The SFFaudio Podcast #611 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Jewels of Gwahlur by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #611 – Jewels of Gwahlur by Robert E. Howard; read by Phil Chenevert

This unabridged reading of the story (2 hours 5 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Will Emmons, Trish E. Matson, and Alex.

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, March 1935, The Servants Of Bit Yakin, The Teeth Of Gwahlur, Farnsworth Wright, the giveaway ending, Conan actually says that, a monster vs. some jewels, an awesome story, a really cool political intrigue story, realpolitik, what country wants to invade what country for what resources, Russia to invade Afghanistan, Americans invade, they want the minerals, a police that believes in the bullshit, we’re going in as liberators!, Conan’s attitude, inhuman ape-ghouls, what an idiot, not a lot of swordfights, any actual magic?, the preserved body, a lich, the ghoul men, C.H.U.D.S, Lovecraftian ghouls, very preserved lives, what did Bit-Yakin even wanna do in there?, food delivery, a shitty life, implied backstory, broad strokes, that scroll, undercuts the interpretation of the vast public, he knows his shit, Conan’s grasp of languages, Bit-Yakin is self-obsessed, the only mummy on the entire granite curtain, the geology of it, Star Hunter by Andre Norton, comic book adaptations, climbing the cliff, a little nichey cave, slightly less sheer, a secret entrance, he’s a hill climber, he just happened to find the only mummy on this 20 km, Jesse’s Monkey’s Paw theory, W.W. Jacobs, a free meal, an elaborate show, mangled in a factory accident, a great con from idea, a whole sea-chest full of monkey’s paws, a reality based story, black magic is real, the way you focus the story tells you what the reality is, the Stygian dude, Thutmekri, there’s mummies at the top of every part of the palisade, this is a con-game story, at the end, Muriella, the Punts they have a thing for an ivory goddess too, Conan needs to be given a house full of gold, the Conquistadors, H. Rider Haggard’s She, a con on us as well, they’re all playing the same game, next village over, the Seven Cities Of Gold, what Robert E. Howard has done here, the icky international, a grifter whose name is Conan, the richest man on the planet or hang out with a sexy girl for a while, I can make use of you, that’s all its for, its the getting not the having for Conan, 40 pairs of red silk breeks, the P. Craig Russell, the fur diaper, iconic, you know who you’re looking at, no heirloomed possessions, just Conan and his black mane and his pantherish thews, his sandeled feet, we get it he’s a panther, tigers, big cats, Kull’s the one with the scar on his eye, Solomon Kane has a hat, Will’s first Conan story, how truly bleak a person Conan is, addicted to risk-taking, the only way he could feel, everything in it, westerns, bleak man comes to town stories, fascinated with the hand of H. Rider Haggard in this story, Ayesha done realistic (its a scam), the ending, the exact same scam in the next country over, pre-ice age Hyborian Africa, racial mythology, Zimbabwe, Shemitish archers, they’re just trying to figure things out (they’re completely wrong), John Buchan’s The Grove Of Ashtaroth, beehive huts, the Cromcast, a white kingdom inside of an African nation, a whole cool thesis, trying to prove to H.P. Lovecraft, its always collapse, civilization is a passing fad, collapse is the real thing, always arguing with Lovecraft, The Shadow Out Of Time, At The Mountains Of Madness, ancient civilizations on Earth, the leftovers, the pyramids, Nubia, pyramidal leftovers, their culture wasn’t a culture of pyramids that’s the only thing left, a long time ago they were really into skulls, a guy who knew how to weave things, collapsed civilizations everywhere, at the bottom of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the mounds of Moundsville, the Mound Builders, Howard’s not wrong (really), Howard’s obsessed by it, layer upon layer, this great Dungeons & Dragons style module, a great scenario to run characters through, a great VR, a great computer game, The Pygmalion’s Spectacles scenario you’d like to do, scaling forbidding crags, if things had worked out slightly differently…, still a threat, issue 25 of Savage Sword 1977, Conan Saga reprint, a very solid adaptation, expressive faces, camera angles, Conan’s sort of the least interesting figure in it, that splash page showing the wall and the temple, the terrific use of the actual Howard prose, colour to a black and white image, the 2006 P. Craig Russell adaptation, the caldera of a volcano, continent sized caldera, Devil’s Tower, a volcanic plug, could something like this exist?, he made it so awesome, the palace of the king, now its all jungle everywhere, green sward, pleasure pavilions, Zhargeba, take some of the teeth, Dagon and Derketta, Palishtim, layers and layers of strata, servants never even given a name, bound magically perhaps against their will, literally happens in this story, #LegCling, that’s the real thing, her costume is magical, Yaleah, you’re a liar, all the oracles are liars, the same costume, a room of sacred vestments, she’s fine, her clothes rot away, her jeweled breastplate, her silk short skirt, run to the closet, doing some work, an instinct, robots left to run a bit too long, what the priests are doing, an ancient system, reliable information from the oracle, what’s the modern version of that?, should we invade Iraq?, what’s the Oracle think?, only the wooden walls will hold?, a great kingdom will fall, Themistocles, the Persians are coming, we’re know for our ships, yo, some horrible political decision, let’s have a task force, white paper, push it off of the schedule, half measure or wholesale, a delaying tactic, hold a referendum, quit the British Empire, some special day for it, Upper and Lower Canada rebellions, Lord Durham’s report, holy shit you guys are totally corrupt, actual autonomy, democracy, everybody in the family of the governor gets to run things, Conan and Howard are mostly right, an actual politician who believes