[Reading] ➼ Kull: Exile of Atlantis By Robert E. Howard – Uroturk.info
Howard S Writing Seems So Highly Charged With Energy That It Nearly Gives Off Sparks Stephen King Robert E Howard Had A Gritty, Vibrant Style Broadsword Writing That Cut Its Way To The Heart, With Heroes Who Are Truly Larger Than Life David GemmellIn A Meteoric Career That Spanned A Mere Twelve Years, Robert E Howard Single Handedly Invented The Genre That Came To Be Called Sword And Sorcery From His Fertile Imagination Sprang Some Of Fiction S Most Enduring Heroes Yet While Conan Is Indisputably Howard S Greatest Creation, It Was In His Earlier Sequence Of Tales Featuring Kull, A Fearless Warrior With The Brooding Intellect Of A Philosopher, That Howard Began To Develop The Distinctive Themes, And The Richly Evocative Blend Of History And Mythology, That Would Distinguish His Later Tales Of The Hyborian AgeMuch Than Simply The Prototype For Conan, Kull Is A Fascinating Character In His Own Right An Exile From Fabled Atlantis Who Wins The Crown Of Valusia, Only To Find It As Much A Burden As A PrizeThis Groundbreaking Collection, Lavishly Illustrated By Award Winning Artist Justin Sweet, Gathers Together All Howard S Stories Featuring Kull, From Kull S First Published Appearance, In The Shadow Kingdom, To Kings Of The Night, Howard S Last Tale Featuring The Cerebral Swordsman The Stories Are Presented Just As Howard Wrote Them, With All Subsequent Editorial Emendations Removed Also Included Are Previously Unpublished Stories, Drafts, And Fragments, Plus Extensive Notes On The Texts, An Introduction By Howard Authority Steve Tompkins, And An Essay By Noted Editor Patrice Louinet Howard Was A True Storyteller One Of The First, And Certainly Among The Best, You Ll Find In Heroic Fantasy If You Ve Never Read Him Before, You Re In For A Real Treat Charles De Lint For Stark, Living Fear What Other Writer Is Even In The Running With Robert E Howard H P Lovecraft My rating is 3.5 stars Full review to come My main feeling about this one is that I really like Kull and his close companions, but the incomplete stories were difficult to read at times. I first read Howard s Kull stories on a trip home from college one Christmas My brother had picked up a used copy a very used copy of a paperback collection, which was falling apart in my hands as I read.My initial reaction was one of disappointment Perhaps, at that time, I was looking for a Conan like story Whatever the case, when I was building my GR library, I gave these stories but 2 stars I m glad that I took advantage of a SF Book Club sale to pick up this reissue of the series because on rereading them, I found Kull much interesting.Is Kull a failed Conan Well, if you re looking at it from a popularity point of view, then the answer would be yes But if you re looking at it from a literary point of view, then the answer is definitely no True they re both barbarians from a lost, prehistoric world and both carve a bloody path to the thrones of civilized kingdoms but even a cursory reading of a Kull story shows that Howard was experimenting with a very different type of story and character Kull thinks Kull broods boy, does he brood Kull has no time for women Kull is an elemental force but he keeps asking why Howard is also experimenting with ways to tell a story I d describe most of these tales as Dunsanian in flavor the settings are sketchily laid out and the writing style is very dreamlike often Kull thinks he s just moving through a dream, in fact and the characters are passive.This edition has some really nice interior illustrations I m particularly taken with the picture of Delcardes and her cat on page 88 and an interesting essay about Howard and the writing of the Kull stories.Definitely recommended for Howard fans, though they shouldn t expect a proto Conan. Good reliable sword and sorcery Kull the barbarian king of Atlantis kicking butt and having his scribe take names.In the introduction of the book our organizer of stories goes to great length to tell us that Kull isn t really Howard s warm up for Conan Look I know I don t have a degree and I m not an authority but at least to a certain extent I have to disagree Kull is where Conan goes There is a complete feeling for me at least in the Conan stories.Still this is a good read and like the Conan stories and other of Howard s works can be read over and over with continued enjoyment If you haven t tried these I can recommend them.Enjoy. Good reliable sword and sorcery Kull the barbarian king of Atlantis kicking butt and having his scribe take names.In the introduction of the book our organizer of stories goes to great length to tell us that Kull isn t really Howard s warm up for Conan Look I know I don t have a degree and I m not an authority but at least to a certain extent I have to disagree Kull is where Conan goes There is a complete feeling for me at least in the Conan stories.Still this is a good read and like the Conan stories and other of Howard s works can be read over and over with continued enjoyment If you haven t tried these I can recommend them.Enjoy. You have power, Kull, said he, choosing his words with care than he did in the council rooms of the nation, to make yourself mightiest of all kings, and restore some of the lost glories of Valusia So I care little for Valusia though the women and wine be excellent save for the fact that the stronger Valusia is, the stronger is the Pict nation More, with an Atlantean on the throne, eventually Atlantis will become united Kull laughed in harsh mockery Ka nu had touched an old wound Atlantis made my name accursed when I went to seek fame and fortune among the cities of the world We they