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Thongor! Brak! Lankar! Kothar!


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Haha, this is great stuff!

He was a magnificent lion of a man, with the broad shoulders and mighty chest and splendid thews of some savage gladiator. His grim dark face was impassive, expressionless, but under his black scowling brows his strange gold eyes blazed lion-like.

So, is his face expressionless or is it scowling? Or is grim and scowling considered expressionless for Thongor?

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Future Reading for Brucedonner:

1. Jandar of Callisto (1972)

2. Black Legion of Callisto (1972)

Callisto Volume 1 (2000 - omnibus including Jandar of Callisto and Black Legion of Callisto)

3. Sky Pirates of Callisto (1973)

4. Mad Empress of Callisto (1975)

5. Mind Wizards of Callisto (1975)

6. Lankar of Callisto (1975)

7. Ylana of Callisto (1977)

8. Renegade of Callisto (1978)


* Conan (1967) (with Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp)

* Conan of the Isles (1968) (with L. Sprague de Camp)

* Conan the Wanderer (1968) (with Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp) [O/N+ Conan the Adventurer (Howard & de Camp) + Conan the Buccaneer (Carter & de Camp);= The Conan Chronicles 2 (1990)]

* Conan of Cimmeria (1969) (with Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp) [O/2N+ Conan the Freebooter (Howard & de Camp);= The Conan Chronicles (1989)]

* Conan the Buccaneer (1971) (with L. Sprague de Camp)

* Conan of Aquilonia (1977) (with L. Sprague de Camp)

* Conan the Swordsman (1978) (with L. Sprague de Camp and Björn Nyberg)

* Conan the Liberator (1979) (with L. Sprague de Camp)

* Conan the Barbarian (1982) (with L. Sprague de Camp)

* Sagas of Conan (2004) (with L. Sprague de Camp and Björn Nyberg)

* Flashing Swords! #1 (1973)

* Flashing Swords! #2 (1973)

* Flashing Swords! #3: Warriors and Wizards (1976)

* Flashing Swords! #4: Barbarians and Black Magicians (1977)

* Flashing Swords! #5: Demons and Daggers (1977)

And if you really haven't read the genre then move on to:

* A Princess of Mars (1912) (Project Gutenberg Entry: [2]) (LibriVox.org MP3 recording [3])

* The Gods of Mars (1914) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[4]) (LibriVox.org MP3 recording [5])

* The Warlord of Mars (1918) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[6]) (AudioBooksForFree.com MP3 recording [7])

* Thuvia, Maid of Mars (1920) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[8]) (AudioBooksForFree.com MP3 recording [9])

* The Chessmen of Mars (1922) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[10])

* The Master Mind of Mars (1928) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[11])

* A Fighting Man of Mars (1931) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[12])

* Swords of Mars (1936) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[13])

* Synthetic Men of Mars (1940) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[14])

* Llana of Gathol (1948) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[15])

* John Carter of Mars (1964)

o "John Carter and the Giant of Mars" (1940) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[16]) Actually written by Burroughs's son, John Coleman Burroughs.

o "Skeleton Men of Jupiter" (1942) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[17])

* At the Earth's Core (1914) (Project Gutenberg Entry: [26])

* Pellucidar (1923) (Project Gutenberg Entry: [27])

* Tanar of Pellucidar (1928) (Project Gutenberg Entry: [28])

* Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1929)

* Back to the Stone Age (1937)

* Land of Terror (1944)

* Savage Pellucidar (1963)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter 4, and at last Thongor is on the move. A "slim black galley" is leaving Patanga harbour - I wonder which boat that could be? The sun is also just about to rise, and Carter makes a very big production of this:

Morning mist roiled, thick and white, upon the face of the waters. Stars still burned in the darkness of the sky, but steadily, moment by moment, glory grew brighter in the east and shafts of burning light thrust across the gloom of heaven, driving the stars to rest. And it was day.

