John C. Wright on the Genius of Robert E. Howard

Fascinating essay:

Conan is somewhat more deep and complex than the cartoon image of a brute in a bearskin loincloth found the popular imagination, with a dancing girl clutching his brawny thigh and a devil-beast dying under his bloody ax. The theme and philosophy he represents is not the product of adolescent neurosis (as certain bitter critics would have us believe) but of somber, even cynical, reflection on the age of the world, the costs of civilization, and the frailty of man.

You really have to read the original Conan stories to understand what there was about the character and the stories he enlivened to make him still a household name, 80 years later. For my part, the more I have read them, the more I have come to appreciate the vitality of them, and the flexibility of the character:

Conan is, in Wright’s estimation, a product of Theosophy’s pagan theories of eternal recursion:

the world of successive cataclysms captures the grim mood of the Hindu mystic, where a Kali Yuga routinely wipes out all life in the universe, only to have it start again. The Ecpyrosis of the Roman Stoics was the same idea, and said the whole cosmos periodically burned to ash and was reborn. And the successive destructions whispered in Aztec legends, where different generations of man and god alike are obliterated, all these and others capture the pagan spirit and atmosphere needed for the Hyborian Age of Conan.

In this way, Conan is something like an avatar of Shiva, or at the very least of Ares, the Greek troublemaker and brawler.

I recently picked up Wright’s Count to a Trillion, the start of one of his spacefaring trilogies. I haven’t cracked it open yet, but I hope to soon.

Read the Whole Thing, obviously

I Get Reviews, But Not Paperbacks

LastTomorrow3I don’t know who this person is (an anonymous Kindle Customer), but they had this to say about The Party at the Last Tomorrow:

on November 10, 2017
Well written. Muse is Everyman on a subterranean journey. Clever use of language to create a world to fear and dread.

That’s a solid summation of what I was going for.

In other news, I have been trying for a week to get Last Tomorrow available on Paperback, and I’m having no luck. Every time I set it up, the thing goes into review, and then I get an email from Amazon saying I need to fix this issue before I can go live, and then the paperback goes back into draft form. The claimed issue is:

Text on the cover is outside of the live graphics area

I am completely confused as to what that means. There’s a link that goes to their help files, which are way too general to be helpful. I assumed that to mean my cover was too big, as I’m using the same cover image as for the ebook, only set on the front cover area. So I resized it. Still the same issue. I’m starting to think it’s some kind of bug. I’ve sent Amazon a help request, we’ll see what happens.

“I turn the wheel that spins. I delight to see the high come down and the low ascend. Mount up, if thou wilt, but only on condition that thou wilt not think it a hardship to come down when the rules of my game require it.”

-Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy

Five Things I Learned in the Age of the Typewriter

This is essentially my philosophy. And I too got started on a typewriter…

Kobo Writing Life

by Barbara G. Tarn

Next year I’ll celebrate 40 years of stories. I stopped counting before the indie revolution and I was already over 500 titles, with less than 10 unfinished.

Before you ask: yes, they suck. No, I will never publish most of those stories, although I did throw the very first in a couple of books, because I wanted to show bad writing and I didn’t know how to show that except by using my own beginner writing.

I’m not even rewriting most of those stories, just keeping them as background or world-building if it’s SFF, especially if I wrote them last century. Of course all were unpublished, since I started putting my work out there only in 2011 and joined KWL at its inception in 2012.

Barbara’s global sales via her Kobo Writing Life Dashboard map #KWLMap

So, what did I learn at the time of the…

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