Thursday, April 19, 2012

Robert E. Howard “Red Nails” podcast Saturday

“Five dead dogs!” exclaimed Techotl, his flaming eyes reflecting a ghastly exultation. “Five slain! Five crimson nails for the black pillar! The gods of blood be thanked.”

--Robert E. Howard, "Red Nails"

This Saturday I'll be taking part in a podcast “readalong” of Robert E. Howard’s “Red Nails,” hosted by Jesse Willis of SFFaudio.com. It's called a readlong as it will feature an unabridged reading of the story, followed by commentary.

“Red Nails” is one of my favorite tales of Conan of Cimmeria. It was the last story Howard wrote about his most famous creation, completed just three months before he died and published posthumously as a serial in the pages of Weird Tales. For those unfamiliar with the story, here's a brief outline: Conan and the beautiful but deadly Valeria of the Red Brotherhood enter the ancient, forgotten city of Xuchotl (they are more or less chased inside by a rampaging dragon/dinosaur). While at first the city appears deserted, the pair soon discovers that the final stages of a centuries-old blood feud between two warring tribes (the Xotalancas and Tecuhlti) is playing out to its grim, apocalyptic end. Into this incendiary mix Howard tosses a crawling monster from the crypts, a mad sorcerer, and dark magic. The story culminates with a murderous orgy of violence in the labyrinthine halls of the city. Awesome.

While preparing for the podcast I re-read the story and also took the opportunity to bust out Conan Saga #9 (pictured), featuring a wonderful adaptation of the story by Roy Thomas and legendary artist Barry Windsor-Smith. I bought this issue in 1988 or so and am proud to have it in my collection.

I appreciate the invite and I’m very much looking forward to the podcast. Not only is it a rare chance to talk about one of my favorite authors, but one of the other guests is supposed to be REH celeb Al Harron of The Blog that Time Forgot, a fine writer, scholar, and gentleman whose byline once appeared alongside my own at the now defunct The Cimmerian website. It should be fun! The gods of blood be thanked, indeed...

9 comments:

Alluria said...

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ΚΙΜΜΕΡΙΟΣ said...

Hello Brian! RED NAILS is an amazing tale. Me too re-read it recently and wrote a post about it in my own blog. My best regards!

Barad the Gnome said...

Way to go Brian, you are becoming quite the literary celebrity. Remember us little people when you are famous. ;-)

I never have read REH. For some reason it just never peaked my interest. I see that Red Nails is available for free from Amazon for my Kindle, so I'll down load it and give it a whirl over the summer.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Red Nails is one of my favorites as well. Can't think of many folks I'd rather hear discussing it than you an Al.

Brian Murphy said...

Hello Brian! RED NAILS is an amazing tale. Me too re-read it recently and wrote a post about it in my own blog. My best regards!

Thanks, I will check out your post. What do those Greek characters in your signature mean, by the way?

Way to go Brian, you are becoming quite the literary celebrity.

Yeah right. I'll be signing autographs next. But you should try some REH. Red Nails isn't a bad place to start, as is Tower of the Elephant or Beyond the Black River. And they're all short stories so you won't be investing a lot of time. If you like the Conan stories you will have opened up a new world of reading with characters like Bran Mak Morn, Solomon Kane, and more.

Can't think of many folks I'd rather hear discussing it than you an Al.

Well, I hope so. I'm no REH scholar or anything--you need a Mark Finn or Rusty Burke for someone with real insights. But this should be fun, thanks Charles!

ΚΙΜΜΕΡΙΟΣ said...

ΚΙΜΜΕΡΙΟΣ = CIMMERIAN in greek :-)

Brian Murphy said...

Nice.

Ted Cross said...

Red Nails is one of my favorites,and I loved Barry's artwork.

Since you are such a big Howard fan, I wondered about your thoughts on this blog post I did--http://tedacross.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-to-do-conan-movies-better.html

Brian Murphy said...

Nice job on your S&S post, Ted. I agree with your premise that the way to do these types of films is character focused and episodic. Lose the epic, drop the origin story, and most of all adapt the damned actual stories! What the heck is wrong with Red Nails or Beyond the Black River? Why the need to write lousy original scripts when the source material has lasted 75 years?

Though I do differ with you on Conan the Barbarian--I like that film quite a bit.