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Clonan-Conan imation.Any character good or bad,who resembles Conan of Cimmeria too dam much.

Nuked Conan Clone A character\'s appearance evokes Conan the Barbarian Name Space: MainPage Type: Trope

When a work wants to convey uncivilized badassery, particularly in a pulpy Heroic Fantasy setting, the Barbarian Heroes often have a specific iconic look inspired by Conan the Barbarian. They will be strong and muscular, with long, straight dark hair and angular facial features including a strong aquiline nose, and, often, they have tanned skin and run around with no shirt on. Vikings and their Fantasy Counterpart Culture equivalents tend to be an exception to this trope, because they have their own iconic look. This has nothing to do with the resemblance of Arthur Conan Doyle, or its child detective namesake, or of a certain late-night show host. Examples ((Literature)) Discworld: Cohen the Barbarian plays this for laughs, looking like Conan some seventy or eighty years later: wearing only a loincloth, veins and tendons standing out whenever he moves... and just as deadly as he used to be. Film Animated One of Scarlett Overkill's Super Villain Mooks from Minions is a giant barbarian that plays straight this trope. He's long haired, bare-chested, strong, but unfortunately not so clever. 


Author Henry Kuttner Henry Kuttner was a great talent who died way too soon.

reply | flag * message 5: by S.E. (new) Jun 10, 2015 08:14AM S.E. Lindberg Mod I voted for Brak (over Thongor and Kothar); I would argue that Imaro is the best written ...but is not a "clone" of conan (even though he continues/expands the Sword & Sorcery genre).I just started Elak--I like him better than the above mentioned "clones." Although not as unique as Imaro, Elak still feels like his own character rather than a clone.

Thongor Against the Gods (Thongor #3) by Lin Carter

3.42  ·   Rating details ·  139 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews

The Dark Lord's Decree: DEATH!

At first Thongor's goal seems simple - rescue his princess from her kidnapper. But on the lost continent of ancient Lemuria, where science is hardly distinguishable from sorcery, things are seldom clear-cut. Soon Thongor finds his mighty Valkarthan sword pitted against the sinister magic of those who serve the Black Gods of Chaos.

Wherever danger threatens, Thongor must be ready to fight - for the survival of mankind depends on the outcome of his cosmic contest! (less) Brak the Barbarian (Brak the Barbarian #1) by John Jakes

3.36  ·   Rating details ·  143 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews

Brak The Barbarian--outcast, fortune-hunter, mighty swordsman--batles Septegundus, Amyr of Evil, whose very flesh was etched with humans writhing in torment...Ariane, honey-voiced snare of the devil...the Darter Boys, from whose finger-tips burst agonizing pain in green-crimson beams...Doomdog...Fanfish...T'muk, The Thing Which Crawls...

Roaring his outrage, Brak hefted his great battle axe and set out to make good his vow that not all of the sorcery in this evil land of Yob-Haggoth would bar his way south to the golden city of his dreams. (less)


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Hail Fellow Hyborians! Welcome to the Conan Fan Blog!

This blog was originally started by Reis and posted on Myspace way back in 2006, but he decided to move it to the larger, more accessible Blogger network in 2008, to better reach the large Conan fan base.

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free counters StatCounter - Free Web Tracker and Counter Showing posts with label Clonan Characters. Show all posts THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2012 The PRIZE.... This is one of my favorite drawings...it's a Joe Jusko recreation I put a lot of time and effort into...the person with the funniest CLONAN blurb/caption...gets this if you want it. Posted by Jon M at 3:00 PM 12 comments Labels: Clonan Characters

CONAN vs IRONJAW vs CLAWEdit

Just wanted to share my drawing. I had this idea in my head for years...today at lunch it spilled out onto some scrap paper. I have intentions to redraw right into my sketchbook...hope you like it. Hey...this might be fun. Anyone want to give it a caption or a blurb...the funnier the better. So long as it pertains to CONAN or his CLONANS....if your game...the one I like best...I'll draw you up your own pitcher and send it off to ya....( Lets see who bites , who the hell wants a drawing from Mikeyboy lol ) Posted by Jon M at 2:48 PM 0 comments Labels: Claw, Clonan Characters, Ironjaw THURSDAY, JULY 5, 2012 B-List Barbarians:

Clifford Ball's "The Goddess Awakes"_Edit

"The Goddess Awakes" is the third story published by Clifford Ball in what can only be assumed was his attempt to cash in on the audience built by Robert E. Howard in the pages of Weird Tales with his Conan tales (For a look at his first two stories, go here and then here).

Ball's third story originally was published in the February 1938 issue of Weird Tales. The copy I read is included in the book Realms of Wizardry. Realms is an excellent collection of stories published in 1976 and was edited by Lin Carter. I use the word excellent to reflect the talent collected between it's covers: James Branch Cabell, A. Merritt, Lord Dunsany, Robert E. Howard, H. Rider Haggard and H.P. Lovecraft, just to name the authors printed upon the dust jacket. In fact, seventeen authors in total are included; however, one of the stores, "Quest of the Starstone", was a joint written tale by C.L. Moore and her husband Henry Kuttner. It involves Catherine Moore's two most popular characters, Jirel of Joiry and Northwest Smith, joining forces. The collection also includes an introduction and introductory notes to each story written by Lin Carter. An appendix for further reading is also included. If you find a copy at a used book store, don't hesitate to pick it up.

Like

"The Thief of Forthe"Edit

, "The Goddess Awakes" features the character Rald as its main protagonist; however, at this point in his career, Rald has given up thievery and has become a mercenary hiring out his sword to any who can afford him, unless the opposing army is of Forthe. In a vague way, Ball references his earlier story "Thief" in which it was implied that Rald would become involved with a lady of the court of Forthe (actually, the King's daughter). Due to his involvement with the Lady of Forthe, Rald will not take up arms against her kingdom. It is obvious to point out that Ball, by having Rald advance from a thief to now a mercenary is at least vaguely echoing the career of Conan for his character of Rald; he also did this for the first character he created then abandoned, Duar of "Duar the Accursed".

In this story, Rald has joined forces with the smaller framed mercenary Thwaine. Ball creates an easy banter between Rald and Thwaine that brings more life to this story then his former "Thief of Forthe". The two compliment each other well. I have never read the next three stories written by Ball, so I do not know if they were written in the same universe as his first three, if they were, I hope that he kept the team of Rald and Thwaine together. Of the two main protagonists created by Ball for his stories, Duar and Rald, Duar is the most interesting; however, Rald combined with Thwaine makes for a recipe as interesting as Duar and his back-story of cursed fate.

At stories beginning, Rald and Thwaine are on the run from a battle that their side lost. The two barely escape with their lives and are planning their next move. By pure coincidence, they come upon a lost civilization that is composed of warrior women. Ball never names these women as Amazons; however, he does name them as coming from:

[women who] were of warrior stock. It was said that [they] bowed to a dreadful goddess, called Bubaste, the same that ruled in a far-off land known to few, in a strange country by a sluggish river named the Nile.

This quote points out an interesting thing about Clifford Ball. In the three stories I read, he cobbled together his fantasy realm stealing freely from the created mythologies and/or concepts of Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs and H.P. Lovecraft. At the same time, he references places and things from real history. In this story alone, he makes reference to the Nile and to the existence of Buddha. Ball has no compunctions about borrowing from anyone or anything. His world, to me the geek who grew up playing role playing games, seems very like a home brewed world for a Dungeons & Dragons game; of course it is not, as D&D and games of its ilk were not created until the 70's.

Rald and Thwaine become prisoners of this race of warrior women, who are in turn at the mercy of an evil priest/wizard named Throal. Throal claims to have sired the incarnation of the goddess Bubaste, or Bast, the two names are used interchangeably. Many years ago, he brought his demon-goddess, named Hess, to the warrior women's kingdom:

Hess, the sacred blood-relative of Bubaste, of Bast, daughter of Isis

Hess is a statue by day, but under the rays of the full moon comes to life and hunts. Throal, utilizing the fear and awe generated by Hess, has convinced the warrior women to enslave all the men of their kingdom by addicting the males to a drug that leaves them in a zombie like state. Even though the warrior women have a queen, Queen Cene, he rules in all but name. The women fear him so much that they willingly give themselves as sacrifice for what are described in the story as rites of orgy.

Ball plays with lots of fetish fantasies in this story. It is easy to see why it would appeal to an audience that often read Weird Tales for its lurid covers and thinly disguised sexuality (but don't think for a moment that I don't approve of such things).

In this story, Ball returns to his concept of fate, which he played with first in his story "Duar the Accursed". Balls characters, both Duar and Rald (but decidedly more Duar) are unable to escape their fate, unlike Howard's Conan who absolutely makes his own fate. Observe one of my favorite paragraphs from "Goddess" in which Rald ponders that perhaps his fate is driven by greater forces, it is also a good bit of exposition:

Rald clutched his sword-hilt fondly and gazed upward, beyond the torches and helmets of the warrior host, to where the stars of the heavens had begun to twinkle about the yellow planet whose beams were distributed alike over friend and foe. Perhaps there was madness in the lunar rays, mused the ex-thief; perhaps the great orb possessed the power to change mortals into demonic shapes as the seers of so many lands proclaimed, but to him it seemed that a strength beyond the ken of physicians or the use of drugs flowed from those same beams to mingle with his blood-stream; he felt exultant beneath the rays, free like the desert winds, capable of confronting any difficulty he should chance to encounter. Perhaps--it was a wild fancy, but perhaps he was one of the chosen, a child of that great planet, waxing and waning in his impulses, his contrast of a life of thievery mingled with heroic and generous deeds, enven as the dead world was accredited with forces both good and evil. Certainly, beneath its rays, he gained a confidence in his own ability and ultimate preservation he had never experienced beneath the light of day.