Thongor is glad to be back at sea, and, casting aside his velvet robes, has dressed for the occasion:

Black boots clad him to the knee. A loincloth of scarlet hung for his ornate girdle. A broad leathern collar encircled his mighty throat and his bronzed and mighty chest was bare save for the straps of a warrior's trappings. A great black cloak, pinned to the shoulders of the broad collar, with cairngorm broaches (??), swelled with the wind behind him like vast black wings.

Barim is not sure by which title to address him, and tries a few before Thongor sensibly reminds him that, as he's travelling undercover, it might be better to conceal his identity. Barim thinks this is a worthy notion, and they agree to call him by his old pirate name, Black Hawk. Wasn't that the name of his old ship? Must have made for some confusion.

Charn Thovis is also aboard the pirate ship, also in piratical disguise. And again we are reminded of how Charn Thovis rescued Prince Thar from Dalendus Vool, in case we'd missed any of that in the previous two chapters. Come on, Lin, enough with the recaps!

But no, we also now get a potted history of Barim's heritage, and how it links up with Thongor's. Thongor, it turns out, was the last of his clan, called, um, the Black Hawk clan. I get the sense that Carter's not really trying any more. Then they all have some lunch.

Lots of sailing. The lean black galley cleaves through the water like a slashing blade, they pass by various cities... Then it was that Fate took a hand.!!!

Water broke a few hundred yards to port as a great scaled head lit with cold eyes of lambent flame rose above the surface of the Gulf.

Yep, it's our old friend, the dreaded larth. Thongor remembers his previous larth-battle, and wonders how he can escape this time!!

The ship is armed with some catapults, their only defence against the sea monsters. If the catapults fail, they're in some trouble...

But all knew that if the catapults failed , they were lost. For if once the dragon came at the galley itself, sword or spear or war arrow would have little would have little effect upon that terrible reptilian engine of destruction.

Twangg! Twunngg! They fire the catapults! They miss! And the larth is upon them! It eats a few crew members and causes some havoc, while they ineffectually shoot arrows at it. Then it lunges for Thongor!

In a flash he jumps up and lands on its head, sitting astride its neck.

Bright steel flashed ruddy in the sunset flame as the great Valkarthan broadsword swung up - and came slashing down! Fetid reptilian gore oozed down the scaly jaws and the larth was convulsed with the stabbing pain of Thongor's mighty blow.

Thongor hacks at the beast's neck and eventually manages to kill it, but then it sinks into the water and takes him with it! The surviving crew search and search until nightfall, but no sign of Thongor is found.

The waves had swallowed the Warrior of the West, and only the Gods knew whither his indomitable spirit had flown... whether to the cold Shadowlands of the spirit world or the drowned black caverns of the unknown deep.

My money's on the drowned black caverns, personally. But yeah, that's more like it!

This marks the end of "Book 1" - Book 2 up next, called "The Storm Breaks". For reference, we're only actually up to page 39.

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Chapter 5: Red Wolf of Tarakus

I notice that the chapter numbering continues, even though we're technically on "Book 2". I don't think Mr Carter has really thought this one through.

For days and nights beyond counting, Karm Karvus had lain in the foul dungeons beneath the towering bulk of the Pirate City, and he hungered for freedom. Freedom and - revenge!

Beyond counting? Last I heard, his ship was only lost 3 days ago (plus the day it took for Barim Redbeard to get to Patanga, and the day of reminiscing about Dalendus Vool, etc). He must be REALLY bad at maths.

But KK is still alive after all! His ship had been attacked by pirates, whose slim black boats had contained an "outlandish contraption".

A fantastic thing it was, all globes of crystal and rods of twinkling brass. But from it struck a weird and terrible beam of gray light... colourless light that twisted the sight away and held under some hypnotic fascination the minds of all they who had looked upon it.

Karm Karvus had managed to tear his sight away by sheer force of will (he's been hanging around with Thongor long enough to learn these skills, evidently) but everyone else had just stared at it while the pirates swarmed aboard. Manfully, he'd tried to mount a single-handed defence of the ship, but had inevitably been captured, and then Red Kashtar had ordered all his shipmates to kill each other, which they did. And now he's stuck in a rather nasty prison.

