What do you guys think is the best Conan story? At least among Howard's originals.
I just started reading them and I'm pleasantly surprised. The world is realistic, vivid, and interesting; the characters and their motivations are well thought out, Conan isn't just a stupid killing machine as he is often depicted, and the stories provoke some interesting questions relating to barbarism and society.
"The Pool of the Black One" has been my favorite ever since I read it. It goes Full Lovecraft and actually has Conan sail to an entire other realm populated by inhuman monsters. Plus he kills a man just so he can steal his woman. It's fantastic.
I really like how many of the stories aren't as formulaic as you'd expect. Quite a few of them deviate from the standard recipe.
Most of the formulaic ones only existed because Weird Tales often wouldn't purchase the ones that were too different, Weird Tales being Howard's primary source of income.
This, while not OP's criteria. The sheer amount of violence is superb. But the overall story is quite enjoyable.
I always liked Red Nails and Beyond the Black River the most. But you're right OP, Howard was pretty much convinced that most of history was a steady movement from barbarism to civilization, with certain civilizations regressing, or failing to progress at all.
The Tower of the Elephant is my second-favorite of all the Conan stories. How everything worked out was just so satisfying.
>But you're right OP, Howard was pretty much convinced that most of history was a steady movement from barbarism to civilization, with certain civilizations regressing, or failing to progress at all.
He wrote in a letter to H.P. Lovecraft that he thought barbarism was the natural state of man and that all societies would eventually collapse. It's kind of similar to the communist viewpoint on capitalism, not that Howard was a communist.
Lovecraft's view was different: he thought society/civilization was the end goal of humanity and that humanity would never regress.
I think that both of their respective viewpoints can both be seen in their works.
It's funny how his arm is almost as big as his waist in this picture.
I guess it's not that farfetched, considering Arnold's arm size at his peak was 22 inches and his waist size was only 30 or 31 inches or something like that.