The SFFaudio Podcast #697 – Almuric by Robert E. Howard; read by Connor Kaye
This unabridged reading of the story (5 hours 28 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.
Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, Will Emmons, Trish E. Matson, Connor Kaye, and Cora Buhlert
Talked about on today’s show:
probably not by H.P. Lovecraft, by Robert E. Howard and possibly others, poo-pooing, some serious ending issues, the real probic question, sort of made up, Golden Fleece, 1939, Oriental Stories/Magic Carpet, less magic, a historical fiction magazine, Gates Of Empire by Robert E. Howard, 1975, another story set in the Saladin Egyptian Caliphate eras, a crusader King, really enthusiastic, Almaric, a historical figure, characters of similar names, two different Almarics or Almurics, he liked the name, Thok/Thak/Grak, the best Robert E. Howard pastiche ever or he’s making fun of him, muscular scenes, more Howardian, Howard does Howard really well, how much was Howard responsible, the letters, too on point, except the ending, dissertation on howard’s thought presented as a story, these themes, tell a lot more, it tells the thesis pretty exclusively, the issue, a sketch that someone else put together, a first draft?, Patrice Louinet, the manuscript is lost, 1934, Drums of Tombalku, Hour Of The Dragon, Otis Adelbert Kline, suspect infodumps, Daniel Look, Howard Days, stylometry, wordcounter.net, using math, Conan pastiches, specific words, scarlet or citadel, the and of or from and to, classifies Fritz Leiber stories as Fritz Leiber stories, a sword and Planet Guy, Francis Hard, Farnsworth Wright, not wholly complete, multiple drafts, the April 1939 issue of Weird Tales, the ending was taken from the inference about the beginning, the way the story ends is not compatible with the way the story starts, relating the story we are about to receive, The Lighthouse (2019), an unfinished short story by Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Bloch, a whole novel inspired by the short story, too horrible to relate, if you look deep into what they’ve written, why did they write that, brushing their teeth and looking in the mirror, everything is there for a purpose, the finishers of Almuric, looking deep into the story, anathema to a Howard ending, bring civilization to these barbarians, parts of this are definitely suspect and the ending is wholly suspect, seeking to join the society, artificial, not Howardian, the goorahs, Acher, Koth, Cimmeria is from The Odyssey, Afghulis in Afghulistan, Stygia, certain passages, Robert E. Howard had a hand in this, The Garden Of Fear, a tower, winged people, something about elephants, Solomon Kane story Wings In The Night, The Moon Of Skulls, a vampire queen wants to have sex with Solomon Kane, sacrificed at the full moon, Garden Of Evil by Margaret St. Clair, Vale Of Lost Women, a winged guy and a bunch of flower ladies, images that haunt him, so much more like Edgar Rice Burroughs than anything else by Robert E. Howard, The Gods Of Mars, Warlord Of Mars, a self-destruct mechanism, a nuke, a 1939 nuke, elder god type monster, Otis notes, literary manager, ripoffs of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Buccaneers Of Venus, Kline got the cover, Almuric didn’t get the cover, Everill Worrell, A Witch Shall Be Born, The Slithering Shadow, the fingerprints of A Princess Of Mars, the mechanism to get to mars is minimized, how Esau Cairn gets to Almuric is never explained, cliffhangery, every time he gets knocked on the head, two sequences being carried aloft, he even comments on this, my third time in captivity, very very very Howardian, the opening is pretty strong, on the run from corrupt civilization, corruption and civilization are the same thing for Robert E. Howard, Connor’s credulity, that doesn’t seem like something Robert E. Howard would write, a first draft, the repetition of verbs, I caught up a shield, I rushed to finish this story, Howard was not a find and replace guy, scarlet, showing not telling, the writing style, I have only a dim memory, several things happened at once, we gotta find a way to fix this, fist fighting, mundane terrestrial stories, it could have been written by anybody, Steve Costigan it’s not, those infodumps, notes, essays, The Hyborian Essay, that’s his research, Howard doesn’t do infodumps, research notes, now I shall give you a lengthy