Rald and Thwaine are to be sacrificed to Hess. I won't give away fine details, but I must say, the manner in which they do away with Hess and her master was disappointing at best.

While I found the ending disappointing, I enjoyed this story much more then "Thief of Forthe" and I liked it bit more than "Duar the Accursed". In his introductory notes, Lin Carter states:

No one has ever collected Ball's Sword & Sorcery tales into a book, which seems to me a shame. His stories--possibly the only ones he ever wrote--today molder forgotten in the yellowing pages of an extinct pulp magazine, and their author is a forgotten man in the history of modern fantasy.

While I don't feel as strongly about Ball's stories as Mr. Carter, it is a shame that they are so hard to find. Posted by Kilsern at 6:38 PM 3 comments Labels: B List Barbarians, Clifford Ball, Clonan Characters, The Goddess Awakes WEDNESDAY, JULY 4, 2012 B-List Barbarians:

Clifford Ball's "The Thief of Forthe"Edit

In a previous post, I wrote of Clifford Ball's history (what little is known of him) and his first story published in Weird Tales, "Duar the Accursed". As I mentioned in that post, after the death of Robert E. Howard, Farnsworth Wright seemed to be attempting to find an author to fill the void left with the absence of Howard's stories (a decision Wright would shortly have second thoughts about and would in fact stop seeking/accepting stories that seemed imitative of Howard's style and/or stories). "The Thief of Forthe" was Ball's second published attempt to write a story in the tradition of Conan.

"Thief" first saw print in the July 1937 issue of Weird Tales. It has seen reprinting a couple of times. My reading copy comes from the story collection Savage Heroes (1975). Heroes, even without the Ball story, is a solid collection featuring: "Jirel Meets Magic" - C.L. Moore (and I have written of the the Jirel stories before); "The Spawn of Dagon" - Henry Kuttner; "Necromancy in Naat" - Clark Ashton Smith; "The Song at the Hub of the Garden" - Ramesy Campbell; "Alma Mater" - Daphne Castell; "In the Lair of Yslsl" - Karl Edward Wagner (whose Conan pastiche The Road of Kings, I have written of before); "The Barrow Troll" - David A. Drake; and lastly, "The Temple of Abomination" by my dearly loved Robert E. Howard.

Strangely, the cover states "Edited by Michel Parry"; however, the publication credits states the editor's name as Eric Pendragon. I am not sure if Eric Pendragon is a pseudonymous for Michel Parry, or not. In either case, it is illustrated throughout by Jim Pitts. I am not familiar with any previous or post work by Pitts and can share no information about him. Any further information known by readers would be appreciated.

As to the story itself, like "Duar", "Thief" is fast paced with no lack of action. In this story, gone is the character Duar to be replaced with the less interesting Rald. Rald is a thief to rival Conan, and it can not be helped but to draw comparisons between the two. Surly, Mr. Ball intended his stories to have a ready made audience and wasted no time making things familiar for the reader.

Rald the thief is drawn into a plot to steal the legendary Necklace of the Ebon Dynasty by Karlk the Magician. Via the deed of stealing the necklace, Karlk plots that Rald the Thief will become Rald the King, and hence in gratitude allow, either willingly or not, Karlk to be the power behind the throne. This gossamer reasoning is based upon the history of the Necklace:

"...the chief virtue of the heirloom lay not in its marketable worth, but in the legendary credits supposedly bestowed upon it by the multiple blessings of the Seven Gods...Hence the reasoning of Karlk, the magician: Many kings had worn the Necklace in judicial omnipotence, until the people of Forthe saw the wearer as a representative of the Seven Gods; if a man wore it...would not that man...[have] the right of kingship?"

I am not giving much away when I tell the good reader that Karlk is not what he seems and his intentions are not good. He really is not what he seems at all, meaning *SPOILER ALERT* Karlk is not human. He is what can best be described as an evolved white ape of Burroughs Barsoom stories (thinly veiled in Ball's story as "Jarsoom") whose evolution somewhat echoes the flavor of H.P. Lovecraft's stories (or perhaps more accurately, the flavor of a slip-shod Lovecraft pastiche).


As interesting as this twist is, it does not save Ball's story from being an obvious attempt to cash in on the absence of Howard's Conan yarns in the pages of Weird Tales. While it is a more focused tale than his previous "Duar the Accursed", it is also, for me, less interesting.


The only interior illustration for the story, art by Jim Pitts



Posted by Kilsern at 5:48 PM 2 comments Labels: B List Barbarians, Clifford Ball, Clonan Characters, The Thief of Forthe SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 2012 B-List Barbarians: Clifford Ball's "Duar the Accursed"" In the month of June in the year 1936, Robert E. Howard chose to put a bullet through his head. That choice ended a promising career and left a void in the fledgling sword and sorcery genre fan base. Over the decades, many authors have tried to fill that void, but Clifford Ball was the first. Not much is known about Clifford Ball. Perhaps Lin Carter gives the most information known about Ball in his notes for the anthology Realms of Wizardry:

"Between [May 1937] and November 1941, when [Clifford Ball's] last story was published, Weird Tales printed a grand total of six stories under his byline. As far as I've been able to discover, he never published anything else (at least under that name). Nothing by Ball appeared in any of the weird-fiction magazines outside of Weird Tales; neither did he have anything in the exotic adventure pulps, like Magic Carpet, Oriental Stories, or Golden Fleece. He may have been a visitor from another fictional genre, who dropped in to try his hand at Howardian swashbucklery, then dropped out and returned to more lucrative neighboring fields. No one seems to know" (170).

I have three of those six stories in my possession. "Duar the Accursed" was reprinted in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy anthology New Worlds For Old, edited by Lin Carter; "The Thief of Forthe" was reprinted in Savage Heroes, edited by Michael Parry (also in The Barbarian Swordsmen, edited by Sean Richards); lastly, "The Goddess Awakes" saw reprinting in the also Lin Carter edited, the aforementioned Realms of Wizardry. To the best of my knowledge, two of the other three have never been reprinted ("The Swine of Ææa" and "The Little Man"). "The Werewolf Howls" was reprinted in 100 Creepy Little Creature Stories.

Duar the AccursedEdit

In this installment, I will look at "Duar the Accursed".

Duar's introduction in this story is as a captive to Queen Nione of the Krall Dynasty, ruler of Ygoth. Upon the revelation of his true identity to her, it is obvious that Duar has a reputation throughout the realm:

"'Duar the Accursed'!' breathed Nione. 'What demon brings you here?'...'Demons have always prompted your inclinations, O Duar! Even in this secluded mountain kingdom have we heard of your familiars from Hell! Whence came the red rain of blood that covered the battlefield of Kor and blinded the eyes of the Sivian hosts while your followers cut them to ribbons? And where the giant black raven that flew above your pirate galley when you ravished the coasts of Krem? Why did the mountains of Fuvia shatter themselves over your castles while the mighty hurricane destroyed your villages and your fields as the raging seas finally obliterated the whole of the kingdom King Duar had raised with his pirate hordes?Why, O King who is now a slave?'"

From this short inter-story introduction, a good bit of back ground is laid for Duar, who is known as Duar the Accursed. First, it is obvious that Mr. Ball intended his Duar to be a Clonan. Like the barbarian of REH creation, Duar has done and seen much in his days. He has been a warrior, a pirate, a king and now a slave. Later in the story, it is learned that he has a past life in which he was a high priest of an elder god. This is one thing that sets him apart from Conan. He seems destined to re-live this past life, but Duar also seems un-eager to do so.

His turning away from his fate is inferred as the cause of his cursing, hence the title "The Accursed". Duar himself states: "Mine has been a strange life, it's true. Perhaps there is a destiny for me. I sometimes think that when I have swerved from the chosen path the Gods ordained, it is the very elements who rise to set me back".

This is perhaps the single most important element that marks Duar as different from Conan. Conan's god Crom gives men strength and bravery at birth, but leaves them be from there. They must make their own path, and Conan does, always of his own free will. In the universe of Duar, men are fated by the gods, and a free willed warrior such as Duar is cursed for exercising his own fate. There are other elements, Duar is often visited by a spirit of sorts named Shar who seems to be entwined with his past life. In this story, Shar sets him upon the path to find and destroy the Rose of Gaon. Beyond that, I wish to give nothing more of the story away.

Of the story "Duar the Accursed" , L. Sprague de Camp states: "Ball had here a number of portentous ideas, which he didn't quite know what to do with", and to that count, he may be right as this is the only story featuring the barbarian. Mr. Ball also stole some ideas out right, for instance Ball mentions "...the great white apes of Barsoom" and didn't even attempt to hide the fact that this is stolen straight out of Edgar Rice Burrough's Mars books. That aside, I think de Camp's dismissal of Ball is out of hand.

While Duar is clearly a Clonan, Ball did pack a lot of interesting background around the character and that was rounded out by a fast paced story written well enough to carry it along. It is a shame that Clifford Ball never did return to the character of Duar. I would like to know if the poor barbarian ever escaped his fate, or was he a victim of it? Posted by Kilsern at 10:25 PM 1 comments Labels: Clifford Ball, Clonan Characters, Duar the Accursed WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012 B-List Barbarians:

The Sword and Sorcery of John JakesEdit

While John Jakes is best known for his historical fiction, prominently his Kent Family Chronicles and his North and South trilogy, before he gained fame for his historical fiction, he was best known for his Sword & Sorcery stories.

Because of the Conan popularity "boom" of the 60's and 70's, it was not uncommon to see many titles featuring a "Clonan" type character and bearing the inscription: in the tradition of Conan. It was these sorts of stories that Jakes set out to write with his Brak the Barbarian tales. While these are not exactly Conan pastiche, they are of interest to hard-core Cimmerian fans. I will share two such works here: Brak the Barbarian and Mention my Name in Atlantis, two books by the same author that emulate Conan and REH in their own way.


