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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 83 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: More Pulp Books  (Read 9290 times)
Zak Arntson
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« on: September 22, 2002, 07:59:29 PM »

Hit the used bookstore again, and found some Howard books! I figured I'd ask Ron (and the other pulp fans) about the validity of these, because (like Lovecraft fiction) you can get burned when someone "posthumously collaborates."

So, The People of the Black Circle, pub. Berkley Putnam, edited by Karl Edward Wagner. I figured I can't go wrong with something edited by Wagner. This one's pure Howard, right? It also smells slightly of perfume.

Solomon Kane, "The Robert E. Howard Library Vol. III", pub. Baen Fantasy. In Ramsey Campbell's introduction tells of his rewriting some of the stories, but he then lists which stories and what he changes/adds, so credibility is maintained. Are the Solomon Kane stories a good source for Sorcerer & Sword?

---

Other books, perhaps of interest to anyone doing a S&Sword-style game:

Edgar Cayce on Atlantis by Edgar Evans Cayce. Edgar Cayce was a famous psychic, so I had to pick this one up.

The Lost Continent of Mu by James Churchward. This one's filled with pictures and ties together every ancient culture (it seems) to Mu as the source of civilization. I'm anticipating some great inspiration here.

China and Japan, Myths and Legends by Donald A. Mackenzie. It's thick! Should be a good source for Tomoe Gozen-style gaming.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2002, 05:42:48 AM »

Hi Zak,

The Wagner collections are gold - snap'em up. Also, the Soloman Kane stories vary a bit, but not as much as the Conan stories do, and the character is outstanding. It's among the grimmest stuff around.

Solomon Kane is such a strange guy ... especially in the African stories, in which the only person he ever befriends (in any story) is the wizened old shaman, and from that point on he carries, along with his rapier and his musket, the carved "ju-ju stick" which proves useful on many occasions. It's an awesome solid presentation of the hero-as-outsider, especially for a white male protagonist.

I'm proud of my 60s Panther editions of all the Solomon Kane stories, not a peep of posthumous tinkering and brilliantly illustrated with these freaky, scary line drawings (have to check to see who the artist is).

Best,
Ron
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Thor Olavsrud
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2002, 08:41:49 AM »

Hey Zak. If you're looking for untouched Howard stuff, as well as titles by C.L. Moore, Clark Ashton Smith, and others, you might try turning to the Fantasy Masterworkshttp://sfsite.com/lists/orion05.htm series put out by Millennium, which is an imprint of UK publisher Orion Publishing Group.

They have put out Howard's stories in a two volume set:

The Conan Chronicles Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle

and

The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon

Neither is available in the U.S., but you can order through Amazon.co.uk. Just dig out the ISBNs from the site above and you can get them. With shipping, a single volume will probably run you about $17.
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Zak Arntson
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2002, 09:44:39 AM »

Awesome. Time to fill out my Christmas list early. Thanks, Thor.

And Ron, I've just started reading those Kane stories and they ARE weird. It's pulp fantasy writing with a dark, Puritan hero who is not courageous, nor honorable, but fanatic. Awesome.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2002, 10:37:12 AM »

Hi Zak,

My call is that Solomon Kane, along with Kull, embodies Howard's most disturbing ability as a writer - to show the reader the Void. Lovecraft never did it, I think; he'd point to it, and talk about it, and in fact, he even made it semi-fun, in most cases. But these two "heroes" fuckin' stare at it, they have that 1000-yard stare of a foxhole soldier even as they engage in swordfights or rescue damsels or plumb otherworldly places.

There's a kind of desperation in Kull's "King of Valusia" status, or Kane's religious orientation - they have "it," i.e., something to be proud of or to care about, but it's not enough. Conan's happy with "it," and he takes pride in and understands the responsibilities of his kingship (I especially like his map-making in The Phoenix on the Sword; it's one of the finest refutations of the Ah-nold Conan image available.). Kull and Kane say, moodily, "Ah, so what. Look over there."

And you look and it's pretty awful. The sound-without-sound that Kull faces twice, the cross-continental understanding Kane develops of all the horrid beings he encounters ... "God grant all our deaths be so easy," he says of one man he has killed. And the way that all the demon-beings they meet treat them as one of themselves ... brrr.

Best,
Ron

P.S. edited to capitalize my name - don't know why it somehow became e.e. cummings-ized all of a sudden.
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Bailywolf
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2002, 11:39:53 AM »

I've never read any of the Kane stories... if I went looking for them, what would be my best shot at getting a fairly un-monkeyed version for cheap?  


-Ben
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Zak Arntson
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2002, 11:48:18 AM »

My version explicitly declares where it was monkeyed (you could go in and mark it with a pencil, then). It was (used) a three-dollar paperback. Baen fantasy. Here's the cover.

