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Friday, January 29, 2010

Accountability

In an effort to get myself posting on this thing a little more, I'm going to make a list of the books on my review table. Maybe that will help get me going a bit...

So, to review
  • Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere: An Illustrated Introduction 
  • Conan and the Emerald Lotus 
  • Living the Martial Way : A Manual for the Way a Modern Warrior Should Think
  • Mastery of Hand Strength 
  • Northlanders Vol. 2: The Cross + The Hammer
  • Sharpening the Warrior's Edge
Some of those belong on both blogs, some just on one. Either way, I need to get to it.

Kull: Exile of Atlantis

Kull: Exile of Atlantis
Robert E. Howard

I have not forgotten about this blog, I've just been really behind on my reviews. I'll do my best to catch up. Really, I should just start posting on this thing more, but with another blog and an examiner column going, among other things, it's tough to stay on top of it all.



In fairness to myself, part of the delay on this one was that I wanted to be able to find something interesting to say about these stories beyond "they're really good" and "I liked them". I'm not sure I've come up with anything better than that, but here goes.

For those who don't know: Kull was a character created by Robert E Howard prior to his creation of his better known Conan. In many ways, Kull is a bit of a proto-Conan: a barbarian who eventually becomes king of the most powerful civilized nation of his time (an interesting side note-in the Kull stories, Atlantis is the barbarian land, NOT the height of civilization. That presumably happens later).

Unlike Conan, whose adventures we see over the course of his life, all of Kull's adventures take place after he has become king. And he has some very strange and unusual adventures, battling with shape-shifting serpent men, murderous conspiracies, wizards, and the living embodiment of silence. Seriously. The living embodiment of silence. I told you some of them were weird.

Readers expecting mindless hack-and-slash fantasy (or worse, a character resembling Kevin Sorbo) will be disappointed. Kull is actually a very philosophical character, given as much to thinking about the nature of his foes as he is hacking them to bits. There is more depth in these stories (and, indeed, in all of REH's work) than the stereotype would hold. That is not a bad thing, by any means. Quite the opposite. These stories are engaging and thoughtful in a way that few would expect by glancing at the cover.

Fans of REH, or of Conan, would be well advised to pick up this book. Kull is much more than a prototype--he's a carefully crafted, fully realized character who stands well on his own.