The dungeon cell wherein they had hurled him was dark and clammy and foul with the stench of human droppings and the vile odour of rotten straw wherewith the bare, beslimed stone flags of the floor were strewn. From somewhere in the stone ceiling above, moisture dripped ceaselessly. The slow plink-plink of it went on forever without change, and the monotony thereof drew his nerves taut and quivering.

Wherein? Wherewith? Beslimed? Thereof?

Anyway, he's pretty bored, until at last there came a break in the eternal monotony of his long imprisonment.

(it's still only a few days, right?)

Footsteps approach, and he springs into action, hoping that there will be few enough guards for him to overpower. But no, there are seven, naked cutlasses (of course) in their hands, and 'twould be an act of desperation to fling himself bare-handedly against such a number of armed and ready men.

He is taken into the pirate palace, which is full of treasures just casually strewn about and trampled on, cos pirates are just big slobs really. Their rich clothes are also covered with food stains, ugh! Naturally, we now get to meet the pirate king - no swarthy redbeard this one, instead he's a slim elegant man dressed in stretchy skin-tight red satin. He is dripping with jewels and his face is the "smooth, glossy hue of old parchment". Yes, I'm having trouble picturing that too. His wizard stands beside him, looking quite wizardly.

At length Kashtar smiled and made a mocking little half-bow. His voice was soft and there was laughter in it.

"Well, my lord prince, I trust you have found your quarters suitable, and our hospitality pleasurable?"

Kashtar is every bit the suave villain of cinema legend (his skin-tight scarlet pants notwithstanding) - polite and mocking, with the occasional COLD BLACK FIRE flaring in his eyes every time KK insults him. But what is Kashtar's evil plan??

"You are an old friend of the Lord of Patanga," he purred, "And, I doubt me not, he feels towards you with a warmth of friendship almost worthy of our demands - but not quite. But- when we have in some little measure added to our little collection of the friends of the so-called Lord of the West- "

"Added?" demanded Karm Karvus, hoarsely.

"Aye! now let me see; there is the Prince Ald Turmis of the city of Shembis, and old Barand Thon, lord of Thurdis of the Dragon, and hte young Prince Zul who but last year succeded his elder brother to the throne of Zangabal, and-"

?? So the pirates have been kidnapping all Thongor's mates, so that Thongor will have to, um, hand over his entire kingdom to the Pirate King, or else they'll take their fart gas outlandish contraption of madness to Patanga and make everyone insane...?

FFS. I've seen episodes of Terrahawks with a more sensical plot.

Hands up who reckons that Thongor will free all his mates and then have a super reunion party (full of jolly backslapping about how they defeated Dalendus Vool) before killing all the bad pirates?

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Hands up who reckons that Thongor will free all his mates and then have a super reunion party (full of jolly backslapping about how they defeated Dalendus Vool) before killing all the bad pirates?

Don't be silly - the killing will be before the party.

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  • 8 months later...

Right. It's my 5000th post, and what better use of it than a return to Thongor's mighty adventures? :D

Onwards, to Chapter 6: Dark Wisdom from Earth's Dawn!

Still with Karm Karvus, in his dreadful imprisonment. He's apparently just woken up in an unfamiliar lavish apartment filled with silken drapes and other treasures, after drinking some evidently drugged wine. Sucks to be him?

Hangings adorned the wall and they pictured forth incredible visions, subtly pornographic. On a long low table of hewn and polished marble stood a statue of wrought gold which depicted a young girl copulating with three satyrs.

Um. They "pictured forth"? And if that's what Lin considers subtle pornography, I dread to think what his hardcore stuff is like.

Turns out that KK was drugged by the wizard Belshathla, who (of course) has some kind of Evil Plan.

"The drug in your wine? Twas nothing - a pinch of Rose-of-Dreams, no more. More would have plunged you in a sleep so deep that death itself would not awaken you... and I wanted you alive!"