are age old foes of the Seven Empires, greater foes of the allies of the Empires, as you should know Ka nu tugged his beard and smiled enigmatically Nay, nay Let it pass But I know whereof I speak And then warfare will cease, wherein there is no gain I see a world of peace and prosperity man loving his fellow man the good supreme All this can you accomplish if you live Ha Kull s lean hand closed on his hilt and he half rose, with a sudden movement of such dynamic speed that Ka nu, who fancied men as some men fancy blooded horses, felt his old blood leap with a sudden thrill Valka, what a warrior Nerves and sinews of steel and fire, bound together with the perfect co ordination, the fighting instinct, that makes the terrible warrior.But none of Ka nu s enthusiasm showed in his mildly sarcastic tone Tush Be seated Look about you The gardens are deserted, the seats empty, save for ourselves You fear not me Kull sank back, gazing about him warily There speaks the savage, mused Ka nu Think you if I planned treachery I would enact it here where suspicion would be sure to fall upon me Tut You young tribesmen have much to learn There were my chiefs who were not at ease because you were born among the hills of Atlantis, and you despise me in your secret mind because I am a Pict Tush I see you as Kull, king of Valusia, not as Kull, the reckless Atlantean, leader of the raiders who harried the western isles So you should see in me, not a Pict but an international man, a figure of the world Now to that figure, hark If you were slain tomorrow who would be king Kaanuub, baron of Blaal Even so I object to Kaanuub for many reasons, yet most of all for the fact that he is but a figure head How so He was my greatest opponent, but I did not know that he championed any cause but his own The night can hear, answered Ka nu obliquely There are worlds within worlds But you may trust me and you may trust Brule, the Spear slayer Look He drew from his robes a bracelet of gold representing a winged dragon coiled thrice, with three horns of ruby on the head Examine it closely Brule will wear it on his arm when he comes to you tomorrow night so that you may know him Trust Brule as you trust yourself, and do what he tells you to And in proof of trust, look ye And with the speed of a striking hawk, the ancient snatched something from his robes, something that flung a weird green light over them, and which he replaced in an instant The stolen gem exclaimed Kull recoiling The green jewel from the Temple of the Serpent Valka You And why do you show it to me To save your life To prove my trust If I betray your trust, deal with me likewise You hold my life in your hand Now I could not be false to you if I would, for a word from you would be my doom Yet for all his words the old scoundrel beamed merrily and seemed vastly pleased with himself But why do you give me this hold over you asked Kull, becoming bewildered each second As I told you Now, you see that I do not intend to deal you false, and tomorrow night when Brule comes to you, you will follow his advice without fear of treachery Enough An escort waits outside to ride to the palace with you, lord Kull rose But you have told me nothing Tush How impatient are youths Ka nu looked like a mischievous elf than ever Go you and dream of thrones and power and kingdoms, while I dream of wine and soft women and roses And fortune ride with you, King Kull As he left the garden, Kull glanced back to see Ka nu still reclining lazily in his seat, a merry ancient, beaming on all the world with jovial fellowship.A mounted warrior waited for the king just without the garden and Kull was slightly surprised to see that it was the same that had brought Ka nu s invitation No word was spoken as Kull swung into the saddle nor as they clattered along the empty streets.The color and the gayety of the day had given way to the eerie stillness of night The city s antiquity was than ever apparent beneath the bent, silver moon The huge pillars of the mansions and palaces towered up into the stars The broad stairways, silent and deserted, seemed to climb endlessly until they vanished in the shadowy darkness of the upper realms Stairs to the stars, thought Kull, his imaginative mind inspired by the weird grandeur of the scene.Clang clang clang sounded the silver hoofs on the broad, moon flooded streets, but otherwise there was no sound The age of the city, its incredible antiquity, was almost oppressive to the king it was as if the great silent buildings laughed at him, noiselessly, with unguessable mockery And what secrets did they hold You are young, said the palaces and the temples and the shrines, but we are old The world was wild with youth when we were reared You and your tribe shall pass, but we are invincible, indestructible We towered above a strange world, ere Atlantis and Lemuria rose from the sea we still shall reign when the green waters sigh for many a restless fathom above the spires of Lemuria and the hills of Atlantis and when the isles of the Western Men are the mountains of a strange land How many kings have we watched ride down these streets before Kull of Atlantis was even a dream in the mind of Ka, bird of Creation Ride on, Kull of Atlantis greater shall follow you greater came before you They are dust they are forgotten we stand we know we are Ride, ride on, Kull of Atlantis Kull the king, Kull the fool And it seemed to Kull that the clashing hoofs took up the silent refrain to beat it into the night with hollow re echoing mockery Kull the king Kull the fool Glow, moon you light a king s way Gleam, stars you are torches in the train of an emperor And clang, silver shod hoofs you herald that Kull rides