I've always been a big fan of the original Robert E. Howard/L.Sprague De Camp/Lin Carter CONAN books.
I've had books 2-12 for years and could never find the first one, titled simply, CONAN. Well, I found it today for $3.60 at a used bookstore and I'm pretty excited to read it finally. I was so happy after I read the introduction, that I felt I should post some of it.
Here Robert E. Howard describes where CONAN came from :)
"While I don't go so far as to believe that stories are inspired by actually existing spirits or powers (though I am rather opposed to flatly denying anything) I have sometimes wondered if it were possible that unrecognized forces of the past or present - or even the future - work through the thought and actions of living men. This occurred to me when I was writing the first stories of the Conan series especially. I know that for months I had been absolutely barren of ideas, completely unable to work up anything sellable. Then the man Conan seemed suddenly to grow up in my mind without much labor on my part and immediately a stream of stories flowed off my pen - or rather off my type-writer - almost without effort on my part.
I did not seem to be creating, but rather relating events that had occurred. Episode crowded on episode so fast that I could scarcely keep up with them. For weeks I did nothing but write of the adventures of Conan. The character took complete possession of my mind and crowded out everything else in the way of story-writing. When I deliberately tried to write something else, I couldn't do it. I do not attempt to explain this by esoteric or occult means, but the facts remain. I still write of Conan more powerfully and with more understanding than any of my other characters.
But the time will probably come when I suddenly find myself unable to write convincingly of him at all. This has happened in the past with nearly all my rather numerous characters; suddenly I find myself out of contact with the conception, as if the man himself had been standing at my shoulder directing my efforts, and had suddenly turned and gone away, leaving me to search for another character."
"It may sound fantastic to link the term realism with Conan; but as a matter of fact - his supernatural adventures aside - he is the most realistic character I have ever evolved. He is simply a combination of a number of men I have known, and I think that's why he seemed to step full-grown into my consciousness when I wrote the first yarn of the series. Some mechanism in my sub-consciousness took the dominant characteristics of various prize-fighters, gunmen, bootleggers, oil field bullies, gamblers, and honest workmen I had come in contact with, and combining them all, produced the amalgamation I call Conan the Cimmerian."
I can fully believe that Howard was somehow Channeling CONAN, as Robert E. Howard was somewhat of a maniac himself.
Everyone remembers the CONAN movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and while they are pretty much the awesomest movies ever....
The books are even more epic if that's even possible.
I used to read them while listening to the soundtrack to CONAN the Destroyer for added effect.
If you enjoy fantasy books at all, you should definitely consider reading the first CONAN stories. CONAN is the ultimate tough guy, drinking, gambling, whoring, taking over pirate ships, climbing walls smooth as glass, and cleaving people in two is just everyday life for him.
Here's a list of the original books. (In order)
Conan of Cimmeria *
Conan the Freebooter *
Conan the Adventurer *
Conan the Buccaneer
Conan the Warrior *
Conan the Usurper
Conan the Conqueror
Conan the Avenger*
Conan of Aquilonia
Conan of the Isles.
*In the chronological order section of the book I got today, these titles had a checkmark next to them in pencil :)
I'd stay away from anything not on this list at first, as these first books are all an actual chronological history of CONAN starting with him as a young lad and ending with him having conquered all of Hyboria and ruling over it as King, and an old man.
Any other books are likely to be "tales" of CONAN, and not canon.
You'll know the original's when you see them, as they all have amazing Frank Frazetta cover art.
The first one has a picture of CONAN fighting what appears to be some kind of ape on the cover hahaha.
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