infodump, the thematic infodumps, this is why civilization os not the proper place for human beings, mastery of the human form and human strength, doing Burroughs, put Otis to work, Farnsworth Wright, good editor bad writer, Paul Ernst, Seabury Quinn, commenting on the stories, this Francis Hard (Farnsworth Wright) guy is terrible, nobody copyright renewed this story, authors tend to make a claim, Wright and Kline both died young, as much or more of Robert E. Howard has come out since his death as during his life, decade after decade, the first major thing after his death, not in the Del Rey editions?, Bobby Derie, Howard Andrew Jones, James Allison stories, Phoenix On The Sword, he’s always dying, an outer narrator, some adventures in a faraway place or a far distant time, dispensing with the idea, in Earth history, Kull is Atlantean, pre-cataclysmic civilization, how to get into it, this is a fantasy book, terms to explain it to ourselves, secondary world, Tolkien, The Hobbit, most attributed to Burroughs, gods and names are pretty much the same, the river Yag, the land of Yog, didn’t finish mapping it all, a lot of Howard’s setup, how did you enjoy it as a book? vs. how it was constructed?, a bit over a hundred pages, the scale, assaulting the city, Robinson Crusoe feel to it, battling with baboons in the wilderness, how much we enjoy it related to how much Howard was in it, Pirates Of Venus, an editorial for Weird Tales, a mission statement for Weird Tales, fantasy, science fiction, and horror, The Weird Tales Story edited by Robert Weinberg, The Dark Man Journal, ape men, sexual dimophism, bub, Howard loved apes!, no ape-women, pulp science fiction, suspect, all of the Conan comics, a way to make you turn pages, you can’t kill the guy, sheer force of numbers, The Scarlet Citadel, Hour Of The Dragon, detective fiction, gassed, hit on the head, most of that’s bad, it makes it suspect, the Howardian content is so high, the pastiche worker, pretty good, The Garden Of Fear is a really good story, a fanzine, recycle scenes, not unwilling to recycle, Almuric Role Playing Game setting, kickstarted style art, races of Almurica, Dogheads, Akki, it’s gotta be, jaegers, hunters, Germans in Texas, a Lebanese shopkeeper in Cross-Plains, pre-chat, how surprised would you be if in 1961 he converts to Islam?, slave-trading is evil, muslim sidekicks, El Borak, he loves swearing by gods, and there’s no god greater than Allah, if only for the aesthetics, Muhammad Ali, some kind of Islamic rally, individualism, protestant, too community based, Allah knows, this big guy in the sky, He exists, swearing to various gods, why Solomon Kane is so attractive, his belief makes him attractive, challenged all the time, my sacred staff, an evil voodoo thing, it’s beyond me, the god of my people, the religious fanatic, the nicest puritan you’ll ever meet, he likes animals, he thinks you’re an evil demon, the Gent From Bear Creek stuff, semi-embedded in a community, out from society, why the novel was abandoned, ends with peace and harmony and a new golden age?, there’s no permanence in dog-brotherhood, ape-brothers, the relationship with the women, Kull has Brule, standing next to Conan is not good, women can survive but we never see them again, a reset button, a comic book sequel Almuric, the Iron Hand Of Almuric, what’s left to say, the golden skinned ladies, copper skin, see the sexual dimorphism there, particular word choices, name choices, Altha, Alpha, a slave girl, Theta, a #LegCling, pulsing, thews, I could feel her heart, her quick pants of fright, what Howard would do, an interesting dynamic, the crudity of the men in her culture, a bit weird, he crushed her to his body, his writing of women improves, his Mexican prostitute sex, she wants to die rather to live out of place in her world, born ahead of her time vs. his being born in the past, a woman with agency, she knows what she doesn’t want, has to get rescued all the time, transitional Howard, Valeria from Red Nails vs. Belit, topless, died of sunburn, some nudity in this book, the Jirel Of Joiry stories, his Dark Agnes stories, Red Sonja, Zenobia, bears comparison, Cairn, The Cairn On The Headland, how dumb are you?, I’m looking for you, that lack of agency, out of character, Howard in a certain sense, Cairn has Howard’s fists but his brains are inadequate to the task, played for comedy, Steve Costigan, very