Some classic S&S ??

Discussion in 'Classic SF&F' started by GOLLUM, Apr 18, 2008.

  1.  
    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi there.

    I'm a fan of S&S but these following series (except for Carter) I'm not familiar with. Anyone care to comment?...:confused:

    Imaro
    *****
    This series is being put out by Nightshade book and was first begun in 1975. It's called Imaro by Charles Saunders and is based on Howard's Conan but featues instead a black african as the main hero.


    Death Dealer
    **********
    Sword and Sorcery series by legendary artist Frank Frazetta.


    Thongor
    *****

    Thongor and the Wizard Of Lemuria beginning of a 6 book series - Lin Carter

    ** I'll add more about these later...:D
  2.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    "Classic" may be going too far in this case... at least, with the possible exception of Imaro (which I've not read since it was first published, and even then only the first of the set). I'm sorry; Lin was a wonderful man in a lot of ways, and could sometimes write some very good things... but on the whole he was an awful writer -- derivative, hackneyed, and extremely slipshod. (This is not to say I don't occasionally get in the mood for his work, and that I don't enjoy some of it -- I do; but that's a different thing en-tirely!) The Frazetta -- that's not actually written by Frazetta, though, is it? It's based upon his painting (which is one I quite like -- very moody), but written by Joshua Ortega, Nat Jones, and Jay Fotos... no? At any rate, I'm rather skeptical about this one, I must admit... but that could just be me....

    Incidentally... wasn't Imaro at least as influenced by ERB's Tarzan as Howard's Conan? That was my impression, at any rate....
  3.  
    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't know, just read that from a blurb of the book & you're right about Frazetta being the inspiration for Death Dealer.

    Sounds as if Imaro then is worth looking at. I'll check out the copies from Nightshade next...:)
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    Ian Whates

    Ian Whates Author and Editor

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    I've read one of the Thongor books -- Thongor of Lemuria -- a long, long time ago, and would have to agree with jd's comments regarding Lin Carter... which is why I never read any more.

    Actually, I'm not even convinced I finished that one.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Gollum let me know what you think about Imaro.

    An african hero and a series based ERB or REH is more than enough to be interested.
  6.  
    iansales

    iansales Active Member

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    I like Lin Carter's Callisto series. They're a complete rip-off of ERB's Barsoom series, but entertaining ones. I've also read one of his Mysteries of Mars series, Down to a Sunless Sea, and that was pretty poor.
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    pyan

    pyan Fortiter et recte! Staff Member

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    Seconded. If the word "derivative" hadn't existed, they'd have had to invent it for the Thongor series....
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    That's the problem with nearly all of Carter's work, Pyan: it's all derivative. (Well, that... and he could often be a simply atrocious writer.)

    On the other hand, as an editor, Carter was quite often very good; his knowledge of the fantasy field was considerable, and his love for the field immense. As an editor, he brought all that enthusiasm to what he did, and that was often very infectious. It was also frequently that infectious enthusiasm that made a fair amount of his fiction fun... but (to quote the old man in HPL's "Picture in the House") "'twan't quite satisfyin'...."
  9.  
    pyan

    pyan Fortiter et recte! Staff Member

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  10.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Ummm, Pyan... are you referring to his Tolkien: A Look Behind The Lord of the Rings? If so... that's a very wonky little book. A huge chunk of it is taken up with Carter's synopses of the Hobbit and the three volumes of LotR (synopses which are not always entirely accurate, by the way), as well as looking at the book in context. I've never found it a particularly good book on either Tolkien or the novel, but it does have some interest in going through thosse who (probably, in Carter's view) influenced Tolkien as well as those he influenced in turn (up to the time of writing). It also has a rather nice bibliography for those who aren't aware of the rich history of the fantasy field. In all, a seriously flawed book, but a fast and fairly enjoyable read -- and it may have a thing or two to provide a pleasant surprise along the way....
  11.  
    pyan

    pyan Fortiter et recte! Staff Member

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    Yes, I remember you posting a gentle warning somewhere before, jd...but it turned up in a charity shop I was in, and I couldn't pass up the chance to add it to my collection of literary Tolkienabilia...:p
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    Who's Wee Dug

    Who's Wee Dug New Member

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    And there was a similar 6 book series to Thongar, which was the Gondwana Epic starting(1969) with the Giant of Worlds End & ending with Pirate of World's End (1978).

