Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Conan. Conan was created by Robert E. Howard (Pike Bearfield, El Borak, Steve Costigan, De Montour, Breckenridge Elkins, Steve Harrison, Solomon Kane, Kull, Bran Mak Morn, Turlogh O’Brien, Kirby O'Donnell) and appeared in seventeen short stories from 1932 to 1936, beginning with “The Phoenix on the Sword” (Weird Tales, Dec. 1932).
Conan was one of the most influential characters in 20th century popular fiction and virtually created the genre of sword-and-sorcery. Millennia ago, in the Hyborian Age, after the fall of Atlantis, Conan is a barbarian (and later king) from the land of Cimmeria, which now lies beneath the North Sea. Conan is “black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet."
* I've included the Conan stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of the character's archetypal nature, the historical importance of the series, and because they're a whole lot of fun to read. Conan more or less instantly on publication became the archetypal fantasy literature barbarian. He remains such almost a century later, and will no doubt remain such for the foreseeable future, perhaps until the waters of the Gulf Bay finally drown far Cross Plains. Historically, the Conan stories are important because they essentially invented the subgenre of sword-and-sorcery fiction. There were a few predecessors of muted tones and pallid colors, but it was Robert E. Howard and Conan who birthed the real, red-blooded thing. Sword-and-sorcery remains an important part of the genre of fantasy fiction today, although there've been many changes wrung on it in the 90+ years since "The Phoenix on the Sword" debuted. Lastly, the Conan stories are just fun reads if you're into sword-and-sorcery fiction, fantasy fiction, adventure fiction written by a talented naïve Texan author, or simply a rollicking diversion from the cares of the world.
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