I'm not sure when and to whom Jakes sold his first Brak the Barbarian tale, but according to Lin Carter, Jakes began writing Brak tales in 1963 and sold most of the earliest to the Ziff-Davis magazine Fantastic. The cover to the left is from the 1980 Tower publication of Brak the Barbarian. In its introduction, Jakes states that the title of the first Brak story was "Devils in the Walls" and he also freely admits that it was "...a Howard pastiche". Brak the Barbarian was Jakes first of five collections of Brak stories and first saw print in 1968 with Avon Publishing. It is currently out of print and it took much haunting of used book stores for me to acquire a copy.

I was curious about them for Lin Carter stated his admiration of them more then once. I respect and follow Carter's recommendations; after all, the man was the editor of the fabulous Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, which I have not yet read a bad volume of, and I have read several.

Brak the BarbarianEdit

Brak the Barbarian proved to me that Carter's opinion is not infallible. I did not hate the book, but it was not worth the time it took me to find a copy. Brak is a collection of five stories: "The Unspeakable Shrine", "Flame-Face", "The Courts of the Conjurer" , "Ghosts of Stone" and "The Barge of Souls". The edition pictured above that I read is illustrated by Thomas O. Miller, whose art I am unfamiliar with. The stories are loosely connected in the sense that they are sequential, but they could easily be read separately. I gained the sense that Jakes performed much post-editing in an attempt to join them into a weak serial.

In this book, Brak has recently left his home in the north for the fabled land of Khurisdan based upon a flimsy notion that he is destined to do so. In each of the five stories, our hero - who differs from Conan because he has blond hair kept in a braid, and always wears his lion skin pelt (how did a barbarian from the north come across a lion skin pelt?) - in each story he encounters adventure. In the opening story "The Unspeakable Shrine" he does battle with an ancient evil sorcerer named Septegundis and the sorcerer's evil daughter Ariane; both worship the evil Yob-Haggoth. He defeats them, but it is promised that Septegundis and he shall meet again, perhaps in Khurisdan or before. Four more adventures follow and the fifth ends with Brak continuing his journey to Khurisdan.

I expected Brak to be a Clonan. With that I take no umbrage; however, the lack of originality was banal. These stories are in the vein of Conan with Lovecraftian imagery thrown in for spice, but they read like the poorest of pastiche. I am not against Conan pastiche. In hopes that the Brak stories grow stronger, not weaker, I will probably continue to look for them. At the very least, they read quickly. This one was great "airplane" fodder. I like books I can read in entirety on a two or three hour flight, and this one fit the bill.

Conax the Barbarian?Edit

A much more enjoyable read by Jakes is Mention My Name in Atlantis, 1972 Daw SF Books. From the back cover blurb:

The continent of Atlantis had troubles enough before Conax the Barbarian washed ashore. The king was on his last legs, his generals were plotting, there were those scary lights in the sky, and Hoptor the Vintner's favorite girl was being put up for auction on the slave block.

Then Conax, the self-styled king of Chimeria - a place nobody ever heard of - turned up at the auction with broadsword, his barbaric manners, and his hair-triggered temper.

John Jakes, author of Brak the Barbarian and many fast-moving novels of past and future, has written an uproarious cliffhanger that even Robert E. Howard would have approved...not to mention his legion of readers.

This book was as entertaining as its blurb led it to sound. It clocks in at 142 pages and reads in its entirety easily on a long afternoon sitting, or again on a two or three hour flight. I actually read this novel prior to Brak, and based upon it, I had higher hopes for Brak. In Atlantis, Jakes sets out to satirize the numerous volumes of Howard pastiche that were being published at the time. Note his dedication:

To the memory of the real Robert E. Howard who has been kept spinning in his grave for the last decade by the new antics of his favorite character's overactive ghost, not to mention his busy and admiring imitators.

Jakes' attempt makes for an enjoyable read. It is obvious from the get go that Jakes is even making fun of himself here. Note his description of Conax the Chimerical:

he was young with eyes of brighter blue...A mane of yellow hair reached well below his shoulders.

"Yellow hair", just like Jakes' own creation Brak. I liked Conax, perhaps because I am a fan of Conan pun characters such as Groo the Wanderer; however, it is the main character Hoptor the Vinter that is the real entertainment. Hoptor is a weasel always one step ahead of the law and his creditors. He makes his living by brokering deals, in fact his name is his livelihood. he often gets himself out of a sticky situation by convincing others that he can get them a great deal if they visit X merchant and "mention my name" (hence the title).

Based upon the enjoyability factor of Mention my Name in Atlantis, while I may or may not be done with Brak tales, I am not done with John Jakes.

Posted by Kilsern at 6:06 PM 6 comments Labels: Book Review, Brak the Barbarian, Clonan Characters, John Jakes Older Posts Home Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)

Open main menu Wikipedia Search 2 Edit this pageWatch this page Read in another language Richard Blade (series) Richard Blade is an adult fantasy pulp novel series produced by Pinnacle Books between 1969 and 1984. The 37 books in the series were written by Roland J. Green, Ray Nelson, and Manning Lee Stokes under the pseudonym "Jeffrey Lord."[1]

The novels were also released as audio books, and as trilogy sets- each set having edited versions of 3 novels on 6 cassettes (running 9 hours, or approximately 3 hours per novel), and later on cds (1 per book, 3 per trilogy set, under the name "Richard Blade Journeys". These were released as Americana Audiobooks by Americana Publishing in English.

Plot

The novels were a series of adventures featuring the titular character (MI6A's special agent Richard Blade), who was teleported into a random alternate dimension at the beginning of each novel and forced to rely on his wits and strength. Along the way, he would have several explicitly described sexual encounters with beautiful women (both in England and in the alternate dimensions), and would usually return from his adventure with some item, or bit of knowledge useful to Britain (the ostensible reason for him being sent in the first place). Richard Blade was distinctly British, and all the stories are set in England (at least at the beginning and end, with Blade being teleported to some other dimension for the bulk of each tale). The series was translated into several languages, including Russian, Swedish, French, German, and Greek.

Books in the series[1][2]

The Bronze Axe (1969) (Manning Lee Stokes) ISBN 978-0-523-00201-9 The Jade Warrior (1969) (Manning Lee Stokes) ISBN 0-523-00202-5 Jewel of Tharn (1969) (Manning Lee Stokes) ISBN 978-0-523-00203-3 Slave of Sarma (1970) (Manning Lee Stokes) ISBN 978-0-523-00204-0 Liberator of Jedd (1971) (Manning Lee Stokes) ISBN 978-0-523-00205-7 Monster of the Maze (1973) (Manning Lee Stokes) ISBN 978-0-523-00206-4 Pearl of Patmos (1973) (Manning Lee Stokes) ISBN 978-0-523-00207-1 Undying World (1973) (Manning Lee Stokes) ISBN 978-0-523-00208-8 Kingdom of Royth (1974) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-00295-5 Ice Dragon (1974) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-00768-X Dimension of Dreams (1974) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-00474-5 King of Zunga (1975) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-00523-7 The Golden Steed (1975) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-00559-8 The Temples of Ayocan (1975) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-00623-3 The Towers of Melnon (1975) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-00688-8 The Crystal Seas (1975) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-00780-9 The Mountains of Brega (1976) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-40790-4 Warlords Of Gaikon (1976) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-00822-8 Looters of Tharn (1976) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-00855-4 Guardians Of The Coral Throne (1976) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-00881-3 Champion of the Gods (1976) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-00949-6 The Forests of Gleor (1976) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-00993-3 Empire of Blood (1977) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 978-0-523-40018-1 The Dragons of Englor (1977) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 978-0-523-40042-6 The Torian Pearls (1977) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 978-0-523-40111-9 City of the Living Dead (1978) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-40193-0 Master of the Hashomi (1978) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-40205-8 Wizard of Rentoro (1978) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-40206-6 Treasure of the Stars (1978) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-40207-4 Dimension of Horror (1979) (Ray Faraday Nelson) ISBN 0-523-40208-2 Gladiators of Hapanu (1979) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-40648-7 Pirates Of Gohar (1979) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-40679-7 Killer Plants Of Binnark (1980) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-40852-8 The Ruins of Kaldac (1981) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-41208-8 The Lords of the Crimson River (1981) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-41209-6 Return to Kaldak (1983) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-41210-X Warriors of Latan (1984) (Roland J. Green) ISBN 0-523-41211-8 Russian editions

In the early 1990s the Russian publishers could secure the rights to only the first six books in the series, and approached the translator - Mikhail Akhmanov - to write the further adventures of Richard Blade.[3] Together with then young sci-fi author Nick Perumov and others, Akhmanov wrote over sixteen sequels[4] to the adventures of Richard Blade, and then, after writing Russian sequels to the saga of Conan, went on to create numerous original characters and plots. Like the Conan sequels, the Russian Richard Blade sequels are not available in English. Today Akhmanov is the author of over fifty fantasy and science fiction novels.

