East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Re-reading Conan (for starters)


In 2022 I launched an Italian-language podcast called Chiodi Rossi (Red Nails), together with my friend Germano – who is a fine writer and an excellent editor, and a fellow Howard fan.
We started every two week, reviewing and discussing a classic… well, “classic” 1980s fantasy movie – and we started with John Milius’ Conan the Barbarian.

The podcast was well received, and we have somewhat widened our scope – we did a couple movie trailer reviews, we covered the eight episodes of the Amazon Prime series The Rings of Power. Our listeners were reasonably happy with what we did, so we are experimenting further.

And so we said, OK, we are both writers – but discussing our own writing would be in poor taste. Why not discuss the stories that we like from the authors that we love, within the sword & sorcery and fantasy genre?

As a test run, we’ll do an episode about four of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories – having selected two each. We will re-read them, and take notes, and then talk, and record, and inflict the result on our unsuspecting listeners.

The four stories we selected are

  • The Tower of the Elephant
  • Shadows in the Moonlight
  • People of the Black Circle
  • Red Nails

As I mentioned, the podcast is in Italian*, but I’d love to do something for the blog here – maybe a single post on the four stories, maybe a post each.
And then, maybe, do it again with other Conan stories, or other non-Conan stories from Howard, or with stories from other classic authors.
Watch this space.

(* – i can add that I’d love to do an English-language podcast, but first, my spoken English is VERY rusty, and second, in the past I have found out that I am no good when I have to carry a whole episode by myself… but who knows…?)

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

4 thoughts on “Re-reading Conan (for starters)

  1. Great idea! I re-read Howard all the time!

    I also enjoy re-reading the Lancer paperback editions of his work from the 60s & 70s which contain pastiches of his tales by writers such as Lin Carter and
    L. Sprague DeCamp. I find their tales hold up very well indeed.

    The 12 volumes Lancer series sits prominently on my bookshelf. I am currently re-reading the last book in the series;”Conan of the Isles”. After I finish it… I may go back and start re-reading the series again from Volume One which is appropriately and simply named ‘Conan’.

    I wish I spoke Italian to listen to your podcast. But I am a dull American with hardly a grasp of English, much less any other language. Best of Luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I discovered Conan (and Howard) with the Italian translations of the Lancer books, and I still have a soft spot for them – Conan the Adventurer being my favorite (and my first).


      • I know it very well! That had the classic Howard stories of “the Slithering Shadow”, “the Pool of the Black One’, and the infamous “People of the Black Circle”! Some of his very best stories indeed!

        In that series of books, my favorite (and my first ever bought Conan book) was Conan the Freebooter. The Howard stories in that one were “Black Colossus”, ” A Wich Shall be Born!’ and “Shadows in the Moonlight.”
        Also, two of my favorite Hoard pastiches by L. Sprague DeCamp & REH: “Hawks over Shem” and “Road of Eagles”.

        Countless are the times I have read all these stories. And I have no doubt I will read them again.. maybe SOON!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.