People of the Black Circle to her, but she likes things like Spartacus and Game of Thrones, so I'm actually worried that, for all its sweeping story, The People of the Black Circle isn't violent or sexy ENOUGH for her tastes.