Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Kull by Robert E. Howard

 

 

 

Welcome to my new blog post series here on Mighty Thor JRS, Definitive Sword and Sorcery. At least what is definitive in my opinion. I will spotlight some of the best authors and books fantasy has ever known. I can’t wait to share these amazing books, authors, and the amazing cover art and artist. For my sixth post I am going to go with Robert E. Howard and his Kull stories.

So yeah Robert E. Howard is basically the most definitive of definitive Sword and Sorcery! Everybody knows Conan, but Kull gets overlooked. Every S&S character gets overlooked next to Conan but hey he is pretty awesome! (More on Conan in my next post). I thought Kull needed some Definitive Sword and Sorcery love!

Before Conan there was Kull. Conan, whose first appearance was in a re-write of a rejected Kull story, probably would never have came about if it were not for Howard’s Kull stories. Kull was born in pre-cataclysmic Atlantis, his tribe was destroyed by a flood while he was still a toddler. Adopted by another surviving tribe before being exiled from Atlantis. Kull went on to become a Slave, pirate, outlaw and gladiator in his adventures. In later stories Kull was a mercenary Soldier, assassin, general, then later leads a revolt to become a king. His first published appearance was “The Shadow Kingdom” in Weird Tales (August, 1929).

Kull, was more introspective than Howard’s subsequent creation, Conan. Kull The former barbarian is often lost in contemplation’s of philosophy. Conan with less philosophy, more action, and more supernatural elements to make it more sale-able became the most popular Robert E. Howard character, but owes much to his direct literary forerunner Kull. Don’t get me wrong I will always love REH’s most popular barbarian, but I always had an affinity for Kull. So do yourself a favor and if you are not already familiar with this other barbarian turned king, go read these amazing stories.

 

As I become more and more disenchanted with modern fantasy and modern fantasy authors, I find myself going back to the books and authors that got me into fantasy in the first place. So I decided to shed some light on these books and authors. I am going to try and do this on a weekly/monthly basis but we will see how it goes.

If you have some comments, suggestions, recommendations, let me know!

Are you are a modern author that writes books/stories like the ones I will spotlight here? Get in touch. I want to work with you and spread the word. There has to be something new out that I can read and love. Short stories, collections, magazines, whatever! Let me know what you got and are working on.

Thanks,

James – Mighty Thor JRS

(mightythorjrs@gmail.com)

 

Check out my other Definitive Sword and Sorcery post:

Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Kane by Karl Edward Wagner

Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Elric by Michael Moorcock

Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser by Fritz Leiber

Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Jirel of Joiry by C. L. Moore

Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Bran Mak Morn by Robert E. Howard

Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Conan by Robert E. Howard

Calling all Sword and Sorcery fans!

Definitive Weird Fiction: Clark Ashton Smith

Definitive Weird Fiction: H.P. Lovecraft

Definitive Heroic Fantasy: The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

Definitive: The John Carter/Martian/Barsoom tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

51MHNVPB6FL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Kull: Exile of Atlantis

by Robert E. Howard

Art by Justin Sweet

 

In a meteoric career that spanned a mere twelve years, Robert E. Howard single-handedly invented the genre that came to be called sword and sorcery. From his fertile imagination sprang some of fiction’s most enduring heroes. Yet while Conan is indisputably Howard’s greatest creation, it was in his earlier sequence of tales featuring Kull, a fearless warrior with the brooding intellect of a philosopher, that Howard began to develop the distinctive themes, and the richly evocative blend of history and mythology, that would distinguish his later tales of the Hyborian Age.

Much more than simply the prototype for Conan, Kull is a fascinating character in his own right: an exile from fabled Atlantis who wins the crown of Valusia, only to find it as much a burden as a prize.

23384d341a8f0afcd44e7b8b43646c0d--robert-e-howard-robert-richardThis groundbreaking collection, lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist Justin Sweet, gathers together all Howard’s stories featuring Kull, from Kull’s first published appearance, in “The Shadow Kingdom,” to “Kings of the Night,” Howard’s last tale featuring the cerebral swordsman. The stories are presented just as Howard wrote them, with all subsequent editorial emendations removed. Also included are previously unpublished stories, drafts, and fragments, plus extensive notes on the texts, an introduction by Howard authority Steve Tompkins, and an essay by noted editor Patrice Louinet.

