Wednesday, November 28, 2012

44. Ace Conan #2.8, The Snout in the Dark by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague Decamp

Conan, now in Meroe the Capital city of Kush, fresh from his adventures in the southern black kingdoms, rescues a queen named Tananda. It seems that Tananda is the cuase of some ire for a dark wizard who is using a conjuration to eliminate political prisoners and then blaming the deaths on the queen. Conan of course can't help but get involved and soon finds himself a captain of the queen's guard. He helps interrogate a suspicious nemedian slave girl before eventually unraveling the plot against the queen.  Conan and the slave girl are nearly killed, but the conjured creature is gravely wounded and returns to it's master, alerting a large crowd of who is behind the killings in the process. Soon a rebellion is rocking the city of Meroe, and Conan and the slave girl decide to leave town.

This is an attempt by DeCamp to finish an REH fragment, I'm not sure how much is which writer, and to be honest it's pretty mediocre. It really rounds off the bulk of this particular book which isn't really that great of a representation of REH's Conan at his best. It contains quite a few stories where Conan either espouses some very nasty opinions, threatens nefarious deeds, or simply runs away in a rather un Conan-like manner. That being said this volume of the ACE series does contain what is one of the BEST Conan, and possibly REH stories ever, Queen of the Black Coast. The rest function more as an Anchor attempting to drag down QotBC than anything else.

Up next, Conan the Gladiator by Leonard Carpenter


Anonymous said...


Enjoying the blog very much; I notice you're not much of a de Camp fan, either. Have you seen this?

Lagomorph Rex said...

I sure have, and it definitely coloured my opinion of the man's dealings with REH. However, that said, I actually LIKE a lot of DeCamp's writing independent from Conan. I even like some of his Conan stories, But I feel that a lot of them weren't done with any sort of actual love of REH or Conan in mind, but were done in the same vein that most of the worst TOR novels were made. That is to say, to turn a profit rather than produce a worthwhile product.

I try to draw a middle line when it comes to DeCamp, I feel his edits and re-writers were mostly un-needed, and a lot of his pastiche was not so much as bad as it was lazy and repetitive. On the other hand, I feel his attempts to market Conan are admirable in the fact that it was his idea to re-publish them in a way that would appeal to the audiences of the day, that is, as a series. Now, I'm not going to attempt to say if he did this purely to make money, or becuase he legitimately sought to get REH back in print.. I'll let the rest of the evidence speak for itself on that. But I do appreciate him doing it regardless of motive, since I doubt without him, we would have gotten the Marvel Comics, Movies, Toys, or long lasting legacy.. regardless of what evidence may be to the contrary.. there is a reason no one really knows who Kull, Bran Mak Morn, Solomon Kane or Kirby O'Donnel are.. they didn't have a person working to turn the character into an Icon in the same way as Conan did.. and part of that is due to Carter & Decamp.

So yeah, I feel towards him roughly the same way I feel towards August Derleth in regards HP Lovecraft.