    But one of my favorite LC novels was The Wizard of Zao(1978)
  13.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    The actual chronological ordering of that series is:

    The Warrior of World's End (1974)
    The Enchantress of World's End (1975)
    The Immortal of World's End (1976)
    The Barbarian of World's End (1977)
    The Pirate of World's End (1978)
    Giant of World's End (1969)

    I recall these being a bit more enjoyable than a lot of Carter's work -- though that's going on a memory 30 years or so old... meaning I was about 20 at the time the last book (Pirate) was published. IIRC, The Enchantress got a good deal grimmer than I was used to from Carter, and had a bit more "punch" because of that.

    At any rate, fun books, but by no means great fantasy....
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    nomadman

    nomadman Sophomoric Mystic

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    I wouldn't say it's based on Conan; in fact Saunders has repeatedly tried to avoid any simplistic "black Conan" or "black Tarzan" analogy. See here for the reason why.

    Regarding the books themselves, while Saunders was obviously influenced by Howard, he was also as much influenced by East African myth and folklore, to the point of actually using Swahili terms for many of the peoples, weapons, beasts and so on. He goes a little overboard, IMO, but it helps to give the world a richer feel. More successfully, he manages to mix and match many real life African cultures into a cohesive whole. There are echoes of the Hyborian Age, but an authentic rather than pastiche one.

    Incidentally, the Nightshade edition, which is the one I've got, differs considerably from the original printing, even going so far as to excise an entire story and replacing it with a new. Also be aware that Nightshade have no more plans to publish the rest of the series after 2, though I believe they will be available as print-on-demand.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2008
  15.  
    nomadman

    nomadman Sophomoric Mystic

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    On the subject of Carter, I must confess I'm somewhat baffled as to how such a well-read man can write such staggeringly derivative work. I'm starting to think that excessive erudition is actually counter-productive to penning original tales. Perhaps some degree of ignorance is required?
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Are they the only one that has the books in print ?

    Print on demand ?

    It does sound interesting that he built so much of his own and not just based everything on others famous works.
  17.  
    nomadman

    nomadman Sophomoric Mystic

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    Nightshade already released the first two books: Imaro, and Quest for Kush. As for the others, I don't think they've been released yet, but will be available POD. Not sure if this is official-- I only read about the news a few days ago.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2008
  18.  
    nomadman

    nomadman Sophomoric Mystic

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    Since it might be interesting to add other authors into the mix, how about John Jakes' Brak series? I actually rather like these, though (or perhaps because) they never even intend to be anything other than what they are.

    Henry Kuttner's Elak of Atlantis? Perhaps the first real successor to Howard.

    KEW's Kane?
  19.  
    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes I have Kane and Elak but never heard of Brak, care to elaborate?....
  20.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    I am shocked, sir; absolutely shocked!:eek::D

    John Jakes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Brak was John Jakes' tribute/hommage, etc. to REH. In many ways intensely derivative, in some ways very much Jakes' own work, they are an essential for anyone heavily interested in S&S. Though seriously flawed, there is something about those tales that I do find fascinating, so that I periodically find myself going back to them....

    As for Elak... doesn't Jirel actually predate Elak by a slight margin? Certainly C. L. Moore made no bones about the fact the character was at least in response to Howard's heroes... and REH himself thought quite highly of the series (at least, the ones he lived to see), as I recall....

    No, I'd strongly disagree with that. After all, James Branch Cabell was staggeringly well-read, and in both popular work and the classics, yet his work remains among the most scintillating, sparkling, and impishly mischievous I can think of... and is also often highly original. It is also immensely rich, on a multitude of levels. Stylistically speaking alone, he was one of the great prose writers of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and his work also makes one think... and frequently irritates one into arguing with him -- which is very much part of what he intended.

    Lovecraft is another who was massively well-read, yet who was very original (despite being heavily influenced by different writers -- not at all the same thing); as were Clark Ashton Smith, Fletcher Pratt, E. R. Eddison, Andre Norton, L. Sprague de Camp, Avram Davidson, Michael Moorcock, Joanna Russ, Isaac Asimov.....

    There's a world of difference between being immensely well-read and being a talented writer; and Carter (bless him) simply was not the latter....

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