“Howard was a true storyteller–one of the first, and certainly among the best, you’ll find in heroic fantasy. If you’ve never read him before, you’re in for a real treat.”
–Charles de Lint

“For stark, living fear . . . what other writer is even in the running with Robert E. Howard?”
–H. P. Lovecraft

“Robert E. Howard had a gritty, vibrant style–broadsword writing that cut its way to the heart, with heroes who are truly larger than life.”
–David Gemmell

 

kull-paperback-cover

 

c9eef3d5bdeb0a375f37354d9f625cef--fiction-books-pulp-fiction

 

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Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936) was an American author who wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. He is well known for his character Conan the Barbarian and is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre.

Howard was born and raised in Texas. He spent most of his life in the town of Cross Plains with some time spent in nearby Brownwood. A bookish and intellectual child, he was also a fan of boxing and spent some time in his late teens bodybuilding, eventually taking up amateur boxing. From the age of nine he dreamed of becoming a writer of adventure fiction but did not have real success until he was 23. Thereafter, until his death at age 30, Howard’s writings were published in a wide selection of magazines, journals, and newspapers, and he had become successful in several genres. Although a Conan novel was nearly published in 1934, his stories never appeared in book form during his lifetime. The main outlet for his stories was the pulp magazine Weird Tales.

In the pages of the Depression-era pulp magazine Weird Tales, Howard created Conan the Barbarian. With Conan and his other heroes, Howard created the genre now known as sword and sorcery, spawning many imitators and giving him a large influence in the fantasy field. Howard remains a highly read author, with his best works still reprinted.

 

 


 

 

 

 

25 thoughts on “Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Kull by Robert E. Howard

  1. Pingback: Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Bran Mak Morn by Robert E. Howard – Mighty Thor JRS – Fantasy Book News & Reviews

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  4. Pingback: Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Elric by Michael Moorcock – Mighty Thor JRS – Fantasy Book News & Reviews

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  6. Pingback: Calling all Sword and Sorcery fans! – Mighty Thor JRS – Fantasy Book News & Reviews

  7. Good post, man. I get what you’re saying about modern fantasy. I used to read nothing but fantasy fiction, but then, I don’t know? I find a lot of newer books can be pretty convoluted, feature too many characters and, to be honest, are too damn long. These days when I do look to reading the genre, I tend to go with re-reads of the classics. They just seem to have an essence about them that I find missing from many newer books these days. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Robert E Howard is by far the best, most intense fantasy writer of all time. He is my favorite writer and my chief inspiration for the work and world that i have created. Kull is just solid work from a solid writer. To say that he inspired my work is to say the sky is vast and blue. When you read his work you can smell the sweat, feel the humidity against the skin. I can fan boy over Howard all day. He taught us all how to do it. Howard is the grandfather of fantasy and most have never heard of him. He did a lot with his fantasy heroes, but he did some horror work that should be recognized as well. Howard is the only Conan that i will read. No one else has done the character any justice. In my opinion the Conan movies featuring Arnold are trash. Conan was so much more than a buff guy. He was subtle as well. Agile in mind and body. He worked as a thief, a barbarian and a pirate. Arnold was never able to capture that subtiity because he could barely speak the language. The new Conan is my favorite, and in my opinion a more accurate Conan than Arnold ever was. But he will never see a second movie. There is a moment in that movie where he is standing with a bloody sword staring at his enemy and he takes the bloody sword and smears it down his face as he roars. That is Howardisc. That is Conan, but there is another part of the movie where he tumbles rocks on his enemies to cause confusion before he charges. Perfect. When i studied Howard in college they said that no writer has captured that level of intensity in their work since. I agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Conan by Robert E. Howard – Mighty Thor JRS – Fantasy Book News & Reviews

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  13. Pingback: Definitive Heroic Fantasy: The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson – Mighty Thor JRS – Fantasy Book News & Reviews

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