in the system, what gets you killed, by believing in these gods you’re gonna get scammed, have your mineral resources stolen from you, organized religion, Cimmeria, Crom never shows his face, Crom never answers prayers, its hard to remember, in a rural community there’s a ton of pressure to think about god, its not just me, Queen Of The Black Coast, Belit’s will, a cool takeaway, Howard is intellectually a heavyweight, how little attention the player character pays to the world building, I have all this backstory, he’s a hack and slash character, The Slithering Shadow, Conan’s not a fan of the railroad, return to the backstory, the ape fantasies here, ape people, half-men, Mangani, super-gorillas all over the place, Atlanteans of Opar, an ape-man aspect, Conan doesn’t care about ape-men, sorta apey, The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs, a Frankenstein-style doctor’s creations, a comic book adaptation, A Man Without A Soul, The Island Of Dr Moreau, pirates, the turn, dude, nobody has a soul, the prose, the opening paragraphs, a much better writer than Burroughs, away and away, the ocean of fronds and leaves, its full of that, Clark Ashton Smith, the color of Conan’s pants, different beats, plenty, that broad lofty hall, a fortune in itself, a series of tweets, every sentence is gorgeous, the part Lovecraft would have loved, the twin arches over the subterranean river, its an Indiana Jones story, the Sankara Stones, The Temple Of Doom, the difference between Indiana Jones and Conan, Conan is Belloc but more competent, she was a Nazi, greed doomed her, a pretty good movie, a steep cliff, a hard climb to save it, there’s a sequel to this, L. Sprague de Camp, The Ivory Goddess, Savage Sword would fill in the gaps, mining little bits, Roy Thomas, much of his career is riding on the coat tails Howard laid down, a Howard Lin Carter joint, the general public, the old used bookstore that doesn’t exist on its own, the dipshit (Fritz Leiber), repetitious and childish a self-vitiating brew of pseudoscience stage illusions, Francis X. Grodon, playing the Great Game better than them, The Hawk Of The Hills, living in a small town, that letter to Farnsworth Wright, burdened down with a bad healthcare system, an only child, his favourite stories were the historical ones, Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser, some random boxing story is good, the Conan that’s presented here, a thoughtful dude, rough and tumble, the fantastic he wrote about is very grounded, The Efficiency Expert by Edgar Rice Burroughs, two guys punched each other a lot, Fantastic, May 1968, Will’s assessment: about as good as what Fritz Leiber would writer but better than something C.L. Moore would write, ranking the Conan stories, the middle, the backstory, The Vale Of Lost Women, parked his horse, this story is in real-time almost, if the lions havent eaten him, what are you crying about now, slim shoulders, a Corinthian accent, a valley girl accent, I immediately regret that decision, a lot of philosophy in Conan, Diogenes, Alexander the Great comes to town, get out of my light, I was just enjoying my mug, 2020 is wrecked, if you have a favourite cup, cynicism, skepticism, if you have a favorite and its broken now its sad, I had a cup and then I saw a boy drinking cupping, a tiny house down by a river, a flatline life, John Waterhouse painting, he’s got his scroll, a pile of onions for lunch, collecting to many motorcycles, a parallax on your own life, light enough to see, the worst Conan stories, Red Nails, a furious effort, exotic maniacs and hop-heads, opium dens, snaking through endless corridors, butcher shop carnage and the like, I don’t like Conan stories, The People Of The Black Circles, “All the obscenity and salacious infamy spawned in the muck of the abysmal pits of Life seemed to drown her in seas of cosmic filth.”, all good things, there’s a great scene, tearing a dude like he’s a chicken, cannibalism, Howard slaughtered a chicken, 1 Shadows, 2 Gwahlur, 3 Vale, a solid story, Beyond The Black River, Tower Of The Elephant, what he does there kinda fails, too much magic, a reskin, suiting it to his magazine, bonus for the cover, LibriVox, The Crushing Hands Of Death, Tiger Cat by David H. Keller, apparently people want whipping, whipping scenes, Frank Frazetta’s surefire way of getting on the cover, a documentary about Frank Frazetta, Painting With Fire, Frazetta paints himself (and his wife), Virgil Finlay and Margaret Brundage, the Dark Horse adaptation, he looked young, some of the architecture is good, the jungle valley, @FrazettaGirls, the series sold 10 million copies, the tan looking priests, shying away from the race angle, in 1977 they were aware of different races, Ayesha’s supposed to be an Arab, she should have black hair, a blonde in the movies, a thing in Hollywood, dark foamy hair, proto-greeks, how you describe a Venus, born of the foam of Zeus’ sex with the sea, Chronos, his step-dad, flashbacks, the court intrigue, more faithful to the flow of the story, the way it starts, Howard is a much better plotter than most people, why he didn’t put these scenes them in the story, that narrative technique, a mystery he wants us to be distracted from, a very good mystery writer technique, you can see it in retrospect, incredibly valuable techniques, Lovecraft read a tonne, Howard’s instinct, Spear And Fang, Argosy and Adventure, Harold Lamb, any LibriVox of Harold Lamb?, ask the experts, what kind of swords did they use in 6th century Uzbekistan?, inter-library loans, Howard Andrew Jones, the PDF Page, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Virgil Finlay, The Black Diamonds by Clark Ashton Smith, Arabian Knights set in 1650 Baghdad, a boy’s adventure, literal Dungeons & Dragons style playthrough, an abandoned castle, Zoroastrian?, the Temple of the Fire Worshippers, hitting the Haggard hard, a stern lecture about what he’s going to tell him later, pretending to be black, Scheherazade, are they diamonds?, the briefcase with the glowing object in Pulp Fiction, Orientalism, Shanghai and Afghanistan, Mountain Man by Robert E. Howard.

