Conan the Swordsman

Conan the Swordsman is a collection of seven fantasy short stories and associated pieces written by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter and Björn Nyberg featuring Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was first published in paperback by Bantam Books in August 1978,[1][2] and reprinted in 1981.[1] Later paperback editions were issued by Ace Books (April 1987 and March 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in December 2002.[2] The first British edition was issued by Sphere Books in 1978.[1] The book has also been translated into Italian[1] and French.[2] It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, January 2004).[2]

Conan the Swordsman
Conan the Swordsman
Cover of first edition
AuthorL. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter and Björn Nyberg
IllustratorTim Kirk
Cover artistDarral Greene
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SeriesConan the Barbarian
GenreSword and sorcery
PublisherBantam Books
Publication date
1978
Media typePrint (paperback)
Pages274 pp
ISBN0-553-12018-2
OCLC4173748

Contents

Plot summary

The seven short stories collected as Conan the Swordsman are set at various points of Conan's career, from his youth as a raider in the north to his maturity as a general in the kingdom of Aquilonia. The two associated non-fiction pieces by de Camp are on the Conan saga in general and the derivation of the names used by Howard for constructing the fictional "Hyborian Age" setting of the Conan stories.

Chronologically, the seven stories supplement the tales in the twelve volume Lancer/Ace Conan series, falling into the period covered by Conan through Conan the Warrior.

Reception

Don D'Ammassa, while noting that "Robert E. Howard's Conan is ... the archetypal barbarian fantasy hero," and his "original stories remain the best examples of that form," felt this collection "contains some of the best examples of stories inspired by the unchallenged master" with "several good stories ... most notably "The People of the Summit" and "Shadows in the Dark", as well as a very extensive index to Hyborian names and an essay on the saga, both by De Camp."[3]

Harriet Klausner in MBR Bookwatch called the book "a marvelous short story collection" and "wonderful anthology" of "delightful" stories in which "[e]ach story holds its own with the overall Conan mythos and most add depth to the celebrated character and his world." She singles out "Legions of the Dead" as "[e]specially good" and de Camp's introductory essay as "[e]qually fascinating to readers" for "provid[ing] plenty of insight into Conan and his world as well as Robert E. Howard."[4]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Laughlin, Charlotte; Daniel J. H. Levack (1983). De Camp: An L. Sprague de Camp Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood/Miller. p. 42.
  2. ^ a b c d Conan the Swordsman title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  3. ^ D'Ammassa, Don. "Conan the Swordsman" (review) in Science Fiction Chronicle, v. 24, iss. 8, August 2002, pages 36-37, and on Critical Mass).
  4. ^ Klausner, Harriet. "Klausner's Bookshelf. Conan the Swordsman" (review) in MBR Bookwatch, v. 2, no. 1, January 2003.

References

Preceded by
none
Bantam Conan series
(publication order)
Succeeded by
Conan the Liberator
1978 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1978.

Akivasha

Akivasha is a female character appearing in the fictional universe of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian.

Björn Nyberg

Björn Emil Oscar Nyberg (11 September 1929 – 16 November 2004), was a Swedish fantasy author best known for his additions to the series of Conan stories begun by Robert E. Howard. His primary contribution to the series was The Return of Conan (1957), which was revised for publication by L. Sprague de Camp. He lived in France.

Conan (books)

The Conan books are sword and sorcery fantasies featuring the character of Conan the Cimmerian originally created by Robert E. Howard. Written by numerous authors and issued by numerous publishers, they include both novels and short stories, the latter assembled in various combinations over the years by the several publishers. The character has proven durably popular, resulting in Conan stories being produced after Howard's death by such later writers as Poul Anderson, Leonard Carpenter, Lin Carter, L. Sprague de Camp, Roland J. Green, John C. Hocking, Robert Jordan, Sean A. Moore, Björn Nyberg, Andrew J. Offutt, Steve Perry, John Maddox Roberts, Harry Turtledove, and Karl Edward Wagner. Some of these writers finished incomplete Conan manuscripts by Howard, or rewrote Howard stories which originally featured different characters. Most post-Howard Conan stories, however, are completely original works. In total, more than fifty novels and dozens of short stories featuring the Conan character have been written by authors other than Howard. This article describes and discusses notable book editions of the Conan stories.

Conan and the Spider God

Conan and the Spider God is a fantasy novel by American writer L. Sprague de Camp featuring Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was first published in paperback by Bantam Books in December 1980; later paperback editions were issued by Ace Books (April 1989, reprinted August 1991) and Tor Books (June 2003). The first hardcover edition was issued by Robert Hale in 1984, and the second by Tor Books in 2002. It was later gathered together with Conan the Swordsman and Conan the Liberator into the omnibus trade paperback collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).Conan and the Spider God is the only fictional Conan work credited solely to de Camp; his other Conan stories being collaborations with Howard (posthumously), Lin Carter, and Björn Nyberg. De Camp also wrote numerous non-fiction pieces about Conan and Howard, both alone and with others.

Conan the Barbarian

Conan the Barbarian (also known as Conan the Cimmerian) is a fictional sword and sorcery hero who originated in pulp fiction magazines and has since been adapted to books, comics, several films (including Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer), television programs (cartoon and live-action), video games, role-playing games, and other media. The character was created by writer Robert E. Howard in 1932 in a series of fantasy stories published in Weird Tales magazine.