through Valusia.Ho Awake, Valusia It is Kull that rides, Kull the king We have known many kings, said the silent halls of Valusia.Although his adventures are thrilling and the tales of his exploits are polished, well structured, and varied in content and locales I find the personality of Conan the Cimmerian to be not even as remotely as fascinating as that of his predecessor, Kull of Atlantis, and thus I have the uncommon opinion of finding Kull to be the magnetic hero than his iconic successor I felt this way from having only previously read The Shadow Kingdom, The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune, Kings of the Night, and By This Axe I Rulein contrast to the 21 completed Conan stories, and now that I ve read every word completed, unpublished, and unfinished related to the first hero of the genre Robert E Howard created and popularized which, to this day, there still isn t a main consensus among fantasy readers and writers on what to call it exactly my opinion is all the firm and stronger Conan is a deeper and well realized character than pop culture s depiction of him would have you think, but nonetheless there s an element of masculine, adolescent wish fulfillment that can t be separated from the character, and that element keeps me from being a fan of the character Batman s another character I ve only ever liked, not loved Kull is just as mighty and tough as Conan, but there s a sense of vulnerability and fallibility to Kull s yarns that I never sensed from Conan s, even when the Cimmerian was in the most dire of circumstances.Kull bleeds buckets and survives wounds that would kill lesser men, but Howard never had him survive something as extreme as a crucifixion like he did with Conan Where Conan can attract and seduce any nubile woman he wants even unintentionally , Kull has never laid with a woman, and is far from comfortable around them His strongest relationship throughout his tales is his fire forged friendship with Brule the Spear Slayer, and although Howard clearly intended the King of Valusia to be asexual by invoking death of the author in this day and age it s hard not see Kull being ignorant that he s homosexual, although either sexuality is welcome for such a macho archetype as the barbarian hero The weight of the crown of Valusia weighs heavily upon Kull s brow and the Atlantean chafes under the chains of command than the crown and chains of Aquilonia did on Conan There were only 3 stories that took place during King Conan s reign, and one of those The Phoenix on the Sword is the first Conan story, which is, to many REH fans including myself , an inferior rewrite of By This Axe I RuleIt s the only one where Conan has to deal with an assassination plot The other two have Conan deal with foreign invasions, and while their terrible for his kingdom and his subjects they at least give him an opportunity to stretch his legs, leave his palace, and be proactive Meanwhile, with the exception of one very short story, all of Kull s adventures take place during his time as King Kull, an outsider to his people and his subjects When he isn t keeping his guard up for conspiracies and assassination attempts, Kull is fully assailed by the boredom and frustration of kingly duties and Valusian politics and the ennui of achieving the wildest dreams he imagined when he was just an orphan of the mountains and jungles of Atlantis When he isn t reacting to attempts on his life, Kull is looking for something to get his blood pumping or his vivid mind whirling with possibilities, whether it is a sealed abomination eldritch than anything Conan, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn or any other REH character has ever faced pursuing a man who only insulted him beyond the borders of his empire visiting a magic mirror daily to gaze at his own reflection or meeting an ancient, talking cat Most of all, Conan s mind, though intelligent and cunning, is generally settled on the present and broods over current struggles, with his only ambitions being pleasure from women or battle , riches, and adventure Kull s mind, unlike not just Conan s but so many of Howard s protagonists, is unusually introspective and imaginative The barbarian king broods over questions that would never occur to Conan or most of us to ask, let alone ponder over Questions regarding life, the universe, and everything I can t shake the notion that Kull s moody, philosophical, vivid imagination is the best glimpse we ll ever get of one of the fathers of modern fantasy own incredibly powerful imaginationThat is, when the king of the most glorious of the Seven Empires of the Thurian Age isn t spilling the blood and splitting the skulls of his enemies.4 1 4 stars Several years ago I began what has become a tradition in my reading life At the beginning of the year I start a new volume in the excellently produced Robert E Howard collections Del Rey reading a single short story novella each Saturday morning, usually before the rest of the family gets out of bed It s a sort of me time I get through an entire collection over about three months and really feel like I absorb the stories rather than just reading one right after the other This year I turned my attention to Kull, Exile of Atlantis.The character of Kull is usually known today as simply the forerunner of Conan Often he is relegated to the lesser of RE Howard s creations seemingly serving merely as a way for the young writer to experiment and hone his skills before turning to the recognized and mature writing that would mark Conan, Solomon Kane, etc There is certainly some truth in that but I think that does Kull an injustice There are some very good stories in this