Jewels Of Gwahlur by Robert E. Howard - WEIRD TALES

Savage Sword Of Conan, number 25

Jewels Of Gwahlur - illustration by P. Craig Russell

Two Dominoes - Jewels Of Gwahlur

illustration by Sanjulian (Manuel Perez Clemente) Jewels Of Gwahlur

Oliver Cuthbertson - Map Of Hyboria for JEWELS OF GHWALUR

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The SFFaudio Podcast #555 – READALONG: Shadows In The Moonlight by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #555 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Terence Blake, Mark Finn, Alex talk about Shadows In The Moonlight aka Iron Shadows In The Moon by Robert E. Howard

Talked about on today’s show:
trademark, registered, copyright, Vale Of Lost Women, rattle Mark’s cage, red caped monkey, more construction, more constructed, barbarism vs. civilization, propagandizing this idea, the middling Conan, formula, Rogues In The House, the beginning of the greatest hits album, if he were Aerosmith this would be “Walk This Way”, touchstones, essential elements, the damsel in distress, bloody trail of vengeance, piracy, savage ape, supernatural menace, what do you want from a Conan story, a representative story, there’s wizardry, dream magic, this is what Conan is all about, this is what Conan does, if there was a snake, squirmed an burrowed like a snake, the comics, it starts similarly to Red Nails, the end of the beginning, fruit, giant monster, alone in the wilderness, why did you run out of this jade palace, the Garden of Eden, Queen Of The Black Coast, monkey monsters, a forbidden place, working through, this is what manly men act like, this is what a man is, where Olivia looks at the two jungle creatures, how they’re alike, Shah Amurath, barbarian in response, a Cimmerian vs. the Cimmerian, a response to what he and Lovecraft were arguing over, Howard thought Lovecraft was smarter than him, test those theories, page 30, was there a serpent in..?, PulpCovers doesn’t want to be PC, without judgement but with a pattern, unashamed of being a manly man, pirate costumes, carrying a gun around, chivalrous towards women, Lovecraft is a gentle-man (a gentlemen), what a man is, Terence territory, a pre-philosophy for manhood, the way men love Conan, doing ablutions, iron thews, a male and female gaze, ewww gross, powerful, Tweets Of High Adventure, tweet length prose, every sentence has the language, art, unashamed, its all pure, Vale Of Lost Women is “problematic”, a distilled essence, no casual Conan readers, in for penny in for a pound, this masculinity, did he have a choice in Texas in the 1920s?, acceptable work for a man, vocational training, taking a day job, begging letter, worst fucking human being ever, the boxing stories, bareknuckle boxing, intellectual conversation, never about particulars, newspaper stories to back up their thought processes, news clipping, the only way to run a city, the story in the boat, in the prose, we don’t sell our children, stories of Comanche, a warts and all presentation, ethnic cleansing, riding with the Cherokee, a mindset, an ideal, there are no rules right now, Gertrude Hemken loved Conan, studying philosophy, Nietzsche, John Milius and Oliver Stone, Conan The Barbarian (1982), a through line, sitting in the agora listening to the philosophers, life is an illusion then I’m an illusion too, Solomon Kane is the religious philosopher, scenes of melancholy, a debate on masculinity, a constructed virtue, the body or the mind, the idea of the wild and nature, Lovecraft’s wild, you’ve got the wild inside you, human beings , women are shapely, every muscle is supple, pantherish, his scabbard purrs, it comes from silk, a relationship between what shah Amurath vs. the ape vs. Conan, toxic masculinity, I’m a barbarian buy I’m not a monster, a king of Akif, Turanians vs. Hyrkanians, Hyrkanians are a race and Turanians are a nationality, the Persian Gulf vs. the Caspian Sea vs. the Black Sea, maps of Hyboria, Vedyha is India, Khitai is China, the islands of Mu, filling in the historical record, a starting place, walk these things back into the Hyborian age, analogs, she’s a devi not a rani, he needs a Mediterranean, adventure locations, a pirate this week, the Kozaki are the Cossacks, the Mongols, Red Sonja vs Red Sonya, her sister’s a real person, her father’s a real person, Haws Of Outremer by Robert E. Howard, Mark wrote the afterword, the Punisher in armor, the Cormac Fitzgeoffrey stories, the same emotional space, riding out on the steppes, Oriental and Middle Eastern adventures, Flesh + Blood (1985), Rutger Hauer and Jenifer Jason Leigh, the Dark Horse Comics adaptation, the art, Olivia doing the narration doesn’t make sense, 2 and half days, the confrontation in the reeds is one of Howard’s best scenes, you really hate that guy, when he’s getting chopped to bits, Olivia has two dreams, when Conan’s rowing and the other in the ruined temple, a prologue, what her dream is, the negroes who aren’t negroes, not-kushites, black and made of iron, what does it mean?, expressing their otherworldliness, black statutes but not statues of black people, an artificially baroque