Saturday, April 16, 2011

Placement issues and a first draft of a new Chronlogy

Ok, so I remarked in my review of Conan the Warlord that I felt I had in my grasp a slightly tighter placement of several of the Pastiches.

I wasn't sure at the time if Conan the Outcast could fit into that gap between Conan's transportation to the Shan-e-Sorkh Desert towards the end of Conan the Hunter or not. I went back and looked at it, and I feel thats a perfect place for it. Nestled between Chapters 20 and 21 of Conan the Hunter. However, if you don't put Conan the hunter in the new placement I've got it in, it won't work.

See, in Conan the Outcast, Conan specifically mentions he's heading north to return to Shadizar. on the surface that may not make a lot of sense. But if we look at it that Conan is "Returning to Shadizar" from the time that "Conan the Warlord" is over.. and view Conan the Hunter as a sidetrip.. which it obviously would have been.. then it still works. He simply heads north, goes to Pirogia where he left off and swings east to go back to Zamora.

I'm personally a lot happier having it in this placement, much as I hate it when you shove a book between chapters of another book (I'm looking at you Conan the Rebel) but in this case it works. Conan the Outcast didn't feel right where it was. For one thing theres no explination given why Conan would be way the hell off in the western deserts of Shem in the first place when the last time we saw him he was living it up with the Shanki and reveling in the downfall of the Satrap of Zhamboula at the end of Sword of Skelos. He was hundreds of miles away in the middle of no where during Outcast. But he was right in the perfect place to be returning north from the Shan-e-Sorkh.

So here goes. my first real attempt to take what I've learned so far in the books and put them into a new order. I'm not expecting anyone else to pay my ramblings any attention.. but I like to think I'm trying to be as critical and specific in my deductions as possible. and if you have read these and can point out any thing I've missed or forgotten I would appreciate you pointing them out.

1) Conan the Bold, Conan leaves it to fate to decide his direction at the end. Clearly the reader can infer any direction, I'm inferring north because it's useful to my platform. It also gives a convenient out for any oddities in his knowledge later.

2) "The Frost Giant's Daughter", this is a really tricky one.. but I feel the Conan in it is a young man and is likely still sporting oddments of stuff he looted from Venarium. I like the reasoning put forth on the Conan forum that had it been later in his life.. and he had spent considerable time with the Aesir.. he likely would have known of Atli.

3) "Legions of the Dead" Obvious a very early one, still with the Aesir. Direct Prequel to...

4) "The Thing in the Crypt" Conan makes his escape from the Hyperboreans and heads south.

5) Conan the Defiant, Picks up basically exactly where 'The Thing in the Crypt Leaves off. Conan meets up with a group of people and continues to head south with them in...

6)Conan the Indomitable, By the end of this he's on his own but still heading south.

7) Conan the Free-lance, and Conan the Formidable, Still heading south and east on a rambling pace. Eventually makes it to Shadizar at the end of Formidable.

8) Conan the Magnificent. This features a Conan who seems to be a bit unfamiliar with the ins and outs of society in Shadizar. he's just getting started as a thief. and manages to make some important people angry in the story. Explaining why he is in Arenjun in...

9) "The Tower of the Elephant" where he encounters an extraterrestrial beast and slays the Wizard Yara. which is mentioned several times in the coming stories. First encounter with Nestor the Gunderman.

10) Conan, And the Sorceror, Still in Arenjun, he is set to undertake an errand for another Wizard. He removes a Lich from a gorge in the desert as well and has his first encounter with a Turanian Officer who puts it into his head he should try his hand at soldiering.

11) Conan The Mercenary, Conan journeys to Shadizar to attempt to see the king, this dosen't work so he goes to Khaurun instead where he fulfills his quest. This story also ties into a later one, "A Witch shall be Born".

12) Conan: Sword of Skelos, Conan still cleaning up the last of the messes he's made has another run in with the Turanian captain from earlier and is winds up in Zhamboula

13) Conan the Invincible, Now back in Shadizar, I feel this story is best put here where Robert Jordan had it because it mentions the escapades in the Elephant Tower.

14) "Halls of the Dead" Still in Shadizar, Conan has another encounter with Nestor the Gunderman and eventually decides Shadizar is too hot to stay in and heads west.

15) Conan The Fearless, This pretty closely follows the ending of Halls, Conan is journeying westward to Nemedia.

16) "God in the Bowl" This is one that many chronologies place as the second story, But I think theres nothing wrong with it being here.

17) Conan the Warlord, Obviously has to take place following "bowl". Conan heads to northern Nemedia, and at the end decides to head back to Zamora.

18) Conan the Hunter, Chapters 1-20 Half way back to Zamora he makes the mistake of stopping for a bite and a sup in a tavern in Brythunia and gets drafted into a quest to save the world, this ends with him being transported a thousand miles south into the middle of a desert.

19) Conan the Outcast, during this long and very boring novel, Conan is looking for a Caravan to join on his way north.

20) Conan the Hunter, Chapter 21, After a "Long and very boring" trip north Conan finally returns to Pirogia before continuing on his way to Shadizar through Brythunia and then Corinthia.

21) "Rogues in the House" Conan has an encounter with courtly Politics on the border between Corinthia and Zamora.


Jay said...

Why did William Galen Gray put Conan the Hunter between Conan the Defiant and Conan the Indomitable? Indomitable is obviously a direct sequel to Defiant. There is no place for Hunter to appear between the two. Gray must not have been paying attention when making his timeline, thus compromising much of its credibility.

Jay said...

I just noticed you have God in the Bowl set after Tower of the Elephant. God in the Bowl reads as an earlier story than Tower. Conan is more naive and less patient with civilization than in Tower. (For instance, he tries to shatter a lock to get into the museum, clearly indicating lack of familiarity with civilization and thieving.) He also reacts more primally to the snake monster than to Yag-kosha.

Overall, I have to say based on internal evidence, God is clearly a story set chronologically earlier in Conan's career than Tower.