References

KotharEdit

^ a b Fantastic Fiction entry for Jeffrey Lord ^ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for Richard Blade Adventures ^ /Kothar Barbarian Swordsman (Kothar #1) by Gardner F. Fox3

.32 · Rating details · 65 Ratings · 11 Reviews From the world beyond--or past--time Kothar comes. From out of the deepest, most violent recesses of mankind's collective memory, Kothar the gigantic barbarian strides, the enchanted sword Frostfire glittering in his mighty hand. Lusty, hot-blooded, masterful, unafraid of things real or unreal, Kothar dominates the misty, bloody world before recorded time. Yet, though Kothar's world existed in another age--perhaps another dimension--it springs vividly to life. Mapped, charted, chronicled, Kothar's fantastic world suddenly becomes real--the sorcerers, dragons, witches, evil potions, unspeakable monsters. And Kothar, an epic hero for any age, overshadows everything. Kothar though,must have ok enough to get adapted as Conan Marvel Comic. th e "Kothar and Kyric series" from the appendix N of the first edition Dungeon Master's guide. After reading on Amazon, reviewers directed me to this book as the quintessence of the series. To be blunt, Kothar is a very third rate Conan imitation. I realize all swords and socery from that era owe a great deal to Howard, but Kothar is closer to a blatant ripoff than innovators within the genre, such as Fritz Leiber or Jack Vance. Kothar is a youthful barbarian from a northerly clime, a Cumberian--compare to Conan, a "Cimmerian". Kothar is usually accompanied by a typically nude, damsel in distress. The plotting is more reminiscent of an earlyRPG video game than a fantasy novel. Fox's writing is often clumsy and totally devoid of irony or subtext. Still there are a few well described settings and clever phrases, so my time was not completely wasted. Read this only if you are in for some very light fantasy reading. 2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. 2,0 von 5 SternenUnmet promises & meaningless fetch quests quell potentially-good adventure VonS E Lindbergam 6. Juni 2015 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com The title and the author’s foreword to this second Kothar book (the first being Kothar: Barbarian Swordsman of five Kothar Series) promise conflict from two sources: (1) the magic sword “Frostfire” (cursed so that Kothar “can never be otherwise wealthy”, and (2) revenge from the sorceress Red Lori, whom Kothar contributed in arresting within a silver gibbet (in book-1 presumably). However, Frostfire’s powers are rarely demonstrated (arguably never shown), nor is its propensity to loose wealth featured. Worse, Red Lori, who at least does appear in the book, is presented so inconsistently that readers can only wonder: what is going? who cares?

Clonan Expectations: Gardner Fox’s Kothar is a clonan: a “clone” of REH’s 1930’s barbarian “Conan.” Kothar has all the expected traits: a wanderer with a broadsword, hails from northern cold climate (Cumberia), disdains civilization, and bears his open, uber-masculine muscular chest… and let us not forget demonstrates unnecessary misogyny (I don’t remember REH being this over the top). Other notable clonans emerging ~1970 include John Jakes‘s Brak the Barbarian and Lin Carter’s Thongor and the Wizard of Lemuria. Like Carter’s Thongor, Fox’s Kothar reads like poor fan fiction more than it does a unique tribute to the Sword & Sorcery genre. “Brak” is not ground-breaking fiction, but it may be the best of these three.

Like the others, a decent cover artist (Jeff Jones) promises emotive adventure. Four interior drawings (E. Robbins) is nice addition, but the illustrations are not connected with the stories: for example, whereas the words indicate a wild bear is an enemy, the drawing show a werewolf-like man wielding swords; later the text has Kothar fighting nomadic Mongols but the art has him fighting a dragon.

Monty Python and Fake Wrestling: I did not expect much, but was still disappointed. Plenty seeds-of-adventure are never developed, and plenty more scenes are silly: for example, Kothar dresses up like a sheep as bait for an airborne creature, and later he fights a bunch of naked, weaponless priests with his cat-like instinct, puffed out chest, and wrestling moves right of the World Wrestling Federation TV show (seriously, he does one of those moves in which he jumps & kicks both feet into the chest of a combatant…. obviously a go-to move when you have a magical weapon, are 2x the size of any normal man, and your opponent is a disarmed druid). Kothar of the Magic Sword was published in 1969, but subsequent history seemed destined to amplify the self-parody present. There is a scene that may have inspired the infamous “I’m not dead yet” encounter in the 1975 classic “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (a bad guy has all four limbs torn removed, manages to live, and is engaged in conversation with “What? Not dead yet?”).

Red Lori: Enemies have no longevity or depth, and conflict is ever shifting. That said, I was particular excited about the Red Lori character, who had lots of potential. She is introduced in the foreword as a remote antagonist; imprisoned with limited powers, she manages to haunt Kothar. Her involvement was quite effective for 66% of this until….[SPOILER warning]...She tricks Kothar into freeing her, ostensibly to save a maiden from being possessed (from a female demon that Kothar also seems to like). Kothar frees Red Lori nonchalantly without qualm (even though she has threatened him and tried to kill him via assassins). In fact, she instantly becomes a companion with little conflict. Kothar even saves her from danger and goes on a quest with her. It is a mess of faux-romance and faux-drama. Here is a quote:

"Red Lori had forgotten her hate for [Kothar], and her determination for revenge, or so it seemed…She was a learned sorceress, she had come close to destroying mighty Kazazael, long ago. It was by [Kothar’s] efforts that she had been overcome.

Yet now she seemed to have forgotten her desire for revenge.

Kothar could not understand it."

Readers will not understand this change either. With the sudden shift, the only brewing potential in the story was utterly ruined.

More Fox: Interested in Gardner F. Fox?

Fans of Fox often recommend his Kyrik hero over Kothar. Lesen Sie weiter 3,0 von 5 Sternen

Barbarian and Sword vs sorcery VonHarry A Pierceam 23. Mai 2016 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com A Fast but NOT terribly compelling read. A barbarian bargains for a sword that when in his possession compels him to near poverty. The story mix is that a true barbarian uses his strength, stamina and swordsmanship to locate and dispell sorcerous fiends. The emphasis is on building the fearsomeness of the challenges and the stories thus tend more to Lovecraftian horror than barbarrian bravado. This novel is actually three stories barely related to one another. Try "Kandar (Paperback Library)" for a more complete sword quest read. Recommended. Thanks, Harry! 3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. 5,0 von 5 Sternenkothar and Gardner Fox VonJeffrey E. Manessam 18. April 2007 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com Kothar stole the helix form the fat emperor of Avalonia. It was the only way he could hope to recover his magic sword Frostfire from the belly of the Great Eagle of Nirvalla. But the original theft of the helix was to embroil Kothar in even more uncanny adventures. An "ice being," an eerie creature even in Kothar's world, used the helix for his own dark purpose. Trying to forget the beautiful Laella-driven away by the witch Red Lori-Kothar agreed to deliver another lovely girl from the sinester followers of the god Polthoom. Even with the magic sword flashing in his powerful hands, it was the bloodiest, weirdest, most blood-chilling adventure of his life. Written by Gardner Fox, who many consider the greatest comic book writer of all time, responsible for the revival of Flash, The Justice Society of America and many others. 3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. 3,0 von 5 SternenSuper Reader Vonaverageam 7. August 2007 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com Kothar the Cumberian. With a name like that you might suspect that this character is a Conan knockoff. Well, in this case, if you thought that, you would pretty much suspect-o correct-o.

He leads a defensive force against an invading wizard and narrowly loses.

One difference is that he has a magic sword. A lich offers it to him to use to save the queen whose army has just been destroyed. He'd rather keep the sword than have the princedom she offers him for rescuing her wizard.

He also gets paid to go treasure hunting, and finds a minotaur, and deals with a witch woman in a wood, and actually gets to go sword to sword with a sorcerous baron. Gehen Sie zu Amazon.com, um alle 6 Rezensionen zu sehen 2,9 von 5 Sternen

Includes the stories:

"The Sword of the Sorcerer" "The Treasure in the Labyrinth" "The Woman in the Witch-Wood" with an introduction by Donald MacIvers, Ph.D.

Akhmanov official biography Last edited 6 months ago by Magic links bot RELATED ARTICLES Roland J. Green American writer Manning Lee Stokes American writer Roland J. Green bibliography

S.E. Lindberg rated a book it was ok over 2 years ago Kothar of the Magic Sword by Gardner F. Fox Kothar of the Magic Sword (Kothar, #2) by Gardner F. Fox Want to Read Read in June 2015 Gardner F. Fox’s Kothar of the Magic Sword: unmet promises & meaningless fetch quests quell potentially-good adventure



The title and the author’s foreword to this second Kothar book (the first being Kothar: Barbarian Swordsman of five Kothar Series) promise conflict from two sources: (1) the magic sword “Frostfire” (cursed so that Kothar “can never be otherwise wealthy”, and (2) revenge from the sorceress Red Lori, whom Kothar contributed in arresting within a silver gibbet (in book-1 presumably). However, Frostfire’s powers are rarely demonstrated (arguably never shown), nor is its propensity to loose wealth featured. Worse, Red Lori, who at least does appear in the book, is presented so inconsistently that readers can only wonder: what is going? who cares?

Clonan Expectations:Edit

Gardner Fox’s Kothar is a clonan: a “clone” of REH’s 1930’s barbarian “Conan.” Kothar has all the expected traits: a wanderer with a broadsword, hails from northern cold climate (Cumberia), disdains civilization, and bears his open, uber-masculine muscular chest… and let us not forget… demonstrates unnecessary misogyny (I don’t remember REH being this over the top). Other notable clonans emerging ~1970 include John Jakes‘s Brak the Barbarian and Lin Carter’s Thongor and the Wizard of Lemuria. Like Carter’s Thongor, Fox’s Kothar reads like poor fan fiction more than it does a unique tribute to the Sword & Sorcery genre. “Brak” is not ground-breaking fiction, but it may be the best of these three.

CROM! Wednesday, May 2, 2012 B-List Barbarians: The Sword and Sorcery of John Jakes

While John Jakes is best known for his historical fiction, prominently his Kent Family Chronicles and his North and South trilogy, before he gained fame for his historical fiction, he was best known for his Sword & Sorcery stories.

Because of the Conan popularity "boom" of the 60's and 70's, it was not uncommon to see many titles featuring a "Clonan" type character and bearing the inscription: in the tradition of Conan. It was these sorts of stories that Jakes set out to write with his Brak the Barbarian tales. While these are not exactly Conan pastiche, they are of interest to hard-core Cimmerian fans. I will share two such works here: Brak the Barbarian and Mention my Name in Atlantis, two books by the same author that emulate Conan and REH in their own way.


