Howard or Tolkien, Which of them Had The Greatest Impact On Modern Fantasy ?

BAYLOR

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@hitmouse :


Dungeons and Dragons role playing, for instance, is a mashup of ideas from both writers. Game of Thrones as well, I suppose. There are many more.

There is no doubt that both men played role in the development of Dungeons and Dragons
 

BAYLOR

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Since there are no new Conan pastiche Novels on the horizon . All that's left is comic books.
 

JJewel

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I said this a long way back in this chat I suspect, but no harm in repeating it.

Tolkien will be talked about as if it is a life changing experience but rarely read
Howard will rarely be talked about but often read

So you need to decided wether you prefer style over quality on this one, personally for me Howard, we still see so many Howard like novels out their and more every year where as not so sure epic fantasy owes Tolkien that much? Lovecrafts Quest of Iranon has more depth and luckily fewer words.
 

hitmouse

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I said this a long way back in this chat I suspect, but no harm in repeating it.

Tolkien will be talked about as if it is a life changing experience but rarely read
Howard will rarely be talked about but often read
Really?
 

Vince W

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I said this a long way back in this chat I suspect, but no harm in repeating it.

Tolkien will be talked about as if it is a life changing experience but rarely read
Howard will rarely be talked about but often read

So you need to decided wether you prefer style over quality on this one, personally for me Howard, we still see so many Howard like novels out their and more every year where as not so sure epic fantasy owes Tolkien that much? Lovecrafts Quest of Iranon has more depth and luckily fewer words.
I am a huge fan of Howard's and think his style is one that deserves more emulation today. I've read and reread Howard's stories many times. Personally I cannot rate Howard over Tolkien or vice versa. They are two separate but equally engaging authors.

But Tolkien rarely read? I think not. Many people that don't like fantasy as a whole have read either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. Howard is pretty much the exclusive realm of fantasy and S&S fans.
 

BAYLOR

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I am a huge fan of Howard's and think his style is one that deserves more emulation today. I've read and reread Howard's stories many times. Personally I cannot rate Howard over Tolkien or vice versa. They are two separate but equally engaging authors.

But Tolkien rarely read? I think not. Many people that don't like fantasy as a whole have read either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. Howard is pretty much the exclusive realm of fantasy and S&S fans.

I think the world of both writers

Ive reread Howard more then a few times and Tolkien is on my reread list.
 

BAYLOR

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The older ones vary from good to great, especially Savage Sword of Conan. I was speaking of the recent Marvel reboot. Dreadful stuff.

There was one Conan Comic that I can remember parts of the story. It set in a place populated by these beings who essentially looked like Human/Shark Hybrids,(Remnants of the Sharkmen of Lemuria perhaps ?) They are standing over the body of a great shark warrior who had presumably died at the hands of Conan. What they did was use a spell to resurrect him but, in the process they had opened up portal that let in a being who would and could cause the end the whole world. Conan shows up to do battle but, the Shark lord decides that compared to the fate the world , his vendetta with Conan is unimportant , He turned and confronts those who revived him told them that they did was foolish thing in bring him back and that they had doomed the world. He could stop this terrible doom but, it required him to sacrifice himself and his cohorts , he casts a spell reducing the other shark men to worms , absorbs their life forces combining it with his own and then, as Conan look hurls himself to his doom and stops the terrible being from destroying world and banishing it.
 

The Big Peat

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I said this a long way back in this chat I suspect, but no harm in repeating it.

Tolkien will be talked about as if it is a life changing experience but rarely read
Howard will rarely be talked about but often read

There are a little under 2.5m ratings for Fellowship of the Ring on Goodreads.

There's just under 125k ratings for all of Howard's works put together.

There are more ratings for the Silmarillion (236k) than for all of Howard's works put together. The Children of Hurin comes in at 72k, which suggests it might be equal to all of the Conan anthologies put together (if I felt like such a gargantuan task). There are more ratings for The Father Christmas Letters than there are for the most popular Conan anthology.

It's just one place to measure it of course but every number available points to this being very different to most people's experience. The estimate in 2007 was that LotR had shifted 50m copies after the movies came out.

So you need to decided wether you prefer style over quality on this one, personally for me Howard, we still see so many Howard like novels out their and more every year where as not so sure epic fantasy owes Tolkien that much? Lovecrafts Quest of Iranon has more depth and luckily fewer words.

Which recent releases do you think are Howard-esque?

As for what Epic Fantasy owes Tolkien - much as I believe all the talk of Tolkien clones is overdone, every multi-book sprawling Epic Fantasy series has a Tolkien influence simply in terms of the scale set. Nobody before him of any particular reputation imagined a story and world as big, or achieved the same commercial influence in doing so. It also contains a number of popular motifs that, while done before Tolkien, were not necessarily common and were hugely popularised by him and are still routinely used today such as the Return of the Dark Lord, Benevolent Wizards, Non-Human Races etc.etc. It's a very faded influence in a lot of cases, but it is right there at the bedrock.
 

Guttersnipe

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Tolkien. Mostly due to him, we know what an orc is (he popularized it, but didn't invent it) and "halfling" is a D&D race. Led Zeppelin made songs about the lore. There have been many epigones.
 

Extollager

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This is an old-fashioned topic, Baylor. I don't suppose Tolkien and Howard are linked very often these days, but it's funny to see Tolkien and LOTR being invoked to market Conan back around 1966.