fluffy, what Evan suspects, you’re both a liar and a coward, as all men know, knotty fist, a dozen feet away, moderate corporal correction, it wasn’t the punching, that is NOT Howard, he would never say that, Conan wont defend himself, L. Sprague De Camp had Conan spank his kid, the evil queen is going to spank her maid, women attack other women, Lesbia, Howard had no idea how lesbians worked, was Margaret Brundage bisexual?, not much attention given to men, less than half written by Howard?, the H.P. Lovecraft revisions, stylometry, editorial notes, a copyedit job, what other scholars said, too direct, someone wanted to present Howard’s thesis, too much telling not enough showing, way down on the list of Howard you should spend any time on, a Howard completionist, a pallid substitute, this is not crackin, not actively annoying, inoffensive, a little offensive, the character is endorsing it, beyond the pale, a twitter argument with a shitlib or someone here, Conan being a socialist or a communist, Conan The Socialist by Cora Buhlert, primitive societies, primitive communism, no thing is owned by one person, no one here is allowed to starve, you can’t own stuff in those types of cultures, hunter gatherer, counting coup, a social game that has rules, reputation, The Black Stranger, The Treasure Of Tranicos, famines, storehouses full of grain, I used my sword and my fists, he gives away his prize, the end of every Conan story, losing all the money at the end, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, botom up heroes, even Kull is a usurper, from the working class, a queen who has lived for 600 years, a lady who’s up, bottom up rather than top down, she’s a slaver, certain phrases and scenes, the structure is way less so, more of the framing device, the political boss, it wasn’t relevant, it was though, more like a Jack London story, urban fantasy, samurai cannibal book, The Mucker, The Monster Men, The Efficiency Expert, The Garden Of Fear feels way more substantial, the flowers are symbolic, where’s the symbolism in here?, some furry guys, red peoples and white apes, pure escapism, Howard has an agenda, and axe to grind, he’s passionate about it, I’m going to demonstrate my beliefs to you through story, Hour Of The Dragon is brimming with anger, a metaphor for the rise of fascism in Europe, Benito Mussolini, I will make you hurt, this one is fun, it doesn’t have anything deeper to say, do better, Connor, top tier Howard, Galactic Journey, lost along away, sword and planet, Will has read a lot worse than this, this isn’t dreck, statements of philosophy, the space babe, they create the new society, a planetary romance ending, the violence was a little over the top, a score of wounds, so parodied, Wolverine, recuperative powers, super-tough, “my immense recuperative powers”, crucified, he sleeps it off, he puts his leg in the water to stop the bleeding, a fun story, way better material, the density level, word choices, Howard writes like a poet, Spear And Fang aint beautiful, in his mid-twenties and approaching his 30, a natural writer in his prime wrote some notes, The Wicked Clergyman by H.P. Lovecraft, the worst Lovecraft story there is that he wrote, the comic book adaptations, Epic Illustrated 2-5 issues, Dark Horse sequel, Roy Thomas and Mark Winchell, wont somebody stop Roy Thomas, Ironhand Of Almuric, Gardner F. Fox style, dense prose, Tim Conrad, too much prose, mostly retired, of all the Conan co-authors, those big text boxes, he doesn’t fuck around with the prose, adapted to a Conan story, Arabian adventures, an effect of Conan fever, 1961, Ace, a Frazetta cover, Jack Gaughan, tonnes of very small slim paperbacks from the 1970s, looking in second hand bookstores, pretty obscure for a famous book (of Howard’s), how impactful the stories were, riding the name, why the role playing game exists, fuckin cool, Strange Detective, where he’s getting published, Adventure, volume, Fight Magazine, Jack Dempsey’s Fight Magazines, Sam Walser is Robert E. Howard, Spicy magazines, reading the Spicy magazines, embarrassing, hit after hit after hit author, who wouldn’t want this issue?, great reprints, great Virgil Finlay art, Spicy Adventure, Francis X. Gordon, not everything came out in the 70s, El Borak stories, the James Allison stories, The Howard Foundation, no print editions?, save it for the Garden Of Fear, the intro with the