language, some sort of race thing, the golden youth, possibly raped, the sky reflected in the water, both a sea and a lake, one third the salinity of the rest of the oceans, flying through the sky, she’s describing it to Conan, she’s supposed to be telling Conan’s story, we shouldn’t be inside her head and not past tense, he can’t hold down a job, pillage a few towns over, holding out for a management position, wear sandals to tread the jeweled thrones, the blue of the sea, mirrors of stars, a phantasmal oarsmen, a quiet slumber, his iron thews, that female gaze, shying away from Robert E. Howard, annoyed by the mire, unmanned by bugs, how far a man can throw a stone, showing off his thews, testing his theory, she’s traumatized, a princess laid low to the status of a slave, a couple (at the end), not telling fairy stories, men and women equally tough in a fight, Ronda Rousey, women are subject to male violence, a romance (an adventure) out of horrible circumstance, we’re not used to today, Yemen right now, 70-80 year old text, a historical basis for women adventurers, easy to gravitate to, Joan of Arc, the women pirates, women doing what men do, he’s not pulling this stuff out of his butt, Howard’s historical stories, Conan was a commercial endeavor, pulp era titillation, why Margaret Brundage did those covers, Seabury Quinn, when he comes back, the women have changed positions, evil queens, swordswomen, a shift in agency, in the Dark Horse adaptation, in the actual story it’s all her, saving him in order to save himself, Valeria is competition for Conan, Red Sonja’s character is mostly that, equally wily, Olivia is just a regular person, crawling into that den of pirates, how tortured they have been, the male version of Olivia, Conan knows everybody, Sergius, a boss fight, the TV tropes for this story, three point landing, divine right of kings, Conan the rules lawyer, Tim Truman’s Dark Horse comics adaptation, a defense of the switch to Olivia’s POV, the thing that Conan did, the guy in the story that everybody’s heard about, getting into it, Conan’s perspective, the disembowelment, seeing that same scene again from that POV, the Roy Thomas adaptation is not to add any words, Roy Thomas is amazing when he captures Howard’s prose, the new Marvel travesty (Conan The Barbarian and Savage Sword Of Conan) “ass” is used twice in July 2019 issue, cur, dog, slut, special language, Island of the Temple Statues, why that change, it changes the dynamic, hard not cruel, quartering, “quarter? I’ll give you quarter!”, Olivia’s really active, this formula, beautiful babe in distress, check off those boxes, you can take my stories or leave them, playing it up, why the text feels so weird, three set pieces, don’t forget the giant ape, strung like beads on a string, Conan on a weekend, they should hire the person who runs Conan The Salaryman, how it resonates with Paul, flipping your desk, Thor: The Dark World (2013), adjectives attitude and viewpoint on the world, Frank Miller’s Sin City, Conan in a noir story, just a crazy guy (with a code), code vs. philosophy, a personal moral compass, allowing for an exception, Conan is his own arbiter, there’s always an angle to be played, we can take Conan at his word but nobody else can, Olivia over his shoulder and he’s running away, high heels vs. mountain cat, the only thing that can unman me is mosquitoes, a supple ass, those outside, too nice a guy, Gertrude Barrows Bennett, faces and asses?, girls like prepping, men like to be thought of as competent, how to be, how to be a man, the right attitude, its more like…, why does Howard never take us to Cimmeria?, the whole point is to see a man out of his element and see how he should act, those roving feet, something powerful about that idea, how to be a man, “what’s real, man?”, it’s good to have skills, the prose is gorgeous, the unnamed monkey, we need to talk about the parrot, bad biology, if this is near the tropics, New World parrots are colourful, a thousand year old parrot, Jesse wasted his time, the parrot as the harbinger, the chorus, we got the idea, if Howard had seen a parrot, Da Vinci’s Demons, the communist memes, some Nazi left over from WWII is giving a speech, justifications for tweets, macaw, why he put it in this fantasy world, research is hard, fantasy world, letters to Harold Lamb in ADVENTURE, it’s so good, a fruit they’ve never seen before, there’s a dinosaur in it, getting snakes wrong, a failure of the work, a fringe moment, the new Age Of Conan Belit comic is shit, a ship at full sail in a storm hidden in a harbour with gunports, Baggywrinkles by Lucy Bellwood, a sailor’s story should be written and drawn by people familiar with ships, Lovecraft defends him as a poet, his poetry is beautiful, 700 poems!, the complete poetry of Robert E. Howard, Cimmeria, some great lesbian stuff, the alliteration and rhythm, the lull of the rowing, he was fantastic at it, how he did it, looking at meters and couplets, Howard intuited, his prose has that richness, scenes of horrible violence, kings dying from poison, beauty in the savagery, why nobody has been able to write a convincing