Thursday, September 17, 2020

Pick Up A Pulp [77]: CONAN by Robert E. Howard

This collection of short stories is the perfect place to start for readers new to Conan. Not only does the book provide bite sized morals of the violent sword and sorcery the long running fantastical protagonist is renowned for, but it also introduces all the key elements outside of the core themes prominent in the larger forms of fiction; monsters, magicians, thievery, the undead, friendship, deceit, and battles a-plenty. 

I must admit that I've not read many Conan stories so my praise for this short story collection can be taken with a grain of salt. That said, this book just worked for me; be it Conan taking on a job as a thief and winding up battling a serpent or taking down a giant slug which had destroyed a  castle and its surroundings, to rescuing a damsel in distress near naked and bloodied on a battlefield, each story was rich in Hyborian lore and cleverly intertwined into the broader continuity. 

Another thing that appealed to me in these stories was the references to other adventures/places/characters, notably the Sword of Skelos which coincidentally, is the only Conan novel I've read. 

I couldn't draw myself away from these stories until I'd finished the book, enjoying each of them equally. It's rare that I rate a collection so highly but CONAN was surprisingly consistent throughout. Highly recommend. 

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