Ep4 – Compare and Contrast: The People of the Black Circle vs Conan the Buccaneer

Concerned about just creating a shallow expression of the genre, and wanting to better understand what he likes about sword & sorcery before going further in outlining “Untitled Sword & Sorcery Novel”, Oliver compares and contrasts Robert E. Howard’s The People of the Black Circle with Lin Carter & L. Sprague De Camp’s Conan the Buccaneer to see what he can learn from it. You, dear listener, may wish to read the former (available for free online), but absolutely don’t have to in order to enjoy this episode. 

Choose wisely…

In the listener question segment Oliver speaks more about anxieties that have made writing difficult, and how he overcomes them (most of the time). At the absolute end of the episode, Oliver also reads his favourite scene from People.

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  1. L. Sprague de Camp is known for his own science fiction AND his Conan continuations. His SF is classic stuff: Lest Darkness Fall, The Wheels of If, Rogue Queen. and his own excursions into S & S: the Harold Shea stories written in collaboration with Fletcher Pratt. All really good stuff. De Camp’s involvement with Conan is a controversial tempest in a teapot. De Camp started his involvement with Conan in the 1950s. Gnome Press published a series of hardcover books with contributions by de Camp years before the Lancer series began. Rewriting unsold stories and turning them into marketable ones just made good sense. The first Conan story was a rewritten King Kull story. REH turned two unsold Conan stories into a pirate tale and an a generic barbarian tale. De Camp turning unsold El Borak stories into Conan tales was simply a smart decision. Once the Gnome series was over, de Camp’s belief in the character’s appeal took him to Lancer Books where he turned REH and Conan into series that sold in the millions. Great job by my account.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh for sure! My apologies if I made it sound like this was the sum total of De Camp’s literary contributions. I’ve also enjoyed checking out some of his non-fiction, historical texts.


  2. There is always a ton of showing vs. telling in these old stories; weak PoV’s. I reckon it’s the imagery that sticks with folks.


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