Tolkien and Fantasy: Pre-1970 Paperbacks with Comparisons to Tolkien

Tolkien and Fantasy: Dale Nelson's Summation on Tolkien in pre-1970 blurbs

My sense is that Howardian swords-and-sorcery is just about played out as far as big publishers are concerned, i.e. that it's old-time REH fans and small-press folk who keep working in the genre. On the other hand, I attribute largely to the influence of Tolkien and to authors who were imitating him the proclivity of publishers to desire, and writers to supply, the endless swarm of "trilogies" and series books in sf as well as fantasy that we have today, and which I, though a devoted Tolkien fan, veteran of 13 readings of LOTR, etc., find really unattractive.

http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/547783-which-books-dont-do-it-for-you-2.html#post1803160

I don't mean to be snide, but accurate, in saying that an imaginative 15-year-old can write a passable Howard imitation -- and many of us have -- but no one can match Tolkien, and the best fantasists are those who may be influenced by him but who have a lot of their own substance to bring to the typewriter. I think of Ursula Le Guin's first three Earthsea books, for example.

Much of what I've written is my impressions, so perhaps someone will correct me.

I think that, without Howard and, especially, Tolkien, modern fantasy as a publishing niche would not be the presence that it is -- for one thing, those Jackson movies wouldn't have been made, and they must do something to keep the field of fantasy publishing going.

That's mostly a quantitative observation. Qualitatively, Tolkien showed that the imaginative romance can still profoundly move modern readers and affect their very lives. I have no doubt that reading Tolkien affected my inner world for good, for life, ever since around 1966. I think many people felt differently about the natural world after they immersed in Tolkien; yes, I think he not only benefited from, but contributed significantly to, the development of a responsible mass movement for respecting and cherishing the natural world. See the book by Dickerson and Evans (far better than its cutesy title), Ents, Elves, and Eriador.

http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/532928-tolkien-and-agrarianism.html

Howard accomplished nothing comparable to that. If he had never written anything, you could still get a lot of Howard-type excitement, at least at a young age, from the Barsoom books of Edgar Rice Burroughs and so on, though one grants that his mixture of violent heroes, Theosophical notions about race and so on, and monsters was his own.

As a footnote to my old posting -- I'd go so far as to say that, to the degree that it had any influence in the first place, Howard's example tended to restrict one's understanding of what fantasy could be. That is, from Howard you would get the idea that fantasy is almost nothing but quick escapism. To read Howard with enjoyment, you have to read him as escapist entertainment; otherwise you will get bogged down in how perfunctory his nomenclature is ("Thag" and names obviously lifted from history), how reliant on stereotypes about relations between the sexes or between ethnic groups he is, how hasty his plotting is liable to be, and so on. Writers of fantasy who were familiar with Howard and had enjoyed his yarns had to realize that fantasy could be much, much more than this.

Conversely, Tolkien's example showed that fantasy could connect with perennial human concerns in ways that enriched one's inner world. I do believe that, if it could be written, an account of the change of consciousness towards the nonhuman world (="nature") that has developed in modern times is indebted to Tolkien as well as other writers. People's experience of the natural world is actually different from what it would otherwise be because Tolkien's fantasy gets under the skin. This author -- certainly a conservative -- is, if you like, a revolutionary, in that sense, someone who changed minds -- and (unlike most revolutionaries) in wholly beneficial ways. By now his influence is felt not only by people who have not read him but by people who haven't watched the movies, etc., or so I suspect. I wouldn't be surprised if the revival of travel writing in the past 40 years or so -- especially the vogue for books about traveling by foot -- has been, sometimes, indirectly influenced by Tolkien. But the story here would be one that's hard to pin down.
 
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BAYLOR

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As a footnote to my old posting -- I'd go so far as to say that, to the degree that it had any influence in the first place, Howard's example tended to restrict one's understanding of what fantasy could be. That is, from Howard you would get the idea that fantasy is almost nothing but quick escapism. To read Howard with enjoyment, you have to read him as escapist entertainment; otherwise you will get bogged down in how perfunctory his nomenclature is ("Thag" and names obviously lifted from history), how reliant on stereotypes about relations between the sexes or between ethnic groups he is, how hasty his plotting is liable to be, and so on. Writers of fantasy who were familiar with Howard and had enjoyed his yarns had to realize that fantasy could be much, much more than this.

Conversely, Tolkien's example showed that fantasy could connect with perennial human concerns in ways that enriched one's inner world. I do believe that, if it could be written, an account of the change of consciousness towards the nonhuman world (="nature") that has developed in modern times is indebted to Tolkien as well as other writers. People's experience of the natural world is actually different from what it would otherwise be because Tolkien's fantasy gets under the skin. This author -- certainly a conservative -- is, if you like, a revolutionary, in that sense, someone who changed minds -- and (unlike most revolutionaries) in wholly beneficial ways. By now his influence is felt not only by people who have not read him but by people who haven't watched the movies, etc., or so I suspect. I wouldn't be surprised if the revival of travel writing in the past 40 years or so -- especially the vogue for books about traveling by foot -- has been, sometimes, indirectly influenced by Tolkien. But the story here would be one that's hard to pin down.

When Howard created his Hyborian age, essay and map , he borrowed from history and did some reimagining , rearranging and mixing . It's jumbled combination of a great many eras . Rome, Greece , Egypt, The Middle Ages, The Vikings, the Imperial dynasties of China in a different form. It's nowhere near Middle earth in terms everything. Howard's Hyborian is simple by comparison and, in the context of the type stories he was writing, simple worked best. I doubt Howard could have constructed anything approaching middle Earth , it was beyond him. But that said, I think Howard would have marveled at Middle Earth, history and detail.
 
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