What sort of voice does Belshathla have, you might be wondering? Well, Mr Carter has that well covered. In the space of a page, we have the following:

"...a harsh, grating voice"

"...the other grated"

"...the rasping tones of [belshathla's] voice"

"in his harsh, metallic voice"

"..., Belshathla harshed" (he harshed? :o)

B is a little pissed off with KK, because sometime in years gone by (around the time Thongor was fighting Black Zaar, in case you were interested, or even if you weren't), he had come to KK's palace to show off his new magic and been given short shrift. KK at first does not remember, but then it all comes back to him.

"...As I recall, I said you were mad to wish to bring to light again the devil-magic of Nianga... that the Gods in their infinite wisdom had crushed all of that accursed realm into ruin, so that the contagion of that evil science might not spread like some terrrible and deadly plague across Lemuria. I also said it was better for Mankind that the devil-machines of darkling Nianga lie forever beneath the dust of the ages and never be brought to the light of day again... yes, I remember that incident well!"

Belshathla is unabashed, and in fact his thin lips writhe in a vulpine leer of gloating triumph. Oh, gods, this prose is so overblown! Anyway, he laboured alone amidst the deathly wastes of that drear and accursed land, and basically uncovered all the evil Niangan magic machines, and he cackles insanely as he describes this, whitish foam bedrabbling the corners of his mouth. :unsure:

KK, being cunning of mind, decides to humour the madman in the hope of drawing out some more information. Belshathla falls for this in less than a paragraph, and starts explaining about all his infernal machines. Apparently the Mind Distorting Lamp is but the least and littlest of all the terrible weapons in the mighty arsenals of God-whelmed and age-forgot Nianga, and the prize weapon is essentially an atomic bomb. Lin Carter gives his readers leave to picture KK's horror for themselves (no, he literally does this).

Belshathla is now, after half a page, so convinced by KK's show of enthusiasm that he decides to show him the arsenal, because nothing delighted him more than to flaunt his science before the humble admiration of one who had once spurned it. Tsk, scientists, eh?

Belshathla's secret lab is, appropriately, down a cavernous staircase in the bowels of the city etc etc, and is full of stalactites, with a gaping chasm down to the roaring waves beneath. Doesn't seem like the ideal scientific environment, but it does contain three things of relevance to the plot - 1) another Mind Ray of Madness contraption, 2) some cages full of mad prisoners and 3) a deadly larth! (who usually gets fed with prisoners when B is done with them).

KK, still in full flattery mode, suggests that B show off his genius by using the Mind Ray on the larth. See what he's trying to do there? B, however, is happy to show off.

The humming sound rose to a maddening whine. Now, from the central globe, a throbbing beam of completely colourless light shone. The cold finger of pallid luminance glowed faintly through the echoing gloom. It stretched from the rocky prominence whereon they stood, probing down into the watery abyss - to bathe the lifted head of the monster reptile full in its flickering beam!

Predictably, larth goes mad, destroys the shit out of everything, including the Mind Ray contraption. Yay! But! The ledge that KK was standing on was also destroyed, and he falls into the thundering maelstrom of battering waves and shattering spray!

Holy God, I had quite forgotten how awful this writing is! I am swamped by lurid adjectives and faux-archaic constructions. The larth gives voice to a thunderous bellow of maniacal frenzy, as its burning eyes flare crimson! The pirates now only have one other such weapon wherewith to imperil the Empire! I dare not even imagine what kind of soundtrack this shit would have, were anyone ever fool enough to make it into a film...

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Page one complete. :stunned:

Page two complete. What's the over/under on how many times this guy gets knocked the fuck out? I'm guessing Thongor has serious brain damage by page 5.

Page three complete. Sweet Jesus.

Page four complete.I feel almost as if I've recovered a bit, largely due to Min having lost her copy of the book in the middle part of this page.

Half way through page five. And, OH GODS A SEQUEL! I may have to have a lie down.

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