On the other end of pricing, I just found this: http://www.solomonkane.com. Holy moly.
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Thor Olavsrud
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2002, 12:08:57 PM »

Ron,

I have yet to read any Solomon Kane, but I know what you mean about Kull.

The story The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune blew me away. I even felt disappointed when Kull pulled himself away from the mirror (as I'm sure Kull was supposed to feel) and Tuzun Thune was killed.

There was something disquieting about those mirrors...something the reader wanted to understand as much as Kull did. I don't know if I can explain it any better than that.

At the same time, for pure joy of story, I really prefer Conan. As for breaking the Ah-nold stereotype, what about the Teeth of Gwalhur? It's not his best work, of course, but Conan discovers the scroll of the long-dead sage and is able to decipher it because he's picked up dozens of languages in his journeys.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2002, 01:18:05 PM »

Hi Thor,

Just a couple of months ago, I read The Teeth of Gwahlur out loud to my girlfriend, with the proviso that it was kind of a Hollywood adventure romp unlike the others I'd read to her (People of the Black Circle, Beyond the Black River). I was surprised that it was a ... well, a good Hollywood adventure romp, better than I'd remembered. Conan is as enthusiastic and subtle a schemer and counter-plotter as any of his rivals in the treasure-hunt, and he's the only one who figures out the back-story well enough to avoid getting butchered. Definitely a "brains" story (counter to Howard's over-quoted claim that he avoided writing smart characters).

My only objection to it is that Muriela is a thoroughly objectionable romantic interest, especially compared with a knockout like Yasmina. That's probably where my distasteful memories of the story came from.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2002, 01:32:18 PM »

As someone who has much less taste than Ron (yes, one might wonder just how that's possible), I would say that one should not be that picky.

))Heresy Alert((
I like the L. Sprague de Camp stuff. If in the course of buying, you "accidentally" purchase some of the "bad" S&S, I think that it's unlikely that you'll get hurt. At least if you do like I do and buy at rummages, and used book stores. What's the worst thing that could happen for twenty-five cents? You decide for yourself that Gor isn't good? No biggie. You might even get one good idea from it for your game (they almost all have one good idea).

What I'm saying is that I woudn't sweat it too much, people. Just my $.02.

Mike "Tarnsman of Gor" Holmes
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Bailywolf
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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2002, 09:36:59 AM »

Has anyone read much of Henry Kuttner's work?  (Some actualy written in collaboration with C. L. Moore- his wife- under the names  'Lewis Padgett' and 'Lawrence O'Donnell').  I've only read one of his short novels/novels called The Dark World (in an issue of Amberzine actualy) and have only just remembered it... I'll have to dig through some boxes to find the old issue, but if memory serves it was really good S&S stuff with some cool twists and introspective character stuff more akin to the Sci-fi of the period.  It was published in 1946- putting it smack in the 'origins' period of S&S fiction, but I'll to reread it.

Kuttner has a fairly impressive collection of work:
 
http://www.sfsite.com/isfdb-bin/exact_author.cgi?Henry_Kuttner

He was also known to have corresponded with Lovecraft and Howard.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2002, 09:47:21 AM »

Hi Ben,

If it was introspective and moody, then I strongly suspect it was C. L. Moore's actual writing. The two of them frequently traded writing assignments, sometimes in the middle of a story and sometimes not.

Moore's character Northwest Smith, a kind of space rogue dude (but grim and sad, not happy and roguish), is right on the same shelf as Kull and Solomon Kane.

In one of the issues of Conan the Barbarian, when Roy Thomas was still writing it, he adapted the Northwest Smith story "Shambleau" to a Conan adventure and it fit like a glove.

Best,
Ron
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Bailywolf
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« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2002, 10:36:43 AM »

Very cool.  Thanks Ron... I think I'll tap Athens awesome used book market fairly soon.

But a question to all concerned- do you know of any good sites for Sword and Swocery stories online?  I know about the Lovecraft library (http://www.gizmology.net/lovecraft/)  where you can download just about his entire cannon, and I've found tons of classic and some good pulp here and there (Edgar Rice Burroughs at http://www.literature.org/authors/burroughs-edgar-rice/).

But I can't find any Sword and Sorcery.  Looks like with all that was written in the 30's through the 60's, there should be tons of stuff on which can be considered public... does anyone know where to look for them?

Thanks

-Ben
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Thor Olavsrud
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« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2002, 11:18:19 AM »

Ben,

You can find a fair bit of Clark Ashton Smith's work here: http://www.eldritchdark.com/

For a group of folks trying to keep the spirit of the pulps alive and well (with mixed results), check out the Pulp & Dagger Webzine: http://www.pulpanddagger.com/pulpmag/contents.html.
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Bailywolf
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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2002, 11:58:19 AM »

Yowza!  Thanks Thor...this is just what I've been looking for.  Now, of all the sotries I've just downloaded via the .zip archive, which are the best to read, and in which order...?
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