As part of my guest blog series I am proud to present another guest blog spot. David Thomas I am very excited andthe blogger behind Conan the Cimmerian Blog (The Rambling Conan Blog)
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Now without further adieu here is David’s awesome guest blog.
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Conan the Cimmerian Blog (The Rambling Conan Blog)
James Allison’s past-lives, revealing more of Conan’s world
by David Thomas
Have you ever wondered what was beyond the seas in Conan’s world?
Well, thanks to the past-life flashbacks of James Allison, a character you may or may not have even heard of, you can get a glimpse of those other parts of the world.
I’ve not read the original Howard fragments of these stories, but only the stories themselves as part of collections. I’m trusting that the names and places are original Howard and not added or changed by the editor. The Æsir stories are The Garden of Fear, The Valley of the Worm, and the Marchers of Valhalla. There are a couple of fragments I have not read.
The James Allison as Æsir stories all feature the yellowed haired barbarians on world spanning treks or drifts. The protagonist has always grown to manhood during these long treks. I’ve seen these stories often placed at the end of the Hyborian Age, but upon rereading them I think they could just as easily have taken place very early during the Age, especially Garden of Fear and Valley of the Worm.
Looking closely at Valley of the Worm gives bits of history of the Hyborian Age. It also has some nice backgrounds on myths and legends. There is definitely Lovecraftian influence here, and more hints that sorcery is not very separate from pre-human, utterly alien technology. Garden of Fear, the lesser of the three stories, has these hints as well.
Some spoilers follow
Marchers of Valhalla is the story that truly gives us a look beyond the seas. Another band of Æsir have travelled the world, this time across a northern ice bridge which brings them to the new continent. We find that descendants of Lemurians, after the cataclysm, built a civilization in the areas around modern Texas and the Gulf. They worship Ishtar, with blood sacrifice, and have grown decadent even while their civilization has fallen to one remaining city. There are painted islanders, probably from the pre-caribbean area, and also from “an unknown tropical mainland far to the south.” The Æsir of the story are not the first to arrive, as a young girl taken slave by “dark-skinned men in galleys”, who may have been Stygians, is there already, the galleys carrying her captive having been blown far off course to the islands with the painted tribes. Finally, there is a Vanir among the painted tribes.
I highly recommend these three stories, for pure pre-history barbarian fun, and for a different glimpse at the Hyborian Age world.
Original post can be found here:
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