Conan story, the vocabulary and the rhythm, Howard was able to write Lovecraft stories, a different disposition, The Black Stone, The Challenge From Beyond, Queen Of The Black Coast, the language is the main character, the checkpoints could be seen as mechanical, a complex story, an inspiration to early Dungeons & Dragons, mixing and matching, skill checks, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, not enough angry monkeys, Giant Ape, kobolds, why does he like monkeys so much, is Howard wrestling with Darwin, Thak, Moon Of Zimbabwe, he doesn’t like to come out of the forest, gorillas, base emotions, Howard’s stance on mankind, cycles of history, that backslide into savagery and barbarism, Thak wants to be a man, a ladder you can climb, Gulka the Gorilla Slayer, gorilla as a stand in for the lecherous intentions of people of colour, to refute Darwin and prop up racism, that wonderful willful disconnect to justify a bad belief system, using the stories of the bible and the trappings as a weight of authenticity, The Murders In The Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe, from the monkey’s POV, the sailor who brought him to France, dragon, flying monkeys in Queen Of The Black Coast, a thing in culture at the time, King Kong, The Uncharted Isle by Clark Ashton Smith, the Hippocampus Press documentary: Clark Ashton Smith: Emperor Of Dreams, Dagon, a per-Atlantean civilization, babies sacrificed to a gorilla god, an Atlantean dream story, monkeys are in the air man, The Wizard Of Oz, a phenomenon, everybody got gorillas on the brain, gorilla suits, a course correction after the 1970s, Planet Of The Apes, Sailor Steve Costigan stories, an animal reflection, using natural terms, why Solomon Kane is always a wolf, El Borak is fast and deadly, hawk noses, vulpine eyes, connecting to a larger natural world, sacrificing something superior to them, the psychological basis for bullfighting, suppleness vs. strength, he wins with dexterity as much with strength, he’s upped his wisdom, his constitution, he can lie in a snowbank, the Tibetan monks, the yoga of inner heat, pro-nature, Conan is a part of nature, Lovecraft as a nature as a scary other, nature with gambrel roofs nearby, how much was Howard out in boats, a rural existence, hiking and camping, New Mexico, Carlsbad Caverns, Galveston, Texas, how he writes about stuff, the Walden variety of gentlemen on holiday, longhand letters, the things some writers will do not to finish a story, going back to it vs. being out of it, getting past miscegenation, deep ones, Cthulhu, shapeless formless, slithering shadow, in Howard’s world, the last of their kind, the end of the age of megafauna and megaflora, he’s still working on his monkey ideas, fringe science, discredited anthropological stuff, one of the greatest magazines ever printed, a whole series about the Kozaki, a fight with Yildiz, making whole connections by people who can capture the voice, The Scarlet Citadel, this guy’s lived a life, I’m gonna git Conan, we can fill in that stuff for ourselves, the best thing about Conan, he’s the least asshole asshole in the room, why he’s in a bad mood, I already told him I wasn’t going to do it, Black Gate blog, Hither Came Conan, The God In The Bowl, the one with the snake god, barbarism vs. civilization, the reason why you have them in so many of the stories, Farnsworth Wright, in the first 11 Conan stories, issue 21 of the Dark Horse series, the reason Olivia was sold, the Queen of Ophir, undercutting the idea, ABlaze‘s Conan series, Jesse will fight that monkey god, Terence doesn’t hang out in the French comic book stores, more spare more simple, a feminist ending, I want to sail the seas with you, I will bring you with me, Conan, “I will make you the king of this inland sea, Conan”, it ends with the parrot, scorch king Yildiz’ pantaloons, John Bolton anti-Iranian propaganda, People Of The Black Circle, the Persians as the bad guys in western history, Howard’s sympathies, “Oriental Adventures”, the El Borak stories, throwing the Brit under the bus, every man has the capacity to be a shithead, shithead or victim, the compass needle, the course correction, melded with a dark god from an ancient tomb, Conan as the antidote for too much corruption, where the politics comes in, Conan The Cimmerian, Tomas Giorello, you gotten soften, unexpectedly cheerful, if this was happening in the 1990s, the Del Rey Conans, disengage the De Camp and Lin Carter, pop-culture Conan fighting pop culture Wolverine, Savage Avengers, the onramp, CHiPs , you’re sullying the legacy, deeply understanding and respecting the prose, how the fuck can they get away with this?, an editorial failure, she has the voice in her head, that it’s funny, we need thews and no ass, the recipe, Red Sonja with Roy Thomas and Esteban Maroto, it will get cancelled, By Crom, Shel Kahn’s Conan Is My Spirit Animal, attributed to Genghis Kahn, what is best in life, coffee, women lamenting, pulp magazine philosopher, Philip K. Dick as a paperback philosophy, what these weird guys spread across the United States, everybody should be lucky enough to have access.