I'm not sure when and to whom Jakes sold his first Brak the Barbarian tale, but according to Lin Carter, Jakes began writing Brak tales in 1963 and sold most of the earliest to the Ziff-Davis magazine Fantastic. The cover to the left is from the 1980 Tower publication of Brak the Barbarian. In its introduction, Jakes states that the title of the first Brak story was "Devils in the Walls" and he also freely admits that it was "...a Howard pastiche". Brak the Barbarian was Jakes first of five collections of Brak stories and first saw print in 1968 with Avon Publishing. It is currently out of print and it took much haunting of used book stores for me to acquire a copy.

I was curious about them for Lin Carter stated his admiration of them more then once. I respect and follow Carter's recommendations; after all, the man was the editor of the fabulous Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, which I have not yet read a bad volume of, and I have read several.

Brak the Barbarian proved to me that Carter's opinion is not infallible. I did not hate the book, but it was not worth the time it took me to find a copy. Brak is a collection of five stories: "The Unspeakable Shrine", "Flame-Face", "The Courts of the Conjurer" , "Ghosts of Stone" and "The Barge of Souls". The edition pictured above that I read is illustrated by Thomas O. Miller, whose art I am unfamiliar with. The stories are loosely connected in the sense that they are sequential, but they could easily be read separately. I gained the sense that Jakes performed much post-editing in an attempt to join them into a weak serial.

In this book, Brak has recently left his home in the north for the fabled land of Khurisdan based upon a flimsy notion that he is destined to do so. In each of the five stories, our hero - who differs from Conan because he has blond hair kept in a braid, and always wears his lion skin pelt (how did a barbarian from the north come across a lion skin pelt?) - in each story he encounters adventure. In the opening story "The Unspeakable Shrine" he does battle with an ancient evil sorcerer named Septegundis and the sorcerer's evil daughter Ariane; both worship the evil Yob-Haggoth. He defeats them, but it is promised that Septegundis and he shall meet again, perhaps in Khurisdan or before. Four more adventures follow and the fifth ends with Brak continuing his journey to Khurisdan.

I expected Brak to be a Clonan. With that I take no umbrage; however, the lack of originality was banal. These stories are in the vein of Conan with Lovecraftian imagery thrown in for spice, but they read like the poorest of pastiche. I am not against Conan pastiche. In hopes that the Brak stories grow stronger, not weaker, I will probably continue to look for them. At the very least, they read quickly. This one was great "airplane" fodder. I like books I can read in entirety on a two or three hour flight, and this one fit the bill.


A much more enjoyable read by Jakes is Mention My Name in Atlantis, 1972 Daw SF Books. From the back cover blurb:

The continent of Atlantis had troubles enough before Conax the Barbarian washed ashore. The king was on his last legs, his generals were plotting, there were those scary lights in the sky, and Hoptor the Vintner's favorite girl was being put up for auction on the slave block.

Then Conax, the self-styled king of Chimeria - a place nobody ever heard of - turned up at the auction with broadsword, his barbaric manners, and his hair-triggered temper.

John Jakes, author of Brak the Barbarian and many fast-moving novels of past and future, has written an uproarious cliffhanger that even Robert E. Howard would have approved...not to mention his legion of readers.

This book was as entertaining as its blurb led it to sound. It clocks in at 142 pages and reads in its entirety easily on a long afternoon sitting, or again on a two or three hour flight. I actually read this novel prior to Brak, and based upon it, I had higher hopes for Brak. In Atlantis, Jakes sets out to satirize the numerous volumes of Howard pastiche that were being published at the time. Note his dedication:

To the memory of the real Robert E. Howard who has been kept spinning in his grave for the last decade by the new antics of his favorite character's overactive ghost, not to mention his busy and admiring imitators.

Jakes' attempt makes for an enjoyable read. It is obvious from the get go that Jakes is even making fun of himself here. Note his description of Conax the Chimerical:

he was young with eyes of brighter blue...A mane of yellow hair reached well below his shoulders.

"Yellow hair", just like Jakes' own creation Brak. I liked Conax, perhaps because I am a fan of Conan pun characters such as Groo the Wanderer; however, it is the main character Hoptor the Vinter that is the real entertainment. Hoptor is a weasel always one step ahead of the law and his creditors. He makes his living by brokering deals, in fact his name is his livelihood. he often gets himself out of a sticky situation by convincing others that he can get them a great deal if they visit X merchant and "mention my name" (hence the title).

Based upon the enjoyability factor of Mention my Name in Atlantis, while I may or may not be done with Brak tales, I am not done with John Jakes. John Jake's did go on to a successful writer, whereas other Clonan hacks did not.


It was editor Cele Goldsmith who suggested Jakes write some Conan style tales for Fantastic. Goldsmith would also coax some new Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories from Fritz Leiber and publish the early works of Michael Moorcock. An important lady in the history of sword & sorcery.


Lagomorph RexMay 3, 2012 at 10:42 PM I rather enjoyed the Brak books, though I was sorry they basically ended on a cliffhanger.. I actually wrote Jakes a letter via his website and never heard back from him.. I suppose I wasn't interested in his westerns or whatever they are so didn't warrant a reply.

Most don't be put off if you're still a fan...many writers are eccentric...and answering fan mail and so on...is not in line with their hermit like sensibilities. I once Drove out to Jame's Dickey's farm ...he was there...he gave me a lemonade and we chatted. But I was told...That being attentive to the fans can be time consuming for a writer. As they tend to work alone no staff or assistants....but that was the olden days. lol...these days....Writers probably have all that PR worked out. Especially if they're big time like a James Patterson.


@Charles, I'm glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for the in-sight about Cele Goldsmith. Interesting stuff.

@Lagomorph, I can't judge all of the Brak books based upon the one I read, but it didn't excite me enough to make it a point to actively seek the rest in the series out. Of course, that is just my opinion.

Well thats the beauty of sword and sorcery, there is a ton of variety even though there are a lot of superficial tropes as well.

I'm honestly rather glad that characters like Thongor and Brak aren't more popular than they are.. if they were like Kane, I wouldn't be able to afford to buy them!

Like the others, a decent cover artist (Jeff Jones) promises emotive adventure. Four interior drawings (E. Robbins) is a nice addition, but the illustrations are not connected with the stories: for example, whereas the words indicate a wild bear is an enemy, the drawing shows a werewolf-like man wielding swords; later the text has Kothar fighting nomadic Mongols but the art has him fighting a dragon.

Monty Python and Fake Wrestling: I did not expect much, but was still disappointed. Plenty seeds-of-adventure are never developed, and plenty more scenes are silly: for example, Kothar dresses up like a sheep as bait for an airborne creature, and later he fights a bunch of naked, weaponless priests with his cat-like instinct, puffed out chest, and wrestling moves right of the World Wrestling Federation TV show (seriously, he does one of those moves in which he jumps & kicks both feet into the chest of a combatant…. obviously a go-to move when you have a magical weapon, are 2x the size of any normal man, and your opponent is a disarmed druid). Kothar of the Magic Sword was published in 1969, but subsequent history seemed destined to amplify the self-parody present. There is a scene that may have inspired the infamous “I’m not dead yet” encounter in the 1975 classic “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (a bad guy has all four limbs torn removed, manages to live, and is engaged in conversation with “What? Not dead yet?”).

Red Lori: Enemies have no longevity or depth, and conflict is ever shifting. That said, I was particular excited about the Red Lori character, who had lots of potential. She is introduced in the foreword as a remote antagonist; imprisoned with limited powers, she manages to haunt Kothar. Her involvement was quite effective for 66% of this until…. (view spoiler)

More Fox: Interested in Gardner F. Fox? Fans of Fox often recommend his Kyrik hero over Kothar. Like Likes: 6 Greg The mismatch between the text and the internal illustrations is a bit odd and (I imagine) a bit jarring while you're trying to follow the text! 2 years ago © 2018 Goodreads, Inc. · Terms Back to Top Home Sign In Genres Switch to Desktop Settings Help Listen with Audible Sponsored ×

HiComicsEdit

Claw is in many ways to Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian (and, more particularly, Marvel Comics' depiction of him).Claw had some elements of Prince Khorum. {Music} Manowarrior, the Metal Band Mascot of the band Manowar, with his dual-wielded swords, jet-black Barbarian Longhair and shirtlessness is basically Conan with a shadowed face (probably for the sake of Writing Around Trademarks). Web Animation In episode 17 of If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device the Emperor is telling a brief and somewhat biased history of the "Warhammer 40K" universe and makes the paper puppet representing himself look like Conan, and implies he was actually Conan. DURING MY FIRST YEARS OF LIFE, I WAS A POWERFUL BUT RECKLESS YOUNG MAN. AT THE POINT IN TIME, MOST OF MY LIFE CONSISTED OF CRUSHING MY ENEMIES, DRIVING THEM BEFORE ME, AND HEARING THE LAMENTATIONS OF THE WOMEN.



