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Would You Read New Conan Stories By Unknowns?


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#1 Musmanno

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 05:13 PM

I've done some writing and editing in the past, and I've always been a big fan of REH and Conan, so naturally I've toyed with the idea of an anthology of Conan stories. In my mind, the stories would be done by mostly new/unknown authors who could hold true to REH's vision of the character. Would you guys read such an anthology, or would the fact that you didn't recognize any author names put you off? Of course, the stories would have to be good :)

#2 Libaax

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 07:40 PM

I never read Conan pastiche stories, i would not read them written by famous or unknown writers.

Only REH pastiche i have thought about reading is Bran Mak Morn story by KEW.

#3 docpod

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 07:59 PM

I've done some writing and editing in the past, and I've always been a big fan of REH and Conan, so naturally I've toyed with the idea of an anthology of Conan stories. In my mind, the stories would be done by mostly new/unknown authors who could hold true to REH's vision of the character. Would you guys read such an anthology, or would the fact that you didn't recognize any author names put you off? Of course, the stories would have to be good :)


You are better off editing an anthology of original sword and sorcery stories by new authors. That would show their strengths better. Conan pastiches generally highlight a writer's weaknesses.

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#4 NobleSavage

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 08:08 PM

well, personally not having read any original conan reh stories yet BUT

-loving the fantasy-epic-swords ect genre
-being acquainted with the hyborian world and the conan character through other media

wouldn't have any problem buying/reading stories about other characters set in the hyborian world ,if they had some good reviews...
generally i avoid others than the original author's works on famous and established characters..even though i was planing to read some other writers works on Elric...

so why not promote a general hyborian "reprise" ,with new original characters since the world is well established and offers many possibilities ?

Edited by NobleSavage, 16 July 2011 - 08:22 PM.


#5 Musmanno

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 09:22 PM

Thanks, guys. Yeah, original sword and sorcery stories, whether set in the Hyborian world or elsewhere, would be nice. I may pursue something along those lines. I'm drawn to Conan because I've always enjoyed the character so much, and I'm often disappointed by some of the newer works. Would be great to see new stories that really run with REH's vision of the character. But stories featuring original characters would also be appealing.

#6 NobleSavage

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 09:40 PM

i think going with new characters it's your best choice.."purists" of any kind are really "mean" and negative (rightfuly or not ,it's in any way a reality)

and to be honest..it's really difficult to revive an already established way of writing for an established character..one could just "rip off" the manierisms and
expected behaviours but it would quite impossibly turn out as the real stuff...

while ,one that is really into the character and universe ,if also skilled and talented as a writer could as well do miracles with an original creation

#7 THE KID

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 10:43 PM

When I go to the book store or order online I'm mainly looking for REH as the author although I've read others who did a pretty good job. I'd have to say yes for you just because you're a REH Fan and on the forum I'd give you my support. I've read John Maddox Roberts and Andrew Offutt and enjoyed their stories. I also like Roy Thomas's Conan in the Marvel B&W magazines; Conan Saga and Savage Sword of Conan.

Dreams in the Fire had authors who are REH fans submit their stories. If you could get your story in the next one that would be a plus. I'm giving my support to these authors and was plesantly surprised as I didn't know half of them. James Reasoner had a superb story so I'm now getting his books and Kindle ebooks and same with Angeline Hawkes and others. Rob had a story I'll never forget - Wow!

Can you share something you've written and I'll pick it up and read it. :) Usually Barnes and Noble or Books A Million or my local mom and pop bookstore. Plan C is Abebooks.com as they usually have just about everything.

As always I do my best to provide nice comments. :)

Edited by Richard, 17 July 2011 - 11:28 PM.

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#8 docpod

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 11:02 PM

It is amazing how writers screw up the Hyborian Age. Got to rehupa.com and read my chapter by chapter review of GHOR: KINSLAYER. Karl Edward Wagner made the red haired Vanir into yellow hair blondes and it went downhill from there. The problem with Hyborian Age fiction is most writers are going to take big liberties and simply ignores REH's writer's bible. Theoretically it could be done- you would have to know "The Hyborian Age" and details from the REH stories backwards and forwards and be willing to red pencil lots of prose and send things back for rewriting.
Most writers don't get REH, that is the problem. De Camp didn't get it, Lin Carter didn't get it. Leigh Brackett did- read her "Lorelei of the Red Mist" (cowritten with Ray Bradbury). A fine homage. There is a gonzo tribute to the James Allison stories called "The Dinosaur Destroyer" by "Arthur Petticolas." These are more interesting than any Hyborian themed collection.
You would be better off with a tribute to REH themed book like the recent DREAMS IN THE FIRE. I think James Reasoner is the only pro writer in that book (I haven't received my author's copy yet). No reason another DREAMS IN THE FIRE type book could not be done.

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#9 Taranaich

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 12:31 AM

Generally, I'd support pastiches as long as they adhere to Rusty Burke's Purist Manifesto:

1. We believe that ONLY the words actually written by Robert E. Howard have "official" or "canonical" status with regard to the life and adventures of Conan, or of any other character created by REH.

Note that, while most of us have little interest in pastiches, we do not deny anyone the right to produce them. In fact, the "purist" position would actually result in more and better pastiches. How? By opening up the entire Conan "saga" to any writer to produce his or her own interpretations of episodes from Conan's career. Working from hints in Howard's work, any number of writers could give us their own versions of Conan's rise to kingship, say, or any other of his adventures not actually chronicled by REH. Currently, the artificial "biography" of Conan originally created by P. Schuyler Miller and John D. Clark, but later considerably amended and expanded by L. Sprague de Camp, effectively prevents any such situation. Those who control the Conan "property" insist that writers must follow de Camp's outline of Conan's career, and one and only one version of any given episode or period is allowed. This actually stifles, rather than encourages, creativity. De Camp has suggested that lack of rigid controls could result in such abominations as a gay Conan. My response is: so what? I'm sure that those who plead that Conan should be "consumer friendly" and that we should give the readers what they want, no matter what it is they want, would have to agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with gay people having their own Conan.

The Conan stories should be treated as the Sherlock Holmes stories are treated by their aficionados: only the actual works of the creator of the series (in our case, REH) should be accounted "canonical": all else is pastiche. There are many Sherlock Holmes pastiches out there, some of them based on the same hints from Doyle. I myself own several versions of the "giant rat of Sumatra" tale, for instance. But Sherlockians all agree that the original tales of Dr. Watson as told to Conan Doyle are the only truly canonical works.

This leads to my second point:

2. Only the actual words written by Robert E. Howard himself have any business in the "official" saga. Pastiches should be sold separately.

In this I would include those stories "edited" (i.e., rewritten) by de Camp: the Howard versions of "The Frost-Giant's Daughter," "The Black Stranger," and "The God in the Bowl" belong in the Howard volumes, and the non-Conan tales which de Camp turned into Conan stories should not be included. Fragments should be left as fragments in the Howard volumes. Again, pastiche to your heart's content, but do not attempt to sell your work as REH's.

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.


That said, I think Conan fan-fiction should remain just that - fan-fiction. When it comes to published works, original Sword-and-Sorcery fiction is a better option.

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#10 Guest_CurtisPKinkaid_*

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 04:34 PM

I actually have read, and will read just about any pastiche available, as id rather read about a character i like then starting a book i might not care about. I think people take the wrong attitude about these stories, rather than think hey i dont wanna read it cause it's not pure in nature, why not have the view of it as a retelling of a story that has been passed on by someone else...you think conan wouldnt have had people telling stories of his adventures? John Maddox Roberts and Robert Jordan i think have done the best work in this task...but ive enjoyed just about everything ive read, tho thier was one book i started reading and burned it before i got a 1/3 of the way thru....haha wish i could remember which book it was...i coulda done a better job, and everybody's seen my spelling and punctuation haha

#11 LagomorphRex

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 04:20 PM

That depends.

We have through the years amassed a rather startling collection of Conan pastiches already. For the most part, I'd imagine the only way you could proceed with adding to this huge list would be for any potential author to have read.. well.. all of them. There are periods present in them where Conan's life is simply too full to be realistic. They introduce ridiculous concepts like talking bats and stuff in some of them.. (personally I write the Steve Perry ones off as those monks Conan encounters supplying him with Ergot laced Rye Bread.. everything after that is a bad trip) I think for ease of access, discounting all of them would be the best way to proceed with something like this. Many of them are out of print, and expecting new readers to go back and try and play catchup with 60+ volumes is just insane.


The Age of Conan books are probably the right model to work with, though since that line didn't continue I'm not sure how popular it was. I imagine a good many people were probably upset they didn't get to read about Conan.. which also was the major complaint against the AOC MMO.. people didn't like not being able to play as Conan. The trick is I think that Conan isn't Forgotten Realms and cannot be treated as such. Just because the world he comes from is huge and endlessly fascinating.. I don't know what sort of appeal non-Conan stories would have. I don't think that Trilogies would be the way to proceed either. That sort of rigid structure is not really compatible with Conan as a concept.

That being said, I'd certainly buy more pastiches from Michael Stackpole. I'd like to see what he would write, when not saddled with a daft movie script as a foundation.

#12 monk

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 06:56 AM

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.



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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."

#13 Dark Mark

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 09:12 AM

Simple answer would now be no, though as a callow youth I did read some Conan pastiches by the likes of Lin Carter, L. Sprague de Camp and later Andrew J. Offutt and Karl Edward Wagner but I found them pale imitations and Iíll have no truck with them now.

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#14 Konorg

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 10:37 PM

Generally, I'd support pastiches as long as they adhere to Rusty Burke's Purist Manifesto:

1. We believe that ONLY the words actually written by Robert E. Howard have "official" or "canonical" status with regard to the life and adventures of Conan, or of any other character created by REH.

Note that, while most of us have little interest in pastiches, we do not deny anyone the right to produce them. In fact, the "purist" position would actually result in more and better pastiches. How? By opening up the entire Conan "saga" to any writer to produce his or her own interpretations of episodes from Conan's career. Working from hints in Howard's work, any number of writers could give us their own versions of Conan's rise to kingship, say, or any other of his adventures not actually chronicled by REH. Currently, the artificial "biography" of Conan originally created by P. Schuyler Miller and John D. Clark, but later considerably amended and expanded by L. Sprague de Camp, effectively prevents any such situation. Those who control the Conan "property" insist that writers must follow de Camp's outline of Conan's career, and one and only one version of any given episode or period is allowed. This actually stifles, rather than encourages, creativity. De Camp has suggested that lack of rigid controls could result in such abominations as a gay Conan. My response is: so what? I'm sure that those who plead that Conan should be "consumer friendly" and that we should give the readers what they want, no matter what it is they want, would have to agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with gay people having their own Conan.

The Conan stories should be treated as the Sherlock Holmes stories are treated by their aficionados: only the actual works of the creator of the series (in our case, REH) should be accounted "canonical": all else is pastiche. There are many Sherlock Holmes pastiches out there, some of them based on the same hints from Doyle. I myself own several versions of the "giant rat of Sumatra" tale, for instance. But Sherlockians all agree that the original tales of Dr. Watson as told to Conan Doyle are the only truly canonical works.

This leads to my second point:

2. Only the actual words written by Robert E. Howard himself have any business in the "official" saga. Pastiches should be sold separately.

In this I would include those stories "edited" (i.e., rewritten) by de Camp: the Howard versions of "The Frost-Giant's Daughter," "The Black Stranger," and "The God in the Bowl" belong in the Howard volumes, and the non-Conan tales which de Camp turned into Conan stories should not be included. Fragments should be left as fragments in the Howard volumes. Again, pastiche to your heart's content, but do not attempt to sell your work as REH's.