Boris Vallejo cover for Iron Shadows In The Moon

Mark Schultz illustration for Iron Shadows In The Moon by Robert E. Howard

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #554 – AUDIOBOOK: Shadows In The Moonlight by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #554 – Featuring a complete and unabridged reading of Shadows In The Moonlight by Robert E. Howard

First published in Weird Tales, April 1934

It comes to us courtesy of Protecting Project Pulp and is read by Nick Camm.

Hugh Rankin illustration of Shadows In The Moonlight by Robert E. Howard

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #456 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Vale Of Lost Women by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

Robert E. Howard's The Vale Of Lost Women
The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #456 – The Vale Of Lost Women by Robert E. Howard, read by Todd McLaren (courtesy of Tantor Media’s The Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (45 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Matthew Sanborn Smith, and Mark Finn.

Talked about on today’s show:
Magazine Of Horror, Spring 1967, the worst Conan story?, his Conan career nadir, 300+ stories, 23 Conan stories, not 1/10th of his total output, 12 years, really interesting, racially objectionable material, worth talking about, reading it slowly, a good close-up look at the disgusting ideas, is it more sexist than it is racist?, so much sexism, point of a sword, Hyborian sexism, egregious descriptions, the comic book adaptation, three paragraphs vs three pages, an interminable extermination, a “slaughter”, letters to August Derleth, a historical incident in Texas, the abduction of Cynthia Parker, an epic 8 page recounting, The Searchers (1956), Breckenridge Elkins, The Horror From The Mound, the Kushites are Comanches with the serial numbers filed off, he Conans-it-up, ethnic cleansing, John Wayne, historical antecedents, cranking history backward 14,000 years, Vendhya (India), [insert colour of skin] dog, was this story meant to be seen, was it rejected by Farnsworth Wright?, Howard’s trunk, Gnome Press, L. Sprague de Camp, he Conan-ed them, The Frost Giant’s Daughter, Argosy, Red Nails, money owed, the Zenith of the Conan stories, favourite versus best?, a claustrophobic feeling, Queen Of The Black Coast, Beyond The Black River, the guy that everybody’s heard of, rape allegations, Conan’s moral code, holding the guy’s head, disingenuous, gorgeous slaughter, hyperbolic-kinetic prose, even when he’s bad he’s pretty damned good, some exciting prose, Ophir’s analogue, Jeffrey Shanks, he just stole that, it sounds cool, she’s white he’s white and they’re in Africa, the valley women are not black they’re brown-skinned, beautiful and horrible, the Lovecraftian god, Rogues In The House, a monkey who puts on a cloak and becomes a man, when Edgar Allan Poe did it, monkey battle!, Thak (a demi-human ape), Worms Of The Earth, bad writers describe characters looking at themselves in the mirror, from Livia’s eyes, she’s the racist as much as Conan (if not more), Livia’s looking for agency, Livia plays up the racist angle, strikes a bargain, what the heck is going on in The Vale Of Lost Women?, turned into white flowers, Apollo and Daphne, “ravishers”, a suicide situation, lilies rather than lotuses, a dream-like state, fleeing rapists, no escape, a man fighting a god, some sort of a Nietzschean, many marriages, bridal raiding parties, did Matt ravish his wife, symbolic ravishing!, a beautiful token ceremony, that’s what you get when you read 1930s pulp magazines, overstating the fantasy element, Conan The Barbarian #104, a deus ex machina, turned into a laurel tree, a Shakespearean scholar, another attempt to pitch to Farnsworth Wright, an extra $25, Seabury Quinn’s low-grade bondage vs. Howard’s high-grade bondage, the lesbian kiss, Sword Woman, men coming together, the only thing between Jesse and Batman is a big pile of money, X-Men, Watchmen, not just a bunch of white people hitting each other, santizing the really offensive stuff, Howard’s really interested in race, different culture, spending time with people with different cultural interests, living his life, Age Of Conan, it’s not wealth accumulation, its living life to the lees, positive and negative experiences, black characters, Marvel Comics, Mort and Saul, issues 60-100, three issues after Belit’s death scene, the brown women on the splash page look exactly like Belit, giant mirths and giant melancholies, flipping out like ninjas, thinking about things in their context (permissible over the age of 40), ebony skinned and wooly haired, racialism as short hand, The Scrolls Of Skelos, The Nemedian Chronicles, Hawks Over Outremer, Black Canaan, very romantic, barbarism, anthropology, the 1982 movie, holy shit! this is awesome!, Savage Sword Of Conan, bloodier violence and sexier sex, the movies and Dungeons & Dragons, Appendix N, Barry Windsor Smith, John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, Howard Pyle, beautiful city-scapes, divers hands, Roy Thomas, careful not to show the blood, that’s a dude’s head, showing a kind of real reality that makes you not want to join the army, Sgt. Rock, the comic text is incredibly faithful (and so are the images), fur underwear model, furry loincloth, he’s pulls off the furry loincloth, nude women and nude men, gossamer material clinging to heaving bosoms, if this was a writing podcast, this story is completely broken because it is two stories pasted together, a weird balance, Jesse’s looking at it as a balance between the male and female, an editors eyes, sword and sorcery randomness, even the horse is male, the “bed” of the valley, the velvet sward, going to sleep, The Man-Eaters of Zamboula, an amazing first draft, southwestern themes, 8 paragraphs of smiting and killing, The Hyena, “blacks” are “natives” in the Magazine Of Horror, “black sluts” vs. “native sluts”, “wench”, a doughy white guy from Texas, a powerful agent of change, keeping his own moral compass, throwing philosophy down, The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune is a Philip K. Dick story with King Kull, “women are as cheap as plantains in this land and their willingness or unwillingness matters as little”, “the human mind clings unconsciously to familiar values and ideas even amongs surroundings and conditions alien and unrelated to those environs to which such values and ideas are adapted”, pg 55 and 56, “She was stunned by the realization that nothing hinged upon her at all. She could not move men as pawns in a game. She herself was the helpless pawn.”, absurdity, “customs differ in various countries”, Conan is an iconoclast, part of what makes Conan so attractive, that would be uncivilized, “Truces in this land are made to be broken.”, “what would be blackest treachery in another land is wisdom here.”, Realpolitik, force is the only source of power, a way to manipulate people, “homestay”, the only power you have is what you can seize, the cute button ending, the ending of Red Nails, a super-feminist (in a certain sense), a “Red Wedding” situation, accelerating the pace, colour, he loves red and black more than white, crimson, limned, chiaroscuro, a poetic economy, drawing your own conclusions, “a flitting white ghost in a realm of black shadows and red flame”, Livia’s escape, “her toes sprang high”, Yakima Canutt, the Red Sonja movie, Jason Momoa, born on a battlefield, storytelling, Oliver Stone, “Fuck, that’s good writing!”, showing another Cimmerian is a big mistake, a gloomy place, from the darkness, a land of melancholia, The Tower Of The Elephant, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Sergio Leone, a walking “walking-the-earth trope”, it weaves its own spell, [Akira] Kurosawa motifs, Thulsa Doom, Conan The Adventurers, a sudden moral imperative, Conan The Usurper, the Del-Rey editions, the pastiche dilutes the amazingness, The Curse Of The Monolith by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, you can totally feel it, thoughtful discussion, defending Howard’s honour, a productive discussion, standing in the corner and taking notes, going in with low expectations, Mark’s challenge, The Black Stone, Worms Of The Earth, any of Howard’s humour work,