Discard52 Add Hat Hello, Unknown Troper. You'll need to get known to lend a hand here. Community Feedback Replies: 48 August 11, 2015 eroock Film: The Barbarians features twins who look like Conan. August 11, 2015 justanotherrandomlurker So, this is Captain Ersatz but more specific? August 11, 2015 zarpaulus Western Animation The main character of the failed Adult Swim pilot Korgoth Of Barbaria is a very blatant knock-off. Web Animation In episode 17 of If The Emperor Had A Text To Speech Device the Emperor makes the paper puppet representing himself in the "brief history of 40K" look like Conan, and implies he was actually Conan. August 11, 2015 Alucard Manowarrior, the Metal Band Mascot of the band Manowar is basically Conan with a shadowed face. August 11, 2015 Chabal2 Discworld: Cohen the Barbarian plays this for laughs, looking like Conan some seventy or eighty years later: wearing only a loincloth, veins and tendons standing out whenever he moves... and just as deadly as he used to be. August 12, 2015 robinjohnson Isn't this just part of the Barbarian Hero trope? August 12, 2015 Arivne Examples section Namespaced, italicized and Blue Linked work names. Corrected improper Example Indentation in the Metalocalypse examples. August 12, 2015 shimaspawn Zero Context Examples marked for repair or removal. August 14, 2015 PeynTehr Wouldn't this technically be a Conan Expy? Or in an extreme case maybe a Captain Ersatz of Conan? Either way Conan's the Trope Codifier for Barbarian Hero so maybe that's what you mean? August 14, 2015 shimaspawn ^ It's not quite an Expy because it's mostly the look that's taken. August 15, 2015 robinjohnson Again, why should this be separate from Barbarian Hero? Is this trope ever in play without being part of Barbarian Hero, either played straight or subverted? August 20, 2015 alnair20aug93 In Brave, where the clansmen presents their sons in marrying Princess Merida, Merida sets her eyes on one perceived son who looks like a musclebound barbarian. Subverted, as the actual son, who's scrawny is behind the musclebound barbarian. Although at the end of the film, it got the hots for the castle nanny. August 20, 2015 Rjinswand Discworld: Hrun the Barbarian plays this trope more straight than Cohen, though he's also a parody. I think this trope might be a subtrope of Barbarian Hero. Also, it's more of a costume trope based on Frank Frazetta's depiction of Conan than Conan's actual depiction in the novels (it's kind of a Beam Me Up Scotty in that sense). It's like the Chainmail Bikini that originated with Red Sonja. August 20, 2015 WalterSmith From Disney's Brave we have a giant muscular lad serving Lord Dingwall. He is bare-chested, long-haired and dwarfs everyone in the throne room. Even Merida is impressed by his sheer size. Too bad that wasn't Dingwall's son at all. August 23, 2015 alnair20aug93 This has nothing to do with the resemblance of Arthur Conan Doyle, or its child detective namesake, or of a certain late-night show host. August 24, 2015 randomsurfer ^Or a certain wrestler. August 24, 2015 Snicka Why not call this Conan Clone? It alliterates nicely. August 24, 2015 alnair20aug93 @randomsurfer That too. XD September 1, 2015 Dalillama Or Clonan September 1, 2015 WalterSmith Conan Archetype Character Conan Rip Off Hey Thats Conan Conan Wannabe Dude Looks Like Conan Clonan The Barbarian September 2, 2015 oneuglybunny If this isn't about being a Barbarian Hero, but rather looking the part, then we still have this one: Frazetta Man. "Already have?" tag x 2. September 2, 2015 Dalillama Read the description of Frazetta Man. It is not this, or anything close. September 2, 2015 Snicka Conan Copy as another possible name. Frazetta Man has nothing to do with this, it is a type of monster, an animalistic wild man that usually opposes the Conan-type heroes. September 23, 2015 Floria I was thinking Looks Like Conan for consistency with Looks Like Cesare, Looks Like Jesus, etc., but Conan Clone is catchy. October 2, 2015 eroock Another ZCE for the Film section: The Barbarian Hero from Time Barbarians (1990) looks like Conan. October 3, 2015 eroock Subtrope of Follow The Leader. October 3, 2015 WalterSmith I've deleted the Zero Context Examples, since the editor didn't edit them for good. October 3, 2015 maxwellsilver Does Marv of Sin City count? Frank Miller calls him "Conan in a trenchcoat". October 4, 2015 eroock ^^ How would you suggest getting around ZCE for this trope? It's about physical attributes, easiest described by referring to Conan. October 4, 2015 Snicka ^ I suppose that at every exaple, you should write: "X, the Barbarian Hero from Y work, is a muscular, bare-chested, long-haired man wielding a longsword", with slightly differently phrased at each one. October 4, 2015 Chernoskill Tabletop Games In the boardgame Hero Quest, the barbarian hero is heavily influenced by Conan the Cimmerian, wearing only short pants made from animal fur, black hair, and armed with a big sword. October 4, 2015 Snicka "Angular facial features" in the description can be potholed to Lantern Jaw Of Justice. October 5, 2015 eroock ^^^ Yeah, that'll show Walter Smith. ;-) February 1, 2016 Segaguycrazy Ax Battler from Golden Axe counts, I guess. September 20, 2016 Floria Metalocalypse: Nathan Explosion's character in the Heroic Fantasy inspired Thunderhorse music video. Nathan always has the physical attributes of the part, being a big guy with long, straight dark hair and an aquiline nose, but the video shows him in proper barbarian hero regalia. September 20, 2016 DAN004 Does He Man count? September 21, 2016 alnair20aug93 I thought of Khal Drogo. ^ Perhaps. Barbarian Heroes were popular in the 80s. September 21, 2016 NubianSatyress Red Sonja: The character of Kalidor is a thinly-veiled Expy of Conan, right down to being portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who portrayed Conan in the 1980s live-action movies. September 21, 2016 SolipSchism Kind of ironic that the description uses the phrase "long, straight dark hair" and yet the image is of a blonde guy. September 21, 2016 DAN004 ^ many up north barbarians are blonde, right? September 21, 2016 alnair20aug93 ^^ Might've been an influence to Arny's depiction of Conan. And it just came into my mind that the one-shot animation from Adult Swim, Korgoth Of Barbaria is in here. January 28, 2017 alnair20aug93 Bump. January 28, 2017 sailing101 Duplicate of Barbarian Warrior, Expy, I say bombs away. January 28, 2017 Snicka ^ We don't have anything called Barbarian Warrior. We have Barbarian Hero, though. January 28, 2017 sailing101 Gah, my point still stands, bombs for duplicates. February 1, 2017 sailing101 This needs three more bombs for a proper discard. Let's bury this duplicate. June 14, 2017 alnair20aug93 Regardless of what this guy above says, this has potential. I mean, has any media NOT pay homage to Conan? Bump.

June 14, 2017 Basara-kun Barbarians are stereotyped like that before Conan was born, so it's Older Than You Think. If well Conan is an Ur Example for this trope, there're a lot of cases that inspired Conan, so this isn't new. And also we already have Barbarian Hero that covers this, especially stories before Conan. So yeah, bombing this

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Switch To Desktop Version TVTropes is licensed under a Creative Commons. Conan imation is often called a Clonan by some fans,that often is badly produced to cash on Conan the Cimmerians success.Example Thongor,Thundarr the Barbarian,Kothar,Brak the Barbarian,Claw the Unconquered,Beowulf Dragon Slayer.,The Stalker.DC Comics.


In Sword and Sorcery there is a term for many of its heroes named Conan Clones. To my knowledge a list of these clones would be the likes of:Oron, Duar, Kothar, Kyrik, Thongor, Brak ,Claw the Unconquered,Travis Morgan the Warlord etc. There are probably a lot more but i've either forgotten or not heard of them. Can any1 else tell us about anymore?  Most Clonans are basically badly written crap,made to look and read like Conan, but not as good. The 2nd part of this thread is what is it that sets a sword and sorcery hero apart from being a Conan clone? Obviously we know why Kane and Elric are not considered clones but what about Elak etc.


In Kuttner's case Elak is not described as looking like Conan at all and I think that, that alone must be why he's not considered a clone because he is lacking in personality, (the only thing wrong with the Elak stories IMO as everything else is great,)however Duar is described exactly the same as Conan even though his personality is very different. Is Imaro not considered a conan clone because he is black? Maybe I havn't read enough Imaro but his personality does not seem that far off Conan's. So I guess to make things clear it would be what does a new sword sorcery hero need to be like not to be a conan clone that hasn't already been done, i.e Elric? I am no lI think "Conan Clone" is a bit of a misnomer. "Clone" implies that somebody just took Conan, slapped a new name on him, and dumped him in a new setting. Unfortunately, most of these "clones" merely ape the most basic elements of Conan: muscular, barbarian, strong fighter, virile, heroic. Some of them exaggerate elements that only apply to a younger Conan, or even only a few stories: fear/mistrust of sorcery, wears a loincloth, naive to civilization's mores, practically feral. Then you get those that copy what people think Conan is like, but not: dumb, clumsy, brutish over agile, uses violence to solve problems as a first resort. Thus there are a lot of people who are considered Conan clones that, in my opinion, simply don't make the grade. He-Man is an example: the only similarities between the two are that they're pretty muscular and are handy with a sword. It's only bringing in misconceptions - Conan constantly clad in a loincloth, having a sorcerer as nemesis, being supernaturally powerful and having a magic sword of ancient power - that more similarities emerge.

Thongor's an interesting case, because Carter pretty much adapted his Thongor novels into Conan pastiches: thus Thongor may bear negligible resemblance to Howard's Conan, but he's more or less identical to Carter's Conan.

Imaro, I think, is suitably different from Conan beyond merely being black. Based on what we know, Imaro probably had a much rougher and more loveless upbringing than Conan, and the Illyassai are quite different in temperament from the Cimmerians. Imaro emerges quite differently personality-wise from Conan, having less "mirth" and spades of "melancholies", for example.

Then you have characters that take the look of Conan - black hair, light eyes etc - like Manos, Claw the Unconquered, probably a few others I can't remember.Well, again using Tanith Lee's Cyrion as an example (sorry to keep harping on him, but he's one of my favorites) he's blonde and on the slim side and uses magic. He's serious but not anguished or neurotic or tragic like Elric, he's a professional. He's very slick and deft, lays complex plans when necessary, and is usually several moves ahead of the opposition. He enjoys his work. Lee perhaps makes him a little too competent for proper dramatic tension. After reading enough of his stories, I realized that whenever he seems to be in trouble, he's probably running a scam that will make itself clear later in the story. But I enjoyed his stories, and he did run into a sorceror or two who caused him problems. Part of my enjoyment came from watching his intricate plans play themselves out. But unlike the Gray Mouser, he seldom outsmarted himself. The GM may be the character whom Cyrion most resembles. Lee may have designed him to be an idealized version of the Mouser: a character whom GM would like to imagine himself being. 


