Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Episode 25: Our Year With Conan

Art by Boris Valleho

This is it! This week we reflect on our year spent reading the original Conan the Barbarian stories, and what we've learned about Robert E. Howard. These stories are full of passion, action, and adventure! But there is much more to them! If you look closely, you can see fragments of a man's life, his philosophy and outlook, his sense of humor, and yes, perhaps even some of his faults. They are interesting, well written, pulse-pounding adventures that laid the groundwork for the heroic fantasy genre, shades of which can still be seen in the works of modern fantasy authors. It has been so much fun to discover and discuss these stories with you all over the past year, and we greatly look forward to more conversations about the pulp fantasy, horror, and fighting stories of Robert E. Howard as we roll on down the road.

Spend a bit of time reflecting, whenever you read this. Think about Robert E. Howard. When did you discover him? What do his works mean to you? Let us know what you think of Conan. What does this character mean to you? Did we overlook something? We know we left some of the original but unpublished stories behind, but someday we'll revisit those. After a year with Conan, we're ready for some other REH material! Are there stories you're excited for us cover? Let us know!

For now, we leave Conan to his reaving, and depart The Road of Kings to travel for a while along a different path. Season Two of The Cromcast will focus on the heroines of Robert E. Howard's stories. We will post the Road of Queens very soon, and let you know what stories we'll be covering. For next time, the assignment is an exciting pirate story "The Isle of Pirates' Doom", featuring Helen Tavrel, which you can read for free on WikiSource.

Helen Tavrel - Artist unknown
See you on down the road!

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Beginning theme: "Sudden Defeat" by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Ending Theme: Anvil of Crom arranged by Victor de Andres. Found at

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful episode!

    Great picks for favorites! My top3 is ever changing and sometimes it has more than three stories in it. :)

    The Hyborian Age is indeed a living and breathing world. It is a shame that Howard rarely gets any credit as a world builder. He was almost a pioneer in that field. His world comes alive in few stories and is surprisingly consistent despite him churning out the stories as often described. Between the Conan stories and the Hyborian Age essay there is one major timeline inconsistency but it seems that Howard made some revisions to his world's history in his stories and never bothered to change the essay as it was not intended for publification.

    There are numerous small characters that are really good. I agree with you on Taurus and Pelias. I would like throw in the thief Shevatas from beginning of Black Colossus and Kerim Shah from Black Circle It would have been great to read Howard's stories on these characters or any other than Conan. It seems that he himself played with this idea. Several Conan stories do not focus solely Conan like Beyond the Black River and A Witch Shall Be Born. His unfinished "Wolves Beyond the Border" drafts take place in the Pictish frontier and it seems that Conan would have been only a background character if present at all in the story. There are of course those two(?) incarnation stories that seem to take place in the Hyborian Age that do not feature Conan.

    Thank you for the kind words! I should have most of my comments saved. (The comment system sometimes likes to lose your message)

    As for reading material for your next season I would check out the "Feminism and the Women" essay from REH: Two-gun raconteur website and try find out the letter Howard wrote in response to Harold Preece regarding women. It should be found online somewhere. There isn't that much written on the subject as you guys said.