The Vale Of Lost Women

The Vale Of Lost Women

Roy Thomas - from Chronicles Of Conan Vol. 13

The Vale Of Lost Women - Conan and Livia

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #395 – READALONG: The Slithering Shadow by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #395 – Jesse and Wayne June talk about The Slithering Shadow (aka Xuthal Of The Dusk) by Robert E. Howard

Talked about on today’s show:
Wayne’s first exposure to Robert E. Howard, “repetitious and childish, a self-vitiating brew of pseudo-science”, stage illusions and , repetition, “Oh, Conan!, Robert would have wanted it that way, REH is having some fun with a genre he normally doesn’t play in, Red Nails, Conan is dismissive of the city’s population, degeneration, drug addled drug attics in dopey hazes, lasers, radium light bulbs, manufacturing food from the primal elements, Valeria vs harem slave Natala, devious, controlling, self-interested, a lot of depth behind the shallowness in this story, Conan is really grumpy from page one, gigantic mirth: she’s only human, curmudgeon Conan, poisoning the well, don’t grab my sword arm, slap on the ass, a grumpy sexist, Howard’s doing something really really funny, The Slithering Shadow is a gothic horror, silliness, women written like cartoon characters, not reminding you of your mortality, not about the uselessness of existence, clunky elements, a haunted castle, kicking and screaming, bad casting, trap doors, up to the hilt, sitting on another divan, sooo gothic horror novel, hidden passageways, trapdoors, convoluted coincidence, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Oval Portrait, very recently and hurriedly abandoned, still food on the table, candles that have just been blown out, one spot of blood, The Monk, a giant helmet, a giant dome at the center of the city, one giant palace, all the trappings of a haunted mansion, switching gears, describing Thog, jumping right into H.P. Lovecraft, men of action, biting the Lovecraftian horror, what Cimmerians are like, passive aggressive Conan, in all of Howards writings about Conan, a blood feud, a lack of reproduction, an H.G. Wells trick, why the drug element is so heavy, the golden wine (a healing potion), Howard’s doctor father was very familiar with heroin addiction, Fort McMurray, “morons”, barbarians vs. the civilized, Thalis’ experience, the Fred Van Lente adaptation for Dark Horse Comics, initiated into the cult of Derketa, not my first rodeo, a gang-bang, better to kill Natala, Thalis’ life story is a horror show hidden behind a few words, that’s the cover of Weird Tales, who is this story intended for?, racy, sex, before Natala knifed Thalis, I don’t like getting stabbed, taught to be hard and cruel, Thalis’ chance at revenge, a Stygian Queen, growing up with doped out morons, a gruesome comeuppance, Thog doesn’t just eat you he rapes you first, digested for a thousand years, tentacles, the face of Thog, a non-euclidean face, a 40 year Texas feud, Thog at the center bottom of the city, a big black amorphous mass, Thog is the mad lady in the attic, a stoic attitude towards destiny and fate, from the likes of Thog, Thog is the oil, the cause for the addiction and for the city, unseen until it gushes all over you, fundamentally Howard is not completely wrong about civilization, trigger warnings and sexism, the limitations on what a woman can be in Xuthal (get a real man), moral judgements, his own code of ethics, stealing a slave, Natala’s safety is bound up with his morality, a kind of a rescue, the rebel Prince Almuric, a great river flowing into the desert, dead with forty arrows, canteen full of water, a rich and decadent place, black lotus, cursed, the desert will be kinder, a rebel prince of Stygia, Thalis was like a Natala, she’s the heavy (other than Thog), whip up some anger, Thalis is a Natala without a Conan, this “civilized” society, one of the worst Conan stories by one of the best writers of pulp fiction is still a pretty good story, super-hero-ish, Howard was smart at marketing, Margaret Brundage, lesbian scenes on the cover, gratuitous nudity, temptation, Queen Of The Black Coast, Belit, a pirate queen, first mate (literally), Belit runs that story, a noir awesome