Conan the Liberator

Conan the Liberator is a fantasy novel by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, featuring Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was first published in paperback by Bantam Books in February 1979, and reprinted in 1982; later paperback editions were issued by Ace Books (July 1987 and April 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in June 2002; a trade paperback followed from the same publisher in 2003. The first British edition was from Sphere Books (July 1987). The novel was later gathered together with Conan the Swordsman and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).Howard himself never wrote the tale of this turning point of Conan's life, when, starting as wandering mercenary and pirate, he became a king. The only detail provided in the canonical Howard stories is that Conan strangled Numedides on his own throne and then crowned himself with the dead King's crown. Carter and de Camp, filling in this link in Conan's career, show that a prolonged, arduous military campaign was needed before he got to this point, that there were many setbacks and moments when all seemed lost. Also, while Conan's own courage and perseverance played a crucial role, his success also owed a great deal to a band of loyal and dedicated companions, some of whom did not survive to see the final victory.

Hyborian Age

The Hyborian Age is the fictional period within the artificial mythology created by Robert E. Howard in which the sword and sorcery tales of Conan the Barbarian are set.

The word "Hyborian" is derived from the legendary northern land of the ancient Greeks, Hyperborea, and is rendered as such in the earliest draft of Howard's essay "The Hyborian Age." Howard described the Hyborian Age taking place sometime after the sinking of Atlantis and before the beginning of recorded ancient history. Most later editors and adaptors such as L. Sprague de Camp and Roy Thomas placed the Hyborian Age around 10,000 BC. More recently, Dale Rippke proposed that the Hyborian Age should be placed further in the past, around 32,500 BC, prior to the beginning of the last glacial period. Rippke's date, however, has since been disputed by Jeffrey Shanks who argues for the more traditional placement at the end of the ice age.Howard had an intense love for history and historical dramas; however, at the same time, he recognized the difficulties and the time-consuming research needed in maintaining historical accuracy. By conceiving a timeless setting – a vanished age – and by carefully choosing names that resembled our history, Howard avoided the problem of historical anachronisms and the need for lengthy exposition.

Legions of the Dead

"Legions of the Dead" is a short story by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, featuring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard. In the opinion of de Camp critic Morgan Holmes, Catherine Crook de Camp may have had a hand in the writing as well. It was first published by Bantam Books in the paperback collection Conan the Swordsman in August 1978. Later paperback editions of the collection were issued by Ace Books (1987 and 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in 2002. The book has also been translated into Italian. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).

Lin Carter

Linwood Vrooman Carter (June 9, 1930 – February 7, 1988) was an American author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an editor, poet and critic. He usually wrote as Lin Carter; known pseudonyms include H. P. Lowcraft (for an H. P. Lovecraft parody) and Grail Undwin. He is best known for his work in the 1970s as editor of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, which introduced readers to many overlooked classics of the fantasy genre.

Moon of Blood

"Moon of Blood" is a short story by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, featuring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard. It was first published by Bantam Books in the paperback collection Conan the Swordsman in August 1978. Later paperback editions of the collection were issued by Ace Books (1987 and 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in 2002. The book has also been translated into Italian. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).

Sagas of Conan

Sagas of Conan is a 2004 omnibus collection of three previously issued fantasy books written by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter and Björn Nyberg featuring Robert E. Howard's seminal sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was first published in paperback by Tor Books.

Shadows in the Dark (Conan story)

"Shadows in the Dark" is a short story by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, featuring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard. It was first published by Bantam Books in the paperback collection Conan the Swordsman in August 1978. Later paperback editions of the collection were issued by Ace Books (1987 and 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in 2002. The book has also been translated into Italian. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).

The Gem in the Tower

"The Gem in the Tower" is a short story by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, featuring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard. It is a rewritten version of "Black Moonlight", an earlier story by Carter alone featuring his own sword and sorcery character Thongor (for which see below). The Conan version was first published by Bantam Books in the paperback collection Conan the Swordsman in August 1978, and was reprinted in the anthology The Year's Best Fantasy Stories: 5 (DAW Books, 1980) and later editions of Conan the Swordsman (Ace Books, 1987 and 1991, Tor Books (first hardcover edition), 2002). The collection was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004). The story has also been translated into Italian and French.

The Hyborian Age

The Hyborian Age is an essay by Robert E. Howard pertaining to the Hyborian Age, the fictional setting of his stories about Conan the Cimmerian. It was written in the 1930s but not published during Howard's lifetime. Its purpose was to maintain consistency within his fictional setting.

The Ivory Goddess

"The Ivory Goddess" is a short story by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, featuring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard. According to Morgan Holmes, citing de Camp friend Loay Hall, Carter did none of the writing, and the story was written by de Camp in collaboration with his wife Catherine Crook de Camp. The story was first published by Bantam Books in the paperback anthology Conan the Swordsman in August 1978. Later paperback editions of the collection were issued by Ace Books (1987 and 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in 2002. The book has also been translated into Italian. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004). The story has been translated into Italian.

The People of the Summit

"The People of the Summit" is a short story by Björn Nyberg, subsequently revised by L. Sprague de Camp, featuring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard. Nyberg's version of the story was first published by Lancer Books in the paperback anthology The Mighty Swordsmen in December 1970. The revised version was first published by Bantam Books in the paperback collection Conan the Swordsman in August 1978. Later paperback editions of the collection were issued by Ace Books (1987 and 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in 2002. The book has also been translated into Italian. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).

The Star of Khorala

"The Star of Khorala" is a novella by Björn Nyberg and L. Sprague de Camp, featuring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard. It was first published by Bantam Books in the paperback collection Conan the Swordsman in August 1978. Later paperback editions of the collection were issued by Ace Books (1987 and 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in 2002. The book has also been translated into Italian. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).

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