I didn't intend to spend so much time on a different character. But I was trying to give an example of a character who was well-distinguished from Conan, and Elric, and the Gray Mouser (whom he most resembles). If someone wanted to write about a barbarian, it would be necessary to go to some lengths to make a differentiation. Fafrhd, is in fact, a barbarian who is well distinguished from Conan. 

Clonan the BarbarianEdit

After Conan hit big with Lancer Books-there because interest in Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan and John Carter Martian/Barsoom Series,Marvel comics picked the rights to Conan the Barbarian-once passing on Thongor.DC Comics had the Tarzan Comics,Weirld Worlds-featuring John Carter and David Innes.But soon they tried to flood the market with true Clonans.Colonel Travis Morgan-who looked Green Arrow,trying to John Carter in a very Hyborean Age Pellucidar.



They resurrected Joe Kubert's Tor,-where I partially got the name Toreus from for Toreus the Slayer.Next was Claw the Unconquered.Claw is a fictional character, a sword and sorcery hero published by DC Comics. He first appeared in Claw the Unconquered #1 (June 1975), and was created by David Michelinie and Ernie Chan.[1][2]  Similar in many ways to Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian (and, more particularly, Marvel Comics' depiction of him), Claw is a wanderer and a barbarian in an apparently prehistoric age who battles various wizards, thieves, monsters, and warriors who cross his path. Unlike Conan however, Claw has a deformed, claw-like right hand, the result of a curse which has been placed on his family.

The Big Barbarian TheoryEdit

Friday, March 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Joe Bonadonna and David C. Smith

[1]Conan, King Kull, Cormac, Bran Mak Morn — characters often imitated, never duplicated. These creations of Robert E. Howard started the sword-and-sorcery boom of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Then there are the barbarian warriors inspired by Howard — Clonans, as one writer recently referred to these sword-slinging, muscle-bound characters.

A fair observation, but in some cases, not so true.

We prefer to think of these tales of wandering barbarian heroes as “Solo Sword and Sorcery” because the majority of these characters are lone wolves, without sidekicks or even recurring companions. This is a big part of their appeal, in fact.

We’ve read many, if not most, of the Conan pastiches, including the novels based on Howard’s other creations. Karl Edward Wagner’s, Poul Anderson’s, and Andy Offutt’s portrayals of the Cimmerian come within a sword’s stroke of Howard’s vision.

L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, in commodifying the character, arranged the long, informal saga of Conan in chronological order and, by extenuating these adventures with dozens more, made of Howard’s original vision a long-form series similar to the episodic success of a television show on a prolonged run of diminishing returns.

For some readers, however, the advantage of this development is that it provided a sort of character arc as Conan grows from a youth to an older man.

That said, however, it is better to read the Conan tales in the order in which Howard wrote them.

By doing this, we gain at least two things: the sense of an adventurer’s life being recounted in the same haphazard way that it was lived, and — perhaps more importantly — we witness Howard’s own developing arc as a writer — his growth, his maturity, his mastery of the art of storytelling.

[2]We also get to watch as Howard becomes more sharply attuned to his markets, as Conan the commercial property evolves from the regal lion of “The Phoenix on the Sword” and the dangerous young buck of “The Tower of the Elephant” to his later portrayals as a lusty roustabout and badass, soldiering and womanizing, carousing and drinking, fighting and fighting some more — and, more often than not, attaining that month’s Weird Tales cover with a Margaret Brundage beauty in bondage.

But the endless parade of pastiches shares much of the blame for the death of the Big Barbarian Solo craze of the late 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s.

In addition, in a period of historic social change, many of these tales betrayed an attitude that was falling out of favor. The limitations apparent in this go-round of sword-and-sorcery fiction were not challenged, and most of the pastiches predictably moved along a preordained path with a one-dimensional, exaggeratedly masculine character going through rote episodes no more compelling than the umpteenth rerun of a grade C Western movie.

Furthermore, the audience for these stories grew older and turned to other distractions — video games, primarily, because the technology had reached an advanced level of sophistication, as well as comic books and summer blockbuster movies, which were available for rewatching on VHS and, later on, DVD.

The demise of the one-dimensional big barbarian lunkhead at that historical moment was deserved.

[3]In 1970, Joe wrote a letter to Lin Carter, who was then the editor of Ballantine Books’ Adult Fantasy Series. Joe asked how to go about submitting a Conan novel he had written.

Lin Carter was nice enough to reply quickly, telling Joe that only he and L. Sprague deCamp were licensed to write Conan stories.

He suggested, however, that Joe change the name of Conan to one of Joe’s own choosing and change any other names borrowed from Howard, then submit the novel to a publisher as his own original creation.

In other words, Joe was advised to write a Clonan novel.

It was this disgraceful attitude that Conan was interchangeable with other barbarian heroes that Joe didn’t care for. (A Conan-clone by any other name is still Conan?)

Oddly enough, it was shortly after this response from Lin Carter that Bjorn Nyberg’s Conan pastiche appeared on the scene. Then, as we know, other writers were brought in as “hired guns” to continue the Conan saga — and, so often happens in the wake of hired guns, there was trouble: we saw the slow death of the Barbarian Solo brand of sword and sorcery.

Thankfully, Howard’s Conan did not fall victim to these troubles and vanish from the scene. This is a tribute to Howard’s brilliance and strength as a writer as well as to his devoted audience, who know that there is much more to Howard, and to Conan, than beefsteak and sword point.

These fans and editors championed Howard’s work to keep him in print, ultimately in revised, corrected editions.

The first wave of the Barbarian Solo sword-and-sorcery boom was actually rather short-lived. It lasted from roughly the mid 1960s to around the early 1980s.

[4]But it gave us a roster of wonderful writers such as Richard L. Tierney, Ted (T. C.) Rypel, David Drake, the late David Madison, Charles Saunders, Tanith Lee, and Diana L. Paxson.

(Joe would add David C. Smith to this group, as well.)

After that, as the popularity and success of epic fantasy spawned numerous series of multivolume sagas, the old-school brand of sword and sorcery all but disappeared. Many publishers shied away from the “barbarian thing.”

There are several reasons for this, and not all of them due to the one-dimensionality of many of the characters promoted in sword-and-sorcery novels. David G. Hartwell explained it best in Age of Wonders (originally published in 1984, revised and reprinted in 1996).

In Age of Wonders, Hartwell discusses the business of publishing science and fantasy during this period. In Appendix V, “Dollars and Dragons: The Truth About Fantasy,” which originally appeared in The New York Times Review of Books, Hartwell discusses how unfashionable fantasy fiction became in the postwar years compared with the first half of the twentieth century, when it was commonplace (think of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, by James Thurber, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, by R. A. Dick [Josephine Aimee Leslie] and the Mr. Ed stories by Walter R. Brooks).

In the 1950s and early 1960s, fantasy was regarded as young adult fiction (consider A Wizard of Earthsea, for example). This attitude changed, Hartwell notes, “in terms of category publishing, with J. R. R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.”

As we know, LOTR became an astounding cult classic in the late 1960s into the 1970s. Its success encouraged Ian Ballantine to launch the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in the late 1960s, bringing back into print George MacDonald, William Morris, Evangeline Walton, E. R. R. Eddison, and Mervyn Peake, among others.

[5]To the “consternation” of the champions of this type of Old World, high art fantasy, however,

Only the Conan the Barbarian series from Lancer Books caught on… Associated series, such as Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series and Michael Moorcock’s Elric series, rode the crest, too. Barbarian fantasy sold, and it was the conventional wisdom that it sold to teenage readers, not to the wider Tolkien audience.

Ballantine found a way to reach the Tolkien readers when Lester del Rey, then a consulting editor for the publisher, read the manuscript of The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks.

The strategy, Hartwell explains, was this:

They would take this slavish imitation of Tolkien by an unknown author and create a best-seller using mass-marketing techniques, and so satisfy the hunger in the marketplace for more Tolkien.

Following the success of The Sword of Shannara, del Rey founded his own fantasy imprint and moved forward with his line of written-to-order, mass-marketed, Tolkienesque/Shannaraesque fiction:

The books would be original novels set in invented worlds in which magic works. Each would have a male central character who triumphed over evil (usually associated with technical knowledge of some variety) by innate virtue, and with the help of a tutor or tutelary spirits. Mr. del Rey had codified a children’s literature that could be sold as adult. It was nostalgic, conservative, pastoral, and optimistic. One critic, Kathryn Cramer, seeking an explanation for why an American audience would adopt and support such a body of fiction, has remarked that it was essentially a revival of the form of the utopian novel of the old South, the plantation novel, in which life is rich and good, the lower classes are happy in their place and sing a lot, and evil resides in the technological North. The plot is the Civil War run backward. The South wins. That pattern seems to fit a majority of recent fantasy works well.

[6]Hartwell continues:

By the late seventies, the success of the del Rey formula was so confirmed that many other publishers began to publish in imitation. Dragons and unicorns began to appear all over the mass-market racks, and packaging codes with proper subliminal and overt signals developed. A whole new mass-market genre had been established. One can understand it best in comparison to the toy market’s discovery that you can sell dolls to boys if you call them action figures and make them hypermasculine.

In this way, “barbarian” sword-and-sorcery fiction, which has its roots in the masculine adventure of the early twentieth-century pulps, combined with the Gothic and horror elements that had become so popular in fiction magazines of the late 1920s into the Depression, was succeeded commercially — and very profitably — by juvenilia promoted as adult fiction.

At the same time, some of the old guard who had written Golden Age (1930s and 1940s) and Silver Age (1970s and 1980s) old-school sword and sorcery passed away, retired, or just moved on to new territory — John Jakes, for example, and even Michael Moorcock, who became involved with the British band, Hawkwind.