ending, the coincidence, “I guess I could do a gothic – Conan won’t like this”, having fun with it, all those tropes, the comics adaptations, done in Stygian, when Conan talks in word balloons, a rough-hewn word balloon (a Cimmerian accent?), you don’t want to do Arnold, a pulpy breezy, showing the Xuthalians hooked up to IVs, smoking your black lotus, the den of an opium smoker, chasing the dragon, enough backstory to make it interesting, an opium inundated culture, yellow skinned, China in decline, the Hermit Kingdom, decadence collapsing, a yellow peril story, San Fransisco, Chinatown, Lovecraftian elements, The Hour Of The Dragon, start with a random story, outliers, Beyond The Black River, Queen Of The Black Coast, an epicness, forty issues of awesome adventure, the tie between pulp adventure and comics, comics are the legacy of the pulps, The Shadow, Doc Savage is a pulp superhero with a super-team, in the 1970s, Conan The Barbarian, the Roy Thomas adaptation from Savage Sword of Conan #20, 1977, essentially nudity, heads being lopped off, no blood and no death, Curtis Publications, kick-ass stories, amazing pulp adventure, a 60 page comic adaptation, “freely adapting”, Conan finds a lost valley – Iskander’s kingdom, crocodile men and bird men, walking zombies, all sorts of things need to have their heads lopped off, Marvel was the dark side vs. DC, sel-doubt and existential anxierty of the heros, John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, Ernie Chan, the amazing Filipino artists drawing busty ladies and big armed barbarians, Warren Comics, Heavy Metal, Richard Corben, so much richness in the non-superhero comics, Pepe Moreno, Rebel (1984), Mad Max meets Escape From New York with Nazis, a hot rod gang with a heart of gold, victory by blowing up the World Trade Center, power in visualizing, the “steely thews” of Conan, eldritch vs. thews, cat-like, jaguar, pantherish, the battle scenes really flowed, Howard highly influenced by Lovecraft, The Black Stone, an elegance of colour, colour in every particle of sand, the opposite of Lovecraft, with Lovecraft the horrible thing makes its appearance and you faint, Howard wades in on it, Lovecraft would never do that, one can’t battle gods and get away with a whole skin, psychic damage vs. physical damage, Howard is a complement to Lovecraft, physicality, fighting against the inevitability, there’s life there, bleak and grey vs. blood flying everywhere, Robert E. Howard was a lot lustier, “a superfluity of naughtiness”, tongue in cheek, “spicy”, Railroad Man’s Magazine, Air Stories, Zeppelin Stories, True Detective, Spicy Detective, Spicy Mystery, Spicy Adventure, Twilight is nothing new, sexist so sexist, racist so racist, women readers asking for more nudity and spicy, reading it with one hand, women liked and wrote for Weird Tales, Dorothy Quick, Mark Twain, Maude Ludington Cain, yeah it’s sexist, keep behind me girl, “Why is he calling her a girl?”, “Oh, he’s sexist.”, visualizing what is said, what if someone saw us?, there’s blood on the stones, Conan at his stupidest, a crimson mist descended over his eyes, don’t let the blind bull-headed grumpiness be a guide for what he’s like, there’s a great character there.

Weird Tales - The Slithering Shadow by Robert E. Howard

Weird Tales - The Slithering Shadow by Robert E. Howard

The Savage Sword Of Conan issue 20 - THE SLITHERING SHADOW

The Savage Sword Of Conan issue 20 - THE SLITHERING SHADOW

The Savage Sword Of Conan issue 20 - THE SLITHERING SHADOW

The Savage Sword Of Conan issue 20 - THE SLITHERING SHADOW

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conantheavengerissue14565

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The Slithering Shadow illustrated by Benito Gallego

The Slithering Shadow by Robert E. Howard

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #015 – The Mirrors Of Tuzun Thune by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #015

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Mirrors Of Tuzun Thune by Robert E. Howard.

The Mirrors Of Tuzun Thune was first published in Weird Tales, September 1929.

Here’s a link to the PDF of the story.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson