The SFFaudio Podcast #599 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Hawks Of Outremer by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #599 – Hawks Of Outremer by Robert E. Howard; read by Connor Kaye. This is an unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 5 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Trish E. Matson, Alex, and Connor Kaye

Talked about on today’s show:
Oriental Stories, Spring 1931, Weird Tales, Boom Studios, Mark Finn, Savage Sword Of Conan #222, “freely adapted”, did Connor say Conan?, square cut black mane, lightning blue yes, iron thews, a very unConan conclusion, “sheer weight of numbers”, man against man, Cormac Fitzgeoffrey, characters get in the head, ultra-brain damaged, punch drunk, his father was bastard, half norman half celt, a very special story, really interesting, super fun, very manny, Robert E. Howard nerding-out about history, historical references, who was real and who was not, Robert de Vale, Richard Lionheart, Saladin, Mark Finn’s essay, rewriting history in the guise of fiction, the markets are too scanty, if I twist facts too much, my stories center entirely on my conceptions of my characters, writing to a point, pooping on Lovecraft, Howard’s racism, England’s fucked up, Ireland’s fucked up, France is fucked up, religious zealots on a conquering spree, A Means To Freedom, the peopling of the British Isles, anthropology, its all migration, the Normans, two generations away from Vikings, civilization and barbarism, he’s obsessed with it, the German’s the bad guy, entrenched in the blood and the soil, Lovecraft doesn’t really care about characters, we remember Robert E. Howard characters, the themes are always the same, manliness vs gentlemanliness, a character up against them, The Black Stone, Lovecraft couldn’t or didn’t do that, the Saladin movie, Kingdom Of Heaven, Bertran de Born, 1140s-1215, Dante’s Inferno, Gustave Dore, jousting, He nicknamed Richard Lionheart…”Oc-e-Non” (Which translates to “Yes-and-No”),a translation of one of his war poem/songs (by Ezra Pound):

“…We shall see battle axes and swords, a-battering colored haumes and a-hacking through shields at entering melee;
and many vassals smiting together, whence there run free the horses of the dead and wrecked.
And when each man of prowess shall be come into the fray he thinks no more of (merely)
breaking heads and arms, for a dead man is worth more than one taken alive.
I tell you that I find no such savor in eating butter and sleeping, as when I hear cried “On them!”
and from both sides hear horses neighing through their head-guards, and hear shouted “To aid!
To aid!” and see the dead with lance truncheons, the pennants still on them, piercing their sides.
Barons! put in pawn castles, and towns, and cities before anyone makes war on us.
Papiol, be glad to go speedily to “Yea and Nay”, [Richard Lionheart] and tell him there’s too much peace about.”

this is hardcore, yo, the spirit inside of Cormac, war-madness, Apocalypse Now, he’s a ghost, a skull on his shirt and his shield, the West is open, Heart Of Darkness, Cormac is the crazy one, “My most somber character”, an unsalable version of Conan, the story works perfectly without any sorcery (without any sword), spartan in the backgrounds, Joe Jusko‘s covers, an eight page sequence which is almost completely wordless, arms floppin’ off, Medieval castle in Outremer, his hand swelling up like a glove and then exploding, crush the vertebrae, not for the faint of heart, quite vivid, Conan The Salaryman, “the giant”, his catlike slept, pantherish movements, so formidable in battle, he is a fool, a lot of backstory, Robin Hood is running around, the timeline, killed about a people burned a castle, took a sword from a sea-king, a ‘magic’ sword, his true beliefs, he swears by Satan, a symbol of the craziness that is the crusades, Richard is a fool (admirable), I would have you among my men, acting in honour to obey a blood debt, historical fiction, a tiny interregnum between another crusade and another betrayal, everyone is becoming free agents, craft their own little kingdoms, all these bastard sons, what the title means, a girl at the center of the action, a death wish, he’s like The Punisher from the 1190s, a war on crime that will never end, he’s a vigilante, he goes looking for trouble, you broke him, at least one more adventure, Richard Lionheart died in 1199, Saladin’s rule, unhorsed in battle, an Arabian steed and an English warhorse, Saladin was a Kurd, break up the two teams, united in their religion, dismounted?, a french she-knight, a belly fat German, throwing battle axes and lances, that impossible grip, bending the iron bars, this unstoppable Punisher plowing through people, going everywhere trying to make trouble, makes friends with people who are getting into trouble, Howard is so different from Lovecraft, H.P. Podcraft, The Picture Of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Oscar Wilde defeats you using nonsense logic that sounds great, rhetorical flourish vs. rhetorical substance, enough words, time to move, an experiment in manhood, why his stuff is so incredibly powerful, buffin’ up at the gym, military warriors, uncles and advisors and friends, unsurpassed for what it is, walking down the street wearing a time with a notebook and thinking about the stars, the boxing ring, wrestling with what it is to be a man, King Kull is a lot more philosophical than Conan, A Man Returns, were he a total caricature, he thinks its a trick, not just a walking sword, what Europe is like, a feint, betraying fealty, friends betrayed, Queen Of The Black Coast, a big long moral lecture, cleaves the judge’s head, manly loyalty that gets you into wars, the same kind of mentality, the thin blue line, I’m not a knight I’m a lord in my own land, running around in bearskins, philosophizing in fiction about what it is to be a man, the women in the stories are there for addressing men’s duties towards women, ideals of masculinity, a love letter to Saladin, a compeletly different way of being a man, a charismatic chivalrous civilized man, Saladin and Richard, fresh fruit, eat this get better, Joppa, prisoners of war, a Kurd among Arabs, I’m gonna prove you wrong, a Mary Sue, writing about the man he wants to be, strong and chivalrous, kind to his friends and cruel to his enemies, male fantasy,

Cormac glared at him, tensing himself for a sudden leap that would carry the Kurd with him into the Dark. The Norman-Gael was a product of his age and his country; among the warring chiefs of blood-drenched Ireland, mercy was unknown and chivalry an outworn and forgotten myth. Kindness to a foe was a mark of weakness; courtesy to an enemy a form of craft, a preparation for treachery; to such teachings had Cormac grown up, in a land where a man took every advantage, gave no quarter and fought like a blood-mad devil if he expected to survive.

Now at a gesture from Saladin, those crowding the door gave back.

“Your way is open, Lord Cormac.”

The Gael glared, his eyes narrowing to slits: “What game is this?” he growled. “Shall I turn my back to your blades? Out on it!”

“All swords are in their sheaths,” answered the Kurd. “None shall harm you.”

Cormac’s lion-like head swung from side to side as he glared at the Moslems.

“You honestly mean I am to go free, after breaking the truce and slaying your jackals?”

“The truce was already broken,” answered Saladin. “I find in you no fault. You have repaid blood for blood, and kept your faith to the dead. You are rough and savage, but I would fain have men like you in mine own train. There is a fierce loyalty in you, and for this I honor you.”

Cormac sheathed his sword ungraciously. A grudging admiration for this weary-faced Moslem was born in him and it angered him. Dimly he realized at last that this attitude of fairness, justice and kindliness, even to foes, was not a crafty pose of Saladin’s, not a manner of guile, but a natural nobility of the Kurd’s nature. He saw suddenly embodied in the Sultan, the ideals of chivalry and high honor so much talked of—and so little practiced—by the Frankish knights. Blondel had been right then, and Sieur Gerard, when they argued with Cormac that high-minded chivalry was no mere romantic dream of an outworn age, but had existed, and still existed and lived in the hearts of certain men. But Cormac was born and bred in a savage land where men lived the desperate existence of the wolves whose hides covered their nakedness. He suddenly realized his own innate barbarism and was ashamed. He shrugged his lion’s shoulders.

“I have misjudged you, Moslem,” he growled. “There is fairness in you.”

“I thank you, Lord Cormac,” smiled Saladin. “Your road to the west is clear.”

And the Moslem warriors courteously salaamed as Cormac FitzGeoffrey strode from the royal presence of the slender noble who was Protector of the Califs, Lion of Islam, Sultan of Sultans.

that’s the author talking, a lion like roar, Richard the Lionheart is the other lion, wasting all these lives, Robin Of Sherwood, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, maybe their religion aint that bad, reading Howard in comics, its never Cimmeria, interacting with not nice people, he comes from the north, that wanderlust, a lack of the gigantic mirth, that being towards death thing, in search of a calling, he’s clearly looking for someone, we want him to go there, its corrupt, decadence, Bêlit is probably supposed to be Jewish, she’s a Shemite, hawk-nosed Shemites, was so passionate her love, she’s a psycho killer, corruption everywhere, this person is not corrupt, a romance of the westerners towards this history, the propaganda is that he was exceptionally good, Howard inspired by history stories, his themes are not shallow, redeeming features to the latest Marvel Conan?, Conan the Gambler, it just carries you along and you hardly notice the philosophizing, he is so skilled at writing the prose, the dialogue is used in the Boom Studios adaptation, Roy Thomas era of Conan, text boxes, virtually no text boxes, losing all the sidelights that Howard is throwing, it feels like a novel’s worth of material, two major flashbacks, he storms two castle, a really strong workout, a lot of the tension came from Howard’s writing, it ends and you almost want to cheer, Two-gun Bob, His Own Barbarism by Mark Finn, he saw suddenly embodied in the sultan, the Frankish knights, his own innate barbarism and I was ashamed, he’s literally a werewolf, semi-mythological metaphors, Smaug, The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien rewriting the Saga of the Volsungs for his own children, Thorin becomes the next dragon, a representation of turning into a dragon, a wolf-like figure, there’s too much peace around, a dead man is worth more than one taken alive, ransom, the butter and the sleeping, propagandistic: let’s do this fucking think, a hype-up, flex contests, let’s get this war on, fuck the money, it feels so fucking good, PUBG, trench warfare, become a wizard (like Evan), become a lich, ways of winning this manhood game, Connor is so lucky to be young and have Jesse giving him his wisdom, Mark Finn, Robert’s relationship with Doctor Howard, I got a $120 for that story, Blood & Thunder The Art & Life Of Robert E. Howard by Mark Finn, Connor’s narration, the voice of Cormac, really fun to narrate, The Blood Of Belshazzar, more of the same?, Magic Carpet Magazine, looking east, Orientalism, the interest in the east, Connor’s big Hippocampus Press purchase, R.H. Barlow, W.H. Pugmire, Clark Ashton Smith, The Tindalos Cycle, John Ajvide Lindqvist, The Black Diamonds by Clark Ashton Smith, a Boy’s Own Adventure by a kid who didn’t know what he was doing, ridiculously fun, an enthusiasm, Lovecraft seems to be a fanboy of Clark Ashton Smith, that prose that is a painting, the reds from Robert E. Howard, Scarlet Citadels, Red Shadows, it was a colour but I can’t describe it, four issues on Archive.org, 33 stories up on the PDF Page, The Sowers Of Thunder by Robert E. Howard, set in Otremer, an Irish crusader with a troubled past, maybe Connor’s got another project, talking about manhood, Lovecraft is more correct about the status of masculinity in the 20th century, Lovecraft knows the future is going to be libraries, academics, Lovecraft’s Roman dream, a fantasy of the working class, Wastelands by W. Scott Poole, it doesn’t matter how much you train, what it is to be a man and what it is to be masculine and what it is to be an adult, trophies, the female gaze upon the muscles, female characters who are wimps, the Indiana Jones second movie, Willie Scott’s job is to scream, The People Of The Black Circle, The Hour Of The Dragon, Zenobia, Red Sonja, Valeria from Red Nails, she’s a companion, not a plot object, the exact same plot as Iron Shadows In The Moon, the stupid squire character, Zula, Grace Jones is great, a little horse battle, Conan: The Destroyer is garbage, N’Longa, I need you, I’m yours, if Will were here, Tonto to The Lone Ranger, fifties square, Jay Silverheels, rancher’s daughter needs rescuing, range romance on the edge of civilization, Beyond The Black River, Conan fighting Indians on the frontier, John Carter, Tharks, not having magical element, sword and sorcery, didn’t need an evil wizard, Hashshashin, other than being really strong, Sharpe’s Rifles is historical fiction, that axe-throw was borderline, Harold Lamb, Adventure (magazine), it doesn’t really matter what he applies his writing to, The Tower Of The Elephant, he steals from the best, the puzzle solving, the pathos of the elephant, Almuric, and here’s some fragments, a description of a real town, how the houses loom, those sentences are still him talking, the natural storytelling, a jigsaw puzzle and a protractor, the soul of a poet.

Hawks Of Outremer by Robert E. Howard

Joe Jusko - Hawks Of Outremer

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

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 #042

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #042 – Jesse is joined by Brian Murphy and Gregg Margarite to talk about the Tantor Media audiobook: The Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard |READ OUR REVIEW|.

Talked about on today’s show:
The Hyena by Robert E. Howard, racism, racism in Robert E. Howard’s fiction, Jack London, H.P. Lovecraft, Solomon Kane, Crom, By This Axe I Rule, Howard/Lovecraft correspondence, plot vs. mood, pessimism, writers who kill themselves, Philip K. Dick, defining chaos, Dark Valley Destiny by L. Sprague de Camp, Blood And Thunder by Mark Finn, Howard’s life and death, The Whole Wide World, Howards’ westerns and historical stories, “with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth”: was Howard or Conan bipolar?, Texas in the early 20th century, Conan’s intellect, The Tower Of The Elephant, Barbarian vs. Cimmerian, Conan’s philosophy (Epicureanism?), fantasy, Howard’s use of magic, The Frost Giant’s Daughter (aka Gods Of The North), magic doesn’t trump steel, existentialism, nihilism, Ymir, The Prisoner, Howard’s animal similes, The God in the Bowl is a murder mystery and a locked room mystery and a detective story!, Yag-Kosha isn’t a great alien design, The Hyborian Age, Marvel’s Conan The Barbarian, The Savage Sword Of Conan, Dark Horse’s Conan, Curtis Magazines, The Scarlet Citadel, big battles and giant snakes, Marvel’s King Conan (Conan The King), The Hour Of The Dragon, Queen Of The Black Coast, barbarian love, Oliver Stone, John Milius, The Howard Conan:

“Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.”

The Stone/Milius Conan:

“Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.”

How do you pronounce names like Cimmeria and Bêlit?, Clark Ashton Smith, Bêlit’s character, Conan the Daoist, Conan’s character, Conan’s morality, Black Colossus, who the hell is Mitra?, The Cimmerian blog, Rogues In The House, Iron Shadows In The Moon, the Vilayet Sea, A Probable Outline Of Conan’s Career, Red Nails, The Pool of the Black One, Rogues In The House, people are animals, Charles Darwin and Robert E. Howard, Clifford D. Simak, man’s successor (intelligent dogs) take over, Thak is a great character name, writing (or just saying that you are), Fantasy seems to be a novel length genre, The Bloody Crown Of Conan, The Conquering Sword Of Conan, narrator Todd McLaren, character voices, bite the wax tadpole, Roy Thomas.

A 1938 newstand full of pulp magazines

Tantor Media - The Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian, The Bloody Crown Of Conan, The Conquering Sword Of Conan

Posted by Jesse Willis