These writers, as well as Fritz Leiber and Jack Vance, to name a few, in fact had written, not Big Barbarian Solo sword and sorcery, but literate adventure-fantasy fiction that helped develop and expand the genre.

One of the elements that often bothered us about sword and sorcery was its frequent lack of complex or developed characters, engaging dialogue that propelled the story and brought the characters to life, and the lack of real human drama and tragedy — the kind of plotting and drama we find in all good storytellers, from Shakespeare to Dickens and other great novelists.

Dramatis gravitas — that’s what the Big Barbarian Solo tales lacked. They were simple, straightforward action/adventure tales.

[7]Most of them were not meant to be more than that, of course, and that is in the grand tradition of some of the best pulp fiction. And yet… the possibilities are there.

Thankfully, a new sword-and-sorcery boom has been underway for quite some years now. With a growing female audience, dedicated publishers, and an influx of daring young writers — including many gifted women who are bringing something new to the genre — the sword-and-sorcery genre is at last growing and flourishing.

Thanks to such venues as Black Gate magazine, Rogue Blades Entertainment, Pyr Books, and the whole gladiatorial arena of self-publishing houses… thanks to such writers as Howard A. Jones, Milton J. Davis, Cynthia Ward, Jon Sprunk, Kate Martin, Bruce Durham, Christopher Heath, and a legion of others… sword-and-sorcery is alive and well and growing up at last.

The Big Barbarian may be wearing new clothes and have a more cultured attitude, but he’s still out there — and she’s still out there — continuing to fight the good fight, slaying demons and wizards and monsters and plain old-fashioned nasty villains.

And if there are any other writers out there we have failed to mention, we apologize… in the name of Crom!

19 Comments »Edit

  1. Thanks, John! Once again, a splendid job in setting up our article and posting it in such elegant fashion. Always a thrill and a real pleasure to contribute to Black Gate’s website.

– Joe Bonadonna, author of MAD SHADOWS: THE WEIRD TALES OF DORGO THE DOWSER

Comment by Joe Bonadonna - March 23, 2012 8:27 pm


  1. NIce theory: plenty of insight, concisely put! 

Comment by carlaz - March 23, 2012 11:43 pm


  1. You’re welcome Joe (and Dave).

A splendid article all around. Exactly the kind of thing I like to see on the BG website.

Comment by John ONeill - March 24, 2012 10:53 am


  1. “Exactly the kind of thing I like to see on the BG website.” Me too — Let’s see more of it everywhere!

Comment by Jason M. Waltz - March 24, 2012 12:40 pm


  1. Interesting post. I particularly like the way you phrased this:

“In this way, “barbarian” sword-and-sorcery fiction, which has its roots in the masculine adventure of the early twentieth-century pulps, combined with the Gothic and horror elements that had become so popular in fiction magazines of the late 1920s into the Depression, was succeeded commercially — and very profitably — by juvenilia promoted as adult fiction.”

I’d say that this trend has continued, except that the pretenses have been dropped….Harry Potter, Twilight, etc.

Today we see far too much emphasis on characterization in the genre. A character’s sock preference isn’t interesting and I certainly don’t want my barbarian heroes to be feminized 21st Century Western men. There is still a huge market out there for masculine adventure stories and the success of reprints of early 20th Century adventure stories from the likes of REH is telling (thank you Mr. Jones for helping bringing Harold Lamb back into print!).

Comment by Tyr - March 24, 2012 12:41 pm


  1. Thanks, everyone! Dave and I are proud of this article, and proud that it’s up on BG’s website. We were hoping to add a little insight to the genre, look at it from a historical perspective, and trace its roots. We had been away from the genre for some years, and we returned almost at the same point in time. It was a delight to find the Sacred Genre alive and well and thriving — something that was not always reflected by the books I saw on the shelves of Borders, and Barnes&Noble. So I spent my time at used bookstores. Now I know better, and the selection is wide open.

Comment by Joe Bonadonna - March 24, 2012 2:41 pm


  1. Giga-Rad article. Thrilled to see something so starkly Sword + Sorcery posted.

I like your idea about Leibers’ contributions, though I have always maintained Leiber is the first ‘true’ Sword + Sorcery writer.

Leiber analysed (thus ‘corrected’) the works of Howard before him and consciously methodically set out to make his ( Leibers’ own not Howards’ ) vision a reality in print.

In that sense Leiber as a respectful, though individual writer knowingly followed Howard down a previously unseen path.

I don’t think Howard really saw the path he was walking.

Vance I think is more like Howard in spirit than Leiber.

Howard didn’t know he was a lightning flash of manic originality and sheer unconscious pioneering. He was too busy serving his own ends to ‘think’ about his greater impact, not unlike Conan himself, Howard is an anti-hero.

Sheenan’s tits! You should be sorry for not mentioning KEW.

Comment by RadiantAbyss - March 24, 2012 3:21 pm


  1. Karl Edward Wagner is the second author mentioned — right after REH.

Comment by John ONeill - March 24, 2012 9:22 pm


  1. And that’s why your the Editor and Chief, Chief.

Irregardless of my blinding loyalty to KEW spiked by insomnia induced dyslexia I am a bit taken aback that my opinion on Sword + Sorcery didn’t get more of a stir.

Oh well bonus points from me Bonadonna + Smith for mentioning Vance and ( Clark Ashton )Smith.

Comment by RadiantAbyss - March 25, 2012 12:56 am


  1. Very illuminating. I’d never heard of that Hartwell piece–thank you especially for discussing the business history behind all these shifts in the genre.

I think the idea of apologizing in the name of Crom would move Conan to gigantic mirth. It certainly did me.

Great stuff. You’ve given me more names and titles to add to my personal Sword and Sorcery Syllabus.

Comment by Sarah Avery - March 25, 2012 10:31 pm


  1. “Vance I think is more like Howard in spirit than Leiber.”

Hmmm, can’t really agree that Vance is much like Howard. The swashbuckling, heavily-muscled barbarian is not a Vance hero. Vance’s central characters are usually young men who triumph over evil thanks to brains and competence, not brawn.

Comment by Lugo - March 26, 2012 10:12 am


  1. “Vance I think is more like Howard in spirit than Leiber.”

In spirit. Not flesh/substance/surface.

Nigh unkillable, nearly seven foot, death-dealing, mighty thewed wildmen, is not the spirit/underworld/hidden/shadow of Howards’ Conan series.

That is surface.

Both Howard and Vance had no idea they were going to be held up as sages showing the unseen path to new sub-types of adventure fiction.

They just wrote adventure fiction ( cause they liked it, and they could sell it ). Vance and Howard were just mercs, that happened to be made of better stuff than the folks selling themselves as ‘more than writers for fun and profit.’

Everything Vance and Howard did/does has a sub layer of…ADVENTURE! For it’s own sake.

No one reads Vance or Howard for the mighty thewed plotting.

It’s the mighty thewed ADVENTURE! That is the goal.

They had/have both said so several times.

And both didn’t/don’t give a shit if anyone thought/thinks their characters or plots were anemic. Not only did/do they know that’s probably the popular opinion, that’s not the their personal goal with the work, beyond selling it to the highest bidder that could give them the widest audience.

Clear things up any?

Comment by RadiantAbyss - March 26, 2012 2:51 pm


  1. No, you have obscured things more than clarified them.

I don’t agree that “ADVENTURE for it’s own sake” is the best way to characterize Vance. A great many of his books are better described as mysteries, even if they are in a science fiction or fantasy setting. Solve a crime or conundrum, find something missing, hunt down and punish a malefactor — these are the persistent themes in (for example) the Cadwal Chronicles, the Lyonesse series, the Demon Princes series, the Alastor series, the Durdane Series, Night Lamp, The Last Castle, The Languages of Pao, among others (not to mention in short stories like The Moon Moth and Chateau D’If). It is no coincidence that Vance wrote a dozen or so crime/thriller novels in addition to his fantasy / SF works!

In Vance’s novels, the excitement and physical danger is not the central theme as in Conan-esque “adventure” novels; often, the protagonists seek to avoid excitement and physical danger! The central theme is solving a problem, more often than not through the use of intelligence, logic, and competent action.

Needless to say, none of Vance’s books have an “anemic” plot, and if that is the characteristic of “adventure” novels, then Vance is certainly not an adventure novelist.

Comment by Lugo - March 26, 2012 4:04 pm


  1. Howard’s plots are only ‘anemic’ compared to the bloated monstrosities on the market today. Howard was able to put together a coherent, satisfying, and conclusive plot in just a few pages. Some living fantasy writers (popular ones) can’t accomplish the same in a few books.

Comment by Tyr - March 26, 2012 6:19 pm


  1. Thank you, sirs, for the sharp look at where S&S has been, where it went and where it’s going. Fascinating look at the field from someone on the 70′s frontlines.

Comment by the wasp - March 27, 2012 1:00 pm


  1. Lugo -

Vance wrote adventure fiction, if we can say that such a type of fiction exists and Vance wrote anything classifiable.

Dude has series HE titled; Planet of Adventure.

Vance had said about the Demon Princes series that he didn’t really care to explore the motive of revenge, but to use revenge as an excuse to explore the stars. ADVENTURE!

Admittedly Vance will tack something onto the surface of his adventure fiction so that folks think there is some ‘purpose.’

There really isn’t often with Vance, other than a single pointed direction of energy towards new experience. Adventure?

Howard was often less than this polite, but there again this single pointed direction of energy to NEW experience, is underneath most of both writers works.

Comment by RadiantAbyss - March 27, 2012 1:23 pm


  1. Tyr -

I hope you don’t believe I think that Howards’ plots are ‘anemic’ myself.

I quite like Howards’ sparse, focused, need-to-know, plotting.

Howards’ characterization is bar far the least understood aspect of his works.

Someone should do a series of blogs on how REH maybe doesn’t bite that hard in the character dept.

Oh well…

Comment by RadiantAbyss - March 27, 2012 2:21 pm


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