Saturday, April 28, 2012
This is, much like the earlier "The Thing in the Crypt" is, essentially a much abridged re-write, courtesy of L. Sprague Decamp (Who's hallmarks are all over this story), of one of Lin Carter's unpublished Thongor stories. In this case, "The Demon of the Snows" which is contained in "The Year's best Fantasy stories #6". This series, which Lin Carter edited, contains a number of Thongor Stories which were mined for components to make Conan Pastiches. Personally I found Carter's original story, to easily be the better of the two. Unfortunately for DeCamp, his style of writing, often twee and very tweedy, just doesn't fit the style which REH developed and Lin Carter can sometimes manage to emulate. Combining DeCamp's ludicrously professorial tone, E.G. having Conan discuss evolution and comparative religion or multiplication tables in the midst of an action scene, are extremely jarring when they pop up in one of the DeCamp edited REH stories. But they are extremely detrimental to the health of the stories penned by a weaker writer such as Carter. Over all, not a bad story, but it's just an A-Incident-B story used to bridge a gap, and that pretty much shows.
Friday, April 27, 2012
I feel that for the purposes of this Chronology which we are following, Conan is still, despite all of his adventures, a fairly young man. He is also a very frustrated man. For a brief re-cap of the last few volumes, Having allowed his appetites, fists and mouth to get him into trouble in Turan, and cost him his captaincy in the Turanian Army, Conan headed west and north for many days, eventually traveling back into his native Cimmeria. Finding the welcome not quite what he expected, and finding that the looming troubles of the south had even managed to follow him there, Conan has set off north once more, Intent on visiting the Aesir whom he had adventured with so much earlier in the series. "The Frost Giant's Daughter" - By Robert E. Howard, picks up some time after this revelrie. The Aesir + Conan have gone out to raid their perpetual enemies, the Vanir. In the process, Conan is tempted by the daughter of the frost giants, and allows his lust and anger at her to nearly lead him to his death at the hands of her brothers.
The story is something of an oddity in itself. It was rejected by Weird Tales on first publication, so Howard re-wrote the story to feature a character named Amra of Akbitana and re-submitted it under the name of 'Gods of the north'. Needless to say, this story is probably one of the most anthologized Conan stories now, even though, in my opinion, it doesn't really do a whole lot for his image, and actually goes some way towards the common (commonly wrong!) assumption that Conan is just a rampaging death machine like some sort of prehistoric Hulk. This is perhaps why I prefer this later placement, it allows for his shift in attitude to be explained by the hardships and frustrations which he has faced during his trip back north.
I'm not going to go into any more detail about the story itself, if you are a Conan fan and you haven't read this story yet, then clearly you need to rectify this oversight. It's been adapted by Marvel (Multiple times), Dark Horse, and is contained in its original form in the following:
The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian: The Original Adventures of the Greatest Sword and Sorcery Hero of All Time! by Robert E. Howard
So instead of boring you with a review of something about 90% of my readers have read already, lets just listen to some music instead.