Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Elak of Atlantis
Over the last several years, I have been trying to read the key works of sword and sorcery. I was introduced to this genre as a teen through the Ace paperback version of Robert E. Howard's Conan. I enjoyed those books immensely, both Howard's stories as well as those written by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter, et al. (I really like the non-Howard story "The Thing in the Crypt" for example.) For quite a while this was the entire sword and sorcery universe for me. I met Elric during high school but I wasn't overly impressed with the stories. Then my interest faded for a long time as it did with roleplaying games.
When my interest in RPGs revived about 14 years ago so did my interest in these type of stories. (Odd how that worked out, isn't it?) I began to reread many of the Conan stories and started seeking out other stories, also. I read the Kull stories and moved on from there. I've found and read at least some of C. L. Moore, Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber, Lin Carter, John Jakes, and even Gardner Fox. Some were easy to find, Leiber for example and surprisingly Clark Ashton Smith. There is a website dedicated to CAS with many, if not all, of his stories. (It's at Eldritchdark.com.) Other's were not so easy. Gardner Fox published several S&S stories in early issues of Dragon Magazine.
One author I couldn't find in ebook form until recently was Henry Kuttner. His Elak of Atlantis stories followed the Conan stories and are considered some of the founding stories in the genre. I recently discovered that an ebook collecting all four Elak stories is available on both Amazon and B&N for a reasonable price.