Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Authentic Howard, with answers

OK, here are the quotes again, with the identification and my comments in parentheses. 

#1. "Before them all came the giant form of Conan.  Arrows had ripped his white khalat, exposing the glittering black mail that clad his lion-thewed torso."  (This is De Camp and Carter, "Black Tears", P. 16 of ­Conan the Wanderer­.  I thought it was pretty good. The use of the word “khalat” is a giveaway. It’s classic De Camp and I don’t think Howard ever used this word.)

#2. "There was blood on the Cimmerian's mail, dried blood on the sword in his right hand; he loomed dim and gigantic in the shadowy light." (This is authentic REH, P. 51 of ­Red Nails­, the Berkley paperback edition.  Really good. The use of the semi-colon to tie two sentences together is a nice stylistic touch.)
#3. "Both Conan's knees bent to drop him straight down into a squat below the mighty cut.  He heard the wind-noise of the rushing blade, too close above his head."  (This is andy offutt, P. 42 of ­Conan the Mercenary­.  Workmanlike prose.  Nothing spectacular here.)

#4. "The Cimmerian strode forward through the dull light and dust of the battlefield.  His sword was red, his knuckles white from the harsh grip of his hand on the hilt."  (This is my contribution, from ­“Conan: Let's Rip Their Heads off and Feed Them to the Worms­,” an unpublished manuscript that consists only of the two lines quoted above.

#5. "Conan pivoted on his buttocks, his foot rising to meet a hurtling nomad in the stomach.  With a gagging gasp the man stopped dead, black eyes goggling as he bent double."  (This is Robert Jordan, ­Conan the Unconquered­.  It doesn't get much worse than this.  I mean, gagging, gasp, and goggling in the same sentence.  I've got to start using more "G" words in my own writing.  To be fair, though, this was one of his earlier books. And I read several Conan books by him. The stories were not that bad. I never tried the Wheel of Time series.)


Brian Miller said...

ha. well its got to make you feel good that several picked your own you just need to add a few more lines to that

Ty said...

Well, I only missed one, and in that one I compared you to KEW, so you've got to be doing something right. :-)

Jason E. Thummel said...

A so-so showing on my account. I could've done worse, I suppose. And, like Ty, I guessed Wagner for your own effort, so a 'Well done' to you, sir.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey, number two - I got it right! Pays to be a rebel.

Charles Gramlich said...

Brian, does make me want to continue it. :)

Ty, I'll accept that. Good work. On all fronts. :)

Jason, thanks, man.

Alex, excellent.

Cloudia said...

The humans do like their SF!

ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= <3

nephite blood spartan heart said...

I've known fantasy readers who wouldn't read Howard because they had already read Jordan's Conan and I was like "No, you don't understand - pick up the real thing!"

Lisa said...

I really liked your reviews especially number 5

BernardL said...

Very good, my friend.

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, well, your use of the term SF tells us that this kind of fantasy ain't your cup of tea. I know a lot of folks who don't read it for sure. I've been a fan myself for a long time.

David, egads, that's just....horrible.

Lisa, thankee.

Bernard, thanks, man. I'm reading Cold Blooded II. Didn't see it on goodreads. I'll check again.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, quotes 2 and 4 sound similar which, I think, shows your perfect reading of REH's Conan. Do you plan to develop those two lines further?

Riot Kitty said...

I've heard it doesn't get much worse than The Wheel of Time, so you're in good company!

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, I originally wrote those lines many, many years ago and completely forgot about them until recently. I doubt I'll ever do a straight Conan pastiche. No market for it really.

Riot Kitty, trying to get involved in a long series like that just isn't my cup of tea anyway.

David Cranmer said...

I need to read some Conan. My knowledge is very limited compared to the Solomon Kane adventures.

Charles Gramlich said...

Two really great Conan stories are Red Nails, and Beyond the Black River