dying protagonist, H.P. Lovecraft and Virginia Jackson’s The Crawling Chaos, The Star Rover by Jack London, Howard bookshelf, erotica, working with an existing trope, how we get to the world, modern sword and planet stories?, using a rocketship to get there, astral projection had made irrelevant by V-2s, Confessions Of An English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincy, unheard of roads, overdose, our outer narrator, let me tell you of the secret of the world, the “Great Secret”, observatory!, telescopist!, no better alternative, telescopy hut, a flight through space, The Crystal Egg by H.G. Wells, the same martians, the inference, how we get from there to here, shot through the telescope, a teleporter, Professor Hildebrand, how he gets the story, what we’re reading, teleportation across time?, driven out of Europe into Africa, the last of the monkey-apes, people with wings, Conan The Barbarian, #9, winged ears, The Tower Of The Elephant, a dumbo captured by a wizard, another yag-yog, a giant spider, missing the giant snake, obsessed with evolution, she read Darwin, the bat-people, cutting off their wings, controlling rivals?, female Kizinti are dumb and pregnant, a podunk town, eugenics was a hot topic, the Howard-Lovecraft letters, decades of eugenics programs, sterilization, Esau Cairn is not a thinker, a naked savage, on the ladder of evolution, parody of Robert E. Howard, silks and steel and stone towers, tell not show, it had his name on it, playing it fast and loose, stuck it together, SCOOP!, Clifford Ball, a would be Conan, The Thief Of Forthe, what you expected Conan to look like, no substitute, this Clifford Ball guy, Henry Kuttner, attitude, Robert E. Howard has a big chip on his shoulder, Kuttner had a different chip on a different shoulder, Z.B. Bishop writes as good as Lovecraft!, disposable popcorn, it has the signs but lacks the heft, AI audiobooks, Seabury Quinn audiobooks, the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, Agatha Christie with supernatural elements, Murder On The Links, a ripoff of Jewel Of Seven Stars, the alpha and the notetaker, August Derleth, Jules De Grandin and Doctor Trowbridge, occult detectives, the John Thunstone stories, the Netflix section for reality TV, people who liked science fiction, good at marketing, Clark Ashton Smith had no hand in fixing this story, The Maze Of Maâl Dweb, The Flower-Women, C.L. Moore would have been better, the Charlton Comics adaptation, all rip-offs of Tarzan, after the puLps died comics took over, Sheena, Ka-Zar, too much, Conan goes to the Center of the Earth, Tarzan on the Moon, Bran Mak Morn and Kull, Kings Of The Night, Worms Of The Earth, Conan or THE Conan, a guy goes into a cave, Conan was his ancestor, Leigh Brackett, criminal on Venus, Lorelei Of The Red Mists, Ray Bradbury, homage, how much we got out of this, meta-talk, some sort of emotional attitude towards reality, it sparks, sometimes stories are abandoned for a reason, fascinating fragments, how hilarious it would be reading Ray Bradbury doing planetary romance, he does weird things she wouldn’t do, killed in WWII, where the Bradbury begins and the Brackett stops, nostalgic, The Small Assassin, a guy’s afraid of the wind, phonecalls make a guy’s life a living hell, dead undersea soldiers, two episodes in the can, quite a buffer, The Planet Stories Podcast, Connor needs a podcast, The Wind In The Portico by John Buchan, No-Man’s Land by John Buchan, hence listening to David Brin, almost like a podcast on YouTube [CONNOR’S YOUTUBE VIDEO ESSAY PODCAST FEED IS: HERE], keeping to a specific theme, old school podcasts, Mr Jim Moon is doing witches this year, a lot of not Science Fiction, the Horrorbabble guys, Evan’s podcast uses podbean, Evan has 787 podcast episodes out, the American Civil War, 4 continents represented, a Taikonaut, Starlink satellites, clutter up the sky, beloved by cats, mutant cats for our future, psychic cats know when we’re feeling vulnerable, The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, novel after novel, until Jesse dies or Eric dies, to do two podcasts a week, when I’m feeling weak, hoping that something is going to be good, a six month backlog, take a vacation from recording, don’t silence, don’t de-platform, i’m not Whoopi!, Cora was on the Dickheads podcast talking into The Big Jump by Leigh Brackett, the Appendix N Book Club podcast.