book, including The Shadow Kingdom which Howard cited as his favorite of all of his stories and perhaps my favorite, By This Axe I Rule which borrows heavily from Shakespeare s Julius Caesar Each of the stories are quite a bit different from one another and show a definite progression of Kull as a character, sometimes gruff no nonsense and even ruthless conquering King and other times compassionate and charismatic leader who acts on other people s behalf even when no recognition for his good deeds comes his way.The final story in this collection, Kings of the Night is intriguing in that it is a crossover between the Kull stories and the Bran Mak Morn stories Even though Kull lives in a time thousands of years BC, he magically joins the war party of Bran Mak Morn during the days of the Roman Empire and the two characters fight as allies Pretty cool even though it does mark the final Kull story Turns out Kull s right hand man Brule is the far distant ancestor of Bran Mak Morn, the first of his line I have the Bran Mak Morn The Last King collection scheduled for next year so that story was a good lead in.As always with these Del Rey versions of Howard s work, the accompanying essays, untitled fragments, poems, and artwork make for a well rounded and enjoyable collection Good reading, and especially recommended for all Howard enthusiasts who lean toward Conan as the be all end all of Howard s sword and sorcery work. Well, this is certainly one for the Howard completists Not that it is only such readers who would be interested in this It is also great for those who just want to read about another of Howard s characters, those who want a change from Conan, although of all of them Kull is probably the most Conon like If one ignores the various incomplete fragments and unfinished drafts, most of these stories are top notch, up there with his best work.These are stories of Kull, of Atlantis, barbarian and savage who usurped the Valusian throne and then found out that holding onto it was a lot harder than taking it in the first place Aided by a few trusted advisers and his Pictish allies, he endeavours to resist all efforts to unseat him.Apparently, only three stories featuring Kull were published during Howard s lifetime A handful of others were found and published in the 60 s All these are collected here, along with the aforementioned incomplete fragments, and arranged in the order that they were written Throughout, almost on every page, there are hand drawn illustrations to accompany the text and illustrate the story There s also a good introduction, an informative appendix and notes on the text used in this volume I probably wouldn t advise starting with this character if you are new to howard, but if you have liked any of his other work, it is worth giving this one a read. Read by Todd McLaren downloaded from my public library You rock, Library The introduction by Steve Tompkins is long, over 30 minutes Almost immediately, he puts down ERB s John Carter He said something about Carter s ego being so big that Helium, the city he rules, is well named Seriously He crapped on ERB s character I ll bet most Kull Conan fans like John Carter, too I do, although not as much, but that s just unnecessarily rude It s not a contest about whose sword is bigger, you know.While Tompkins had some good material about REH, he went on forever Talk about a large ego I found myself with less less patience for his opinions, so after enduring him for 20 minutes, I came back in to the house figured out where he quit so I could start in on the actual stories Tantor Media if you are reading this, please be advised that putting the introduction each story into a separate track would be very much appreciated Just ripping these stories off the CD s dumping them into files makes you look cheap uncaring It s a PITA to FF through the track not knowing how long to hold down the button while trying to do other things like drive or weed the garden.The stories are in their original format, so many are just fragments I find that frustrating I know a lot of Howard buffs dislike the Lancer editions because deCamp Carter finished heavily edited REH s original words, but they re what I started with I m interested in a full, rousing story After all, Howard is one of the premier escapist authors If I wanted accuracy realism, I ll read a nonfiction book or a historical fantasy.McLaren is a pretty good reader, but this just didn t work as an audio book for me Where Kull s philosophizing used to be entertaining, I was just impatient with his loose grip on reality gullibility Also, if I heard By Valkha one time, I was going to sic Crom on him, so I quit I remembered the stories a bit too well, anyway. Howard s stories about Kull of Atlantis are generally reflective than his better known Conan tales, and have an air of melancholy that, personally, I think contrasts well with the conventional hack and slash elements.Although Kull s world is not as fleshed out as Conan s Hyborian Age, this works to the tales advantage, as it adds to the age lost mystery and atmosphere of degeneracy of a world in its last throes, about to be washed away by geological upheavals, a slate wiped clean ready for a new age.There s a fair admixture of cosmic horror of the kind H.P Lovecraft admired in Howard s works, and also a sprinkling of the sardonic humour that fans of Howard s non fantasy works will recognise, but which may come as a surprise to those who only know him as a Sword and Sorcery writer.Whilst not as commercial successful in their day in fact, Howard only saw three, I think, published in his lifetime as the later Conan stories, I think the Kull stories are some of Howard s best.