Friday, February 24, 2012

100 Books #17 - Robert E. Howard's THE BLOODY CROWN OF CONAN

Lately, the more I read of Conan the Cimmerian's adventures, the more I want to. So I can totally understand why there are a whole mess of novels -- homages, really -- by other writers that feature this character in store for me, but for now, for now my Conanical heart belongs entirely to Robert E. Howard. And to Del Rey books for releasing these magnificent collections.

This second one contains just three tales ("People of the Black Circle," Hour of the Dragon and "A Witch Shall Be Born") where the first one contained a passel. But one of these tales is a novel, folks, and that is a fine, fine thing, because Hour of the Dragon is one fine novel, if short by modern standards.* Therein, we see Conan on the throne of Aquilonia (a situation to which the films starring a future governor of California in the title role loved to allude to as "another story" they teased us they'd adapt some day but of course never did) (but maybe Jason Mormoa will get a shot doing same, though I pray to Crom that if there is another Mormoa Conan movie they'll use more than the odd out of context line from Howard's outstanding original source material, AHEM), AND leading armies into battle AND chastely falling in love with his future queen AND doing battle with an undead sorceror AND questing after the magical jewel that is said undead sorceror's weakness... Yeah, man, this is Conan complete with kitchen sink (err... pail of water dashed vigorously at his gigantic muscle-y self?). If it doesn't make you want to strap on some mail and rush out to wave a sword around and have over the top adventures, then you've definitely been in your cubicle too long.

And then there are two other stories, both full of swords and sorcery and evil plots and deceptions and slaying!

A beloved friend and I were just chatting last night about how reading Conan as adults has enhanced our commitment to physical fitness. The idea of actually becoming that badass is irresistible. Or at least of trying. And never in my life have I tried so hard as I am now. I think I need to get audio versions of these books to play on the boombox in my garage gym. I bet I do twice as many pull-ups listening to them as I do listening to music, even to ska!

So hey, you market tappers out there, you Nerd Fitness guru types -- you're missing out on a fantastic opportunity. I propose a set of exercise videos: the Cimmerian Workout. Jason Mormoa can be the presenter.

I know of at least two, maybe even three, people who would buy them sight unseen.

*Though in this age of giant doorstop fantasy novels that are in themselves incomplete without half a dozen giant doorstop fantasy sequels, this is actually, probably, a virtue, however.

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