online great books

#69- The Original Adventures of Conan the Barbarian

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This week, Scott and Karl read a collection of stories starring Conan the Barbarian, a series by Robert E. Howard.

Known as the “Father of Sword and Sorcery,” Howard helped create this subgenre of fiction. To this point, Karl adds, “There is so much of your popular culture, dear listeners, that comes out of Conan.”

You think of other heroes that we read like King Arthur, Beowulf, and Achilles: none of them are like this barbarian. After reading about him, you may find Conan to be one of the greatest fictional heroes ever created.

Open any of his stories, and you’ll find a swordsman who cuts a swath across the lands of the Hyborian Age, facing powerful sorcerers, deadly creatures, and ruthless armies of thieves and reavers. As Scott points out, “Conan has absolute trust in his own senses. That’s what sets this apart from lesser pulp fiction heroes.”

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Comments

  1. Matthew Rogers

    Like the both of you, I admire Conan as a man of action, but I’m struggling to find the line between seeing him as an unreasoning human-animal who follows his base desires and the well-prejudiced man who does virtue by instinct. Should we focus on being men of action, even if it means (because we’re not fiction characters or saints) constant blundering and trial and error? Is there a humility in opening yourself up to the risk of taking a lot of wrong action while the compass is being fixed so long as your willing to fix yourself when you find it?

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    1. Scott Hambrick

      Errors aren’t the worst thing that can happen to us. Most of life isn’t binary. Even the bad choices are mostly “less good” instead of absolutely bad.

      We have to act in the right proportion according to reason!!

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