Thursday, 4 February 2010

I have finally started to read ... The Complete Chronicles of Conan

I bought this book last month, and have finally got round to starting to read it.

So far I have read the first chapter of this anthology. It was written in 1936 and is entitled THE HYBORIAN AGE. This is a fictional history of Hyboria and begins with the following statement:
'Nothing in this article is to be considered as an attempt to advance any theory in opposition to accepted history. It is simply a fictional background for a series of fiction-stories. When I began writing the Conan stories a few years ago, I prepared this 'history' of his age and the people of that age, in order to lend him and his sagas a greater aspect of realness. And I found that by adhering to the 'facts' and spirit of that history, in writing the stories, it was easier to visualize (and therefore to present) him as a real flesh-and-blood character rather than a ready-made product. In writing about him and his adventures in the various kingdoms of his Age, I never violated the 'facts' or spirit of the 'history' here set down, but have followed the lines of that history as closely as the writer of actual historical-fiction follows the lines of actual history. I have used this 'history' as a guide in all the stories in this series that I have written.'
Having read this I can see why the stories that Robert E Howard wrote about Conan and the Hyborian Age are still so well regarded today.

The endpapers have a map of Hyboria which is based on an original drawn by Robert E Howard, and I found constant reference to this map very helpful when reading the opening chapter.

The map of Hyboria from THE COMPLETE CHRONICLES OF CONAN by Robert E Howard (Gollancz [2006] ISBN 978 0 575 07766 9).

4 comments:

  1. Interesting. It almost makes me want to get a copy just for that chapter.

    It also speaks to those of us who have Imagi-Nations of our own. When I started mine a few years back, I did create a "backstory" for Saxe-Bearstein . . . but not for their traditional enemy (Stagonia). Maybe I should re-think that.


    -- Jeff

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  2. Cool map in the Conan book. Reminds me of the Tolkien maps of Middle Earth.

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  3. Fantasy Morschauser anyone? Conan the Barbarian with Arnie Schwarzenegger in is not a bad film to watch but dont bother with the second!

    Ogre

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  4. Dear all,

    I must admit that the map and the first chapter are - in my opinion - more than worth the money I paid for the book.

    The map is simple enough to be a good starting point for someone wanting to set up a campaign, and the back-story provides lots of information that is also useful.

    Fantasy Morschauser? Well, he did write a set of Ancients rules for a 1-inch grid so ... you never know!

    All the best,

    Bob

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