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.


That said, I think Conan fan-fiction should remain just that - fan-fiction. When it comes to published works, original Sword-and-Sorcery fiction is a better option.



Yup I agree there.Hmm so has anyone written about a gay Conan yet?? :lol:

But honestly in the realm of Conan fan fiction there are so many interesting side roads that one can travel down.

I'm currently working on a Conan fan fic that has him ended up on :o :o Almuric :o


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#15 amster

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 11:26 PM

Would I read new Conan stories by unknowns? Would I? I already did. Lots of times. My first Conan book contained stories by two guys I never heard of named L. Sprague deCamp and Lin Carter (to be fair, I didn't know much about a guy named Robert E. Howard either, just that he was mentioned as the creator of Conan in the half dozen or so Marvel comics I had lying around). And while these stories weren't "new" in the literal sense, they were new to me. Suffice it to say, the other two guys didn't measure up to the original creator. A year or so down the line, I found myself reading another Conan story by a guy I never heard of, Andrew J. Offut, and this book had really naughty pictures for a 12 or 13 year old, much worse than what I was finding in Savage Sword of Conan. A few years later, I found myself reading some newcomer named Robert Jordan, and these were the first stories that I remember that pretty much all follwed the same formula with little variation. Even LsDC and Offut managed to change it up a little. Now, I have little use for pastiches unless they're delivered in graphic novel format, where I still find myself periodically reading new stories by guys I never heard of or know little about. For the record, I am reading the Stackpole novelization, and I've never read him before, but this instance is clearly an exception.

Should CPI start delivering new Conan paperback pastiches by unknown or even well established authors? For me, no. I've seen where it can lead. In the 80s and 90s we had loads of bad pastiches with Ken Kelly covers that flodded the market and dilluded the character down to a poor stereotype of himself, sort of like Fat Jumpsuit Elvis. But if the film and it's sequels are popular, I wouldn't be surprised if CPI starts commisioning these in order to keep the brand going across multiple forms of media. Let's face it. There's only so many ways you can continually repackage the original REH stories. I just hope that CPI exercises some strict quality control this time around.
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#16 Tex

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 02:10 AM

I just hope that CPI exercises some strict quality control this time around.


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#17 Gin-Wulf

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 12:51 PM

i am not opposed to new stories , but i dont want them to ruin the character, or his lifes timeline. if it could be done with much care and attention to what is already righten i think i could be ok with , it, but not 100% sure.

#18 Crawley

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 03:23 AM

I would absolutely read stories by unknown authors who wrote about Conan. Granted someone like Brian Lumley is a famous author but he dabbled with Lovecraft's iconic characters and now we have stories such as Titus Crow which is one of my favorite all-time series or there is Caitlin Kiernan and many other non-famous people who have written phenomenal works based in Lovecraft's world. I would prefer to have the freedom to pick and choose what Conan pastiche stories I wanted to read and probably discover some new talented writers among the junk that would also be written, but I would prefer to decide this for myself than some entity dictate to me what I can read and make empty promises that it will be true to REH and then I am left with nothing but junk after all.
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#19 MisfitPanda

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 04:45 PM

I really enjoy alot of the Pastiche's ...sure they arend Howards, but all are great fun!
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#20 NobleSavage

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 05:46 PM

i've read today this old ssoc issue with a 3 part story...conan is quite absent half way and even he were absent till the end the story would have been great all the same...

i'm talking about that issue with amarlirc and liza from the enchanted city of ghazal...olam onga ect...perfect example of a great story, in a hyborian world setting ,as a conan spin off attempt (even though the issue is "loosely based on a half finished reh story)...

i'd love to read something about spin off characters in the same style...even though conan is the man :) i guess it's the atmosphere of the hyborian world that makes the story so cool...in fact i like the first two parts (while conan is mostly absent) even better than the third (conan-centric)