So lately I have been reading some Conan stories. When I first began reading the stories when I was younger, it was the Acer (?) compilations. The ones where Decamp and Carter put all of the stories in order of when they occurred in Conan's life. They also changed some things around, so that they may make sense. I did not know this when I originally began reading them, so the unevenness of some of the fiction was just something I just accepted.
Eventually I discovered the Ballantine Books Compilations, where they keep the original stories in the order Howard wrote them. It is amazing the difference between what Howard wrote and what was written to expand upon and fill in gaps. I recently read Conan of the Isles and Conan the Buccaneer (Decamp/Carter filler) before diving into The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian(original Howard) and the difference is night and day. The former is formulaic while Howard's prose is electric, full of energy but able to channel through different situations. Each story comes from a different period of Conan's life, be it as a king, a thief, or a mercenary, Howard portrays the character superbly. Tempted as I am, I will keep my Acer books since they have the typical Frank Frazetta art that just goes so well with the subject matter.
Please leave a comment, I know someone visits this blog, but it would be nice to hear what you folks think about it. Thanks everyone and take care!