FSFH Book Review

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Abnett, Dan
Adams, Douglas
Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto
Allen, Roger MacBride
Allie, Scott
Allston, Aaron
Anderson, Kevin J.
Barclay, James
Barnes, Steven
Baum, L. Frank
Bear, Greg
Bendis, Brian Michael
Bischoff, David
Bisson, Terry
Blackman, Haden
Bova, Ben
Bowen, Carl
Brooks, Terry
Canavan, Trudi
Card, Orson Scott
Chadwick, Paul
Clarke, Arthur C.
Clarke, Susanna
Clemens, James
Collins, Paul
Crichton, Michael
Crispin, A. C.
Cunningham, Elaine
Daley, Brian
David, Peter
DeMatteis, J. M.
Denning, Troy
Dick, Philip K.
Dickens, Charles
Dietz, William C.
Dixon, Chuck
Donaldson, Stephen
Eddings, David
Edginton, Ian
Elrod, P. N.
Erikson, Steven
Feist, Raymond E.
Foster, Alan Dean
Fraction, Matt
Furman, Simon
Gaiman, Neil
Gemmell, David A.
Gerber, Michael
Gibbons, Dave
Golden, Christopher
Goodkind, Terry
Goodwin, Archie
Graham, Mitchell
Grant, Alan
Green, Jonathan
Green, Laurence
Guggenheim, Marc
Hagberg, David
Hambly, Barbara
Hamilton, Laurell K.
Hand, Elizabeth
Harras, Bob
Harrison, Mick
Heinlein, Robert A.
Herbert, Frank
Herbert, James
Hine, David
Hobb, Robin
Howard, Robert E.
Jacques, Brian
James, Charlie Hamilton
Jenkins, Paul
Jeter, K. W.
Johns, Geoff
Jones, J. V.
Jordan, Robert
Jurgens, Dan
Karpyshyn, Drew
Kennedy, Mike
Kerr, Katharine
Keyes, Greg
King, Stephen
King, William
Knaak, Richard A.
Kube-McDowell, Michael P.
Lawhead, Stephen
Layman, John
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Lewis, C. S.
Lieberman, A. J.
Loeb, Jeph
Lorey, Dean
Lowder, James
Luceno, James
Lumley, Brian
Macan, Darko
Manning, Russ
Martin, George R. R.
Marz, Ron
Matheson, Richard
McCaffrey, Anne
McIntosh, Neil
McIntyre, Vonda
Michelinie, David
Millar, Mark
Miller, John Jackson
Miller, Karen
Milligan, Peter
Moench, Doug
Moesta, Rebecca
Moore, Alan
Nicholls, Stan
Nicieza, Fabian
Nylund, Eric
O'Neil, Dennis
Ostrander, John
Paolini, Christopher
Perry, S. D.
Perry, Steve
Pratchett, Terry
Pullman, Philip
Quinn, David
Reaves, Michael
Reed, A. W.
Reed, Brian
Rice, Anne
Richardson, Nancy
Roberts, Adam
Rowe, Matthew
Rowling, J. K.
Rubio, Kevin
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn
Salvatore, R.A.
Shelley, Mary
Shultz, Mark
Simone, Gail
Simonson, Louise
Simonson, Walter
Smith, L. Neil
Spurrier, Simon
Stackpole, Michael A.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Stewart, Sean
Stoker, Bram
Stover, Matthew
Straczynski, J. Michael
Stradley, Randy
Strnad, Jan
Sutcliff, Rosemary
Tolkien, J.R.R.
Traviss, Karen
Truman, Tim
Turtledove, Harry
Tyers, Kathy
van Belkom, Edo
Veitch, Tom
Wagner, John
Watson, Jude
Whitman, John
Williams, Sean
Williams, Tad
Williams, Walter Jon
Windham, Ryder
Wolverton, Dave
Woodring, Jim
Wurts, Janny
Yeovil, Jack
Zahn, Timothy
Collaborations A - F
Collaborations G - M
Collaborations N - R
Collaborations S
Collaborations T - Z
Anthologies A - R
Anthologies S
Anthologies T - Z
Still to come
Reviewing Literature
The Books of Robert E. Howard

Born in Texas in 1906 Robert Ervin Howard was the creator of one of the most enduring characters in fantasy.  Written between 1932 and 1935 for Weird Tales magazine, Howard's stories of Conan the Cimmerian have spawned comics, spin-off novels, cartoons and two movies.  Tragically, Howard committed suicide in June 1936 after learning that his beloved mother had fallen into a terminal coma.

Average Review Score: 4.5 out of 5

The Conan Chronicles Volume 1: The People Of The Black Circle
An omnibus collecting nineteen of Howard's stories of Conan and the Hyborian Age.  Part of the Fantasy Masterworks series, this collection has been arranged according to a rough chronology of Conan's life (as opposed to when they were written) which helps to give the book as whole some structure.  Howard is one of those unfortunate writers (like Bram Stoker) whose work has been so distorted, rehashed and raped over the years that his exceptional talent has fallen by the wayside.  These days when we think of Conan, we think of comics, cartoons and Arnold Schwartzenegger, when we should think of a writer who helped to shape modern fantasy literature.  Howard has a great talent for prose and manages to perfectly evoke crumbling ancient ruins and sinister dark magics.  The reason I've only given this book a rating of four is simply that, due to the nature of the Conan stories, having them collected together makes for fairly repetetive reading.  My recommendation would be to read a story or two at a time, between reading full-length novels.  My favourite story here is definitely 'The Frost-Giant's Daughter'.
4 out of 5
'Of that epoch known by the Nemedian chroniclers as the Pre-Cataclysmic Age, little is known except the latter part, and that is veiled in the mists of legendry.'
The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour Of The Dragon
An omnibus of ten of Howard's stories of the Hyborian Age, this member of the Fantasy Masterworks series picks up where the previous volume left off, telling Conan's stories in chronological order.  A master of telling tales of abandoned temples and ancient cities, Howard diversifies the backgrounds to his stories.  We get several tales of the bitter fighting in the Pictish Wilderness, putting fantasy trappings on the North American frontier wars.  This makes for some great drama, but sadly also leads to some uncomfortable depictions of the Picts, aka the Indians.  However, this new setting leads to Howard's best story, in my opinion, 'Wolves Beyond The Border', which is actually the only story not to directly feature Conan himself.  Speaking of the big brute, this anthology features (I forget in which story) the expression of why Conan has such appeal.  Howard writes that Conan is a man of action, who will move to confront a mysterious sound in the dark rather than flee from the unknown.  It is in this (and his unashamed passions) that Conan touches upon something that resonates within the majority of us, because we are often quite the opposite but wish we weren't.  Also in this anthology, as by his later life Conan has fulfilled his ambition of becoming a King, Howard turns his hand away from pulp fantasy, towards epic fantasy.  The novel-length 'The Hour Of The Dragon' is a brilliant such epic and perfect to end the omnibus with.  With 'The Hour Of The Dragon', Howard shows us just how much promise he had as an author and makes his suicide seem all the more tragic.
5 out of 5
'The woman on the horse reined in her weary steed.'

If you liked Howard:
Then I don't know what to recommend.  I have yet to read anything comparable with Howard's style.

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