Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Buried Treasure



So yesterday I'm at my Mom's helping her reassemble the house after the work crews have finished putting down the new floor tile. They had to do the closests as well as the regular spaces, so many things were boxed up that I hadn't seen in years: old clothes, weightlifting gear, hunting equipment, and a box of very old books. Among them was the above volume.


Can you believe it? Robert Jordan. A Conan novel from 1982. Little did I know.


I have a dim recollection of reading the book. Im almost positive I bought it at a Waldens. I was in junior high and going through a Conan phase. One of my cousins had sent me the entire set of Conan stories edited by L Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter and I was hungry for more. I remember being dismissive of the cheap imitations. Yeah, I really thought that: cheap imitations. If I'd only known.


When I finish the wheel of time catch up Im going to reread the book. See if I can glean any hints of the masterpiece to come.


Its interesting to me now that Jordan learned his craft with the Conan books. I remember shortly after beginning the Wheel of Time series that he had publised several Conan novels. This greatly surprised me because the wheel of time was such a vast and complicated tapestry whereas the Conan books were a ready made world. I then thought that Jordan had been slumming in the Conan world. But an older and hopefully wiser me imagines that he learned a lot about characterization, plot, structure and constructing novels from the experience.


I remember reading an article where Neil Gaiman described one of the most formative writing experiences he had was a series of Batman comics when he was younger. He said it taught him a lot about characterization because he had to take this well known character and find a way to bring him to life beyond the usual cliché's.


I want to read the Conan Chronicles to see how Jordan did this. Just looked on Amazon and have added all Jordan's Conan books to my wish list.


As if I didn't have enough to read. I wonder if the above book has a value now that Jordan is so famous? Probably though I am skeptical. I doubt I'll part with it regardless. Not so much sentimental value, as it is a symbol of closure, of having come full circle
I know the quality of the above pic is fuzzy but its the best one I could find online.

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