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Conan The Flame Knife


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#1 Boot

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 05:02 PM

There's no thread in this forum dedicated to this novelette? Wow.

I just finished reading this short book. I read the Ace edition illustrated by Maroto. I must admit, guys. This book caught me from page 1 and held my attention all the way through. Reading it was a guilty pleasure. I found it very cinematic. Lots of action. The story is fun--very "Conan-esque". Big, grand ending.

Those that say de Camp can't rewrite Howard's non-Conan tales and make them a good tale of the Barbarian should read this one.

Good read.

Edited by Boot, 03 September 2011 - 05:03 PM.


#2 godzilladude

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 06:44 PM

It was a complete and finished REH El Borak story. It wasn't like LSDC had to do much, mostly just change names, bows for guns, etc.

#3 El Borak's Li'l Brother

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 06:55 PM

I am one who finds De Camp's turning Howard's non-Conan stories (which he thought were no good) into Conan stories. Why? 'Cause 10 times out of 10 the original Howard story was incredible in comparison.

I am also one who bought this when it came out and read it. I enjoyed it as a kid. I loved Three-Bladed Doom. My eyes were opened. Still, for what it is, The Flame Knife was okay.

But please... To suggest it was cinematic?! De Camp did enough for Howard through his iron hand control of Conan both good and bad. But his worst crime, if you will, was that laughable 1982 Conan the Barbarian. The very idea of tossing Howard aside again after this laughable 2011 Conan the Barbarian by basing a flick on a De Camp pastiche, especially one ripping Howard off... Bad. Bad beyond bad.

Still, it is an interesting read. Let it stay that way.






Um... Now I'm going to have to dig it up for a reread.

Edited by El Borak's Li'l Brother, 03 September 2011 - 07:00 PM.

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#4 El Borak's Li'l Brother

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 07:04 PM

It was a complete and finished REH El Borak story. It wasn't like LSDC had to do much, mostly just change names, bows for guns, etc.


By my memory De Camp did more than that to turn them into Conan stories. It may just be me, but it seemed De Camp gutted some of what made the non-Conan stories exciting.
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#5 johnnypt

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 08:26 PM


It was a complete and finished REH El Borak story. It wasn't like LSDC had to do much, mostly just change names, bows for guns, etc.


By my memory De Camp did more than that to turn them into Conan stories. It may just be me, but it seemed De Camp gutted some of what made the non-Conan stories exciting.


I dug out Conan the Wanderer since DeCamp mentions how he edited Flame Knife at least length-wise: the first version is 42,000 words, the rewrite Howard did is 24,000 words and the "present collaborative version" is 31,000 words. So he did quite a bit of work on this particular story.

#6 emerald

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 08:48 PM

As long as the REH original is readily available I have no trouble with the Conan-ized version of Three-Bladed Doom. The tale's whole shape, tone and action fit the Cimmerian well.

And the end result was the Roy Thomas, John Buscema, Tony DeZuniga comic adaption of The Flame Knife, to my mind one of the best Conan comics ever, and my personal favorite two issues of Savage Sword of Conan.

#7 Boot

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 09:10 PM

But please... To suggest it was cinematic?!


It's very cinematic. Conan running down the hall, chased by guards, no where to go then bursting through the window out into the courtyard below. Then, there's the scene where Conan & Co. are in the tower near the end. There is lattice work covering the balcony. Conan's men fire their bows through the holes in the lattice, but the Hyrkanians on the ground have a real hard time firing back. I could see their arrows impacting on the lattice, blowing it apart sometimes, sticking into the light wood. I thought that was really cool.

And, of course, the big, climatic scene at the end. Three armies of men, all going at it. Very cinematic.

I've got the El Borak stories, but I haven't read them yet. Maybe I'll like Howards version better (probably will), but I sure did enjoy this as a Conan story.

#8 El Borak's Li'l Brother

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 09:52 PM


But please... To suggest it was cinematic?!


It's very cinematic. Conan running down the hall, chased by guards, no where to go then bursting through the window out into the courtyard below. Then, there's the scene where Conan & Co. are in the tower near the end. There is lattice work covering the balcony. Conan's men fire their bows through the holes in the lattice, but the Hyrkanians on the ground have a real hard time firing back. I could see their arrows impacting on the lattice, blowing it apart sometimes, sticking into the light wood. I thought that was really cool.

And, of course, the big, climatic scene at the end. Three armies of men, all going at it. Very cinematic.

I've got the El Borak stories, but I haven't read them yet. Maybe I'll like Howards version better (probably will), but I sure did enjoy this as a Conan story.


By cutting out my full statement you take out my full meaning.

Yes, this story is cinematic, but better as an El Borak flick than a Conan. Again, De Camp did his damage. Let's not compound it, hm.
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#9 El Borak's Li'l Brother

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 10:26 PM

I feel I have wrongly led this thread astray by talking cinema rather than of the story itself. I am tempted to reread it, as I see it is handy on my book shelf, to discuss its pros and cons as a Conan pastiche. I hope others more familiar with it, as I read it decades ago, will do likewise.
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#10 Rockamobile

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 03:13 AM

There's no thread in this forum dedicated to this novelette? Wow.

I just finished reading this short book. I read the Ace edition illustrated by Maroto. I must admit, guys. This book caught me from page 1 and held my attention all the way through. Reading it was a guilty pleasure. I found it very cinematic. Lots of action. The story is fun--very "Conan-esque". Big, grand ending.

Those that say de Camp can't rewrite Howard's non-Conan tales and make them a good tale of the Barbarian should read this one.

Good read.



Until recently I had no idea that this was originally not a Conan Story. I did like it. Still do.

Edited by Rockamobile, 29 January 2012 - 09:35 PM.