Welcome to my new blog post series here on Mighty Thor JRS, Definitive Sword and Sorcery. At least what is definitive in my opinion. I will spotlight some of the best authors and books fantasy has ever known. I can’t wait to share these amazing books, authors, and the amazing cover art and artist. For this post I am going to go with Robert E. Howard and his Conan stories.
Well Robert E. Howard is the most definitive of definitive Sword and Sorcery! He is Sword and Sorcery. The reason for this is Conan. There is no S&S without Conan. He brought it out into the mainstream and became a world wide phenomenon, spanning many decades, and still going strong today.
There are so many examples of this influence, I have highlighted some below. Whether it be books, comics, movies, or gaming, Conan is everywhere. Some of it good, some is not so good, but you cannot deny this characters importance in not just S&S but all of the fantasy genre. There is not much that has not been said about Conan, not much for me to expand on. This is a character instantly recognized by all. I could not however do a Definitive Sword and Sorcery blog series and not include Conan.
Most importantly REH’s Conan. His is the best Conan, the real Conan. So many other incarnations of this character are out there. The only one that really counts in my book is the true untouched Robert E. Howard versions. Which is why I highlighted the book series below.
Well, I think this will wrap up this blog series, at least for a little while. Seems to have been popular. I was hoping to get some people to come forward and want to help contribute but that has not happened. So until I get inspired to do some more, I hope you will enjoy these post.
As I become more and more disenchanted with modern fantasy and modern fantasy authors, I find myself going back to the books and authors that got me into fantasy in the first place. So I decided to shed some light on these books and authors.
If you have some comments, suggestions, recommendations, let me know!
Are you are a modern author that writes books/stories like the ones I will spotlight here? Get in touch. I want to work with you and spread the word. There has to be something new out that I can read and love. Short stories, collections, magazines, whatever! Let me know what you got and are working on.
James – Mighty Thor JRS
Check out my other Definitive Sword and Sorcery post:
Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Kane by Karl Edward Wagner
Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Elric by Michael Moorcock
Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser by Fritz Leiber
Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Jirel of Joiry by C. L. Moore
Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Bran Mak Morn by Robert E. Howard
Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Kull by Robert E. Howard
Calling all Sword and Sorcery fans!
Definitive Weird Fiction: Clark Ashton Smith
Definitive Weird Fiction: H.P. Lovecraft
Definitive Heroic Fantasy: The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson
Definitive: The John Carter/Martian/Barsoom tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian
“Between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities . . . there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars. . . . Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand . . . to tread
the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.”
Conan is one of the greatest fictional heroes ever created–a swordsman who cuts a swath across the lands of the Hyborian Age, facing powerful sorcerers, deadly creatures, and ruthless armies of thieves and reavers.
In a meteoric career that spanned a mere twelve years before his tragic suicide, Robert E. Howard single-handedly invented the genre that came to be called sword and sorcery. Collected in this volume, profusely illustrated by artist Mark Schultz, are Howard’s first thirteen Conan stories, appearing in their original versions–in some cases for the first time in more than seventy years–and in the order Howard wrote them. Along with classics of dark fantasy like “The Tower of the Elephant” and swashbuckling adventure like “Queen of the Black Coast,” The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian contains a wealth of material never before published in the United States, including the first submitted draft of Conan’s debut, “Phoenix on the Sword,” Howard’s synopses for “The Scarlet Citadel” and “Black Colossus,” and a map of Conan’s world drawn by the author himself.
Here are timeless tales featuring Conan the raw and dangerous youth, Conan the daring thief, Conan the swashbuckling pirate, and Conan the commander of armies. Here, too, is an unparalleled glimpse into the mind of a genius whose bold storytelling style has been imitated by many, yet equaled by none.
In his hugely influential and tempestuous career, Robert E. Howard created the genre that came to be known as sword and sorcery–and brought to life one of fantasy’s boldest and most enduring figures: Conan the Cimmerian–reaver, slayer, barbarian, king.
This lavishly illustrated volume gathers together three of Howard’s longest and most famous Conan stories–two of them printed for the first time directly from Howard’s typescript–along with a collection of the author’s previously unpublished and rarely seen outlines, notes, and drafts. Longtime fans and new readers alike will agree that The Bloody Crown of Conan merits a place of honor on every fantasy lover’s bookshelf.
THE PEOPLE OF THE BLACK CIRCLE
Amid the towering crags of Vendhya, in the shadowy citadel of the Black Circle, Yasmina of the golden throne seeks vengeance against the Black Seers. Her only ally is also her most formidable enemy–Conan, the outlaw chief.
THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON
Toppled from the throne of Aquilonia by the evil machinations of an undead wizard, Conan must find the fabled jewel known as the Heart of Ahriman to reclaim his crown . . . and save his life.
A WITCH SHALL BE BORN
A malevolent witch of evil beauty. An enslaved queen. A kingdom in the iron grip of ruthless mercenaries. And Conan, who plots deadly vengeance against the human wolf who left him in the desert to die.
“FOR HEADLONG, NONSTOP ADVENTURE AND FOR VIVID, EVEN FLORID, SCENERY, NO ONE EVEN COMES CLOSE TO HOWARD.”
In a meteoric career that covered only a dozen years, Robert E. Howard defined the sword-and-sorcery genre. In doing so, he brought to life the archetypal adventurer known to millions around the world as Conan the barbarian.
Witness, then, Howard at his finest, and Conan at his most savage, in the latest volume featuring the collected works of Robert E. Howard, lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist Greg Manchess. Prepared directly from the earliest known versions–often Howard’s own manuscripts–are such sword-and-sorcery classics as “The Servants of Bit-Yakin” (formerly published as “Jewels of Gwahlur”), “Beyond the Black River,” “The Black Stranger,” “Man-Eaters of Zamboula” (formerly published as “Shadows in Zamboula”), and, perhaps his most famous adventure of all, “Red Nails.”
The Conquering Sword of Conan includes never-before-published outlines, notes, and story drafts, plus a new introduction, personal correspondence, and the revealing essay “Hyborian Genesis”–which chronicles the history of the creation of the Conan series. Truly, this is heroic fantasy at its finest.
(Weird Tales Magazine 1930’s)
(Art by Frank Frazetta)
(Art by Ken Kelly)
(Art by Barry Windsor Smith)
(Art by Boris Vallejo)
Just some of the many examples of Robert E. Howard’s Conan and the influence the character has had on pop culture.
Conan, The most Definitive of Definitive Sword and Sorcery!
James – Mighty Thor JRS
May I suggest, if ytou haven’t done it yet, that you read at least A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (ideally the first three of the series)? He’s a father of Sword & Sorcery as well as science fantasy and super heroes. Howard had him amongst his influences and he himself wrote a planetary romance novel in the Burroughs vein, Almuric, even if it’s not considered among his best works. Personally, I love it! I see you did the Elric series, Moorcock wrote his own martian trilogy after Burroughs back in the days.
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Oh, yes! I love ERB! He is truly one of the greats! I am planning on a ERB post soon. Thanks for taking a look at my blog and for the comment!
I am really enjoying your series on this, you should do a listical at some point of all the older hidden gems you know of
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Thanks, Appreciate that. Great suggestion, might just have to do that.
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