Rated R: Contains violence. And Conan.
Gods of the North
Featuring Conan the Barbarian!
by Robert E. Howard
Across the red drifts and mail-clad forms, two figures glared at each other. In that utter desolation only they moved. The frosty sky was over them, the white illimitable plain around them, the dead men at their feet. Slowly through the corpses they came, as ghosts might come to a tryst through the shambles of a dead world. In the brooding silence they stood face to face.
Both were tall men, built like tigers. Their shields were gone, their corselets battered and dinted. Blood dried on their mail; their swords were stained red. Their horned helmets showed the marks of fierce strokes. One was beardless and black maned. The locks and beard of the other were red as the blood on the sunlit snow.
“Man,” said he, “tell me your name, so that my brothers in Vanaheim may know who was the last of Wulfhere’s band to fall before the sword of Heimdul.”
“Not in Vanaheim,” growled the black-haired warrior, “but in Valhalla will you tell your brothers that you met Conan of Cimmeria.”
About the Author
Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) was most famous for inventing the modern sword & sorcery tale with his Conan stories, and while he often introduced horror elements as a threat in his short fiction the evocation of supernatural dread is only incidental in most of his tales; the chronicling of titanic adventure is the primary purpose. When Howard later switched from fantasy to westerns, he made the transition with the story The Horror From the Mound.
Howard’s major horror genre reputation rests with three stories (sadly, all of which are a bit too long for the podcast): “Black Canaan” (Weird Tales, 1936) was praised by Lovecraft for its “genuine, regional background and its compelling picture of the horror that stalks through the moss-hung, shadow-cursed, serpent-ridden swamps of the American far south”; “Pigeons from Hell” (Weird Tales, 1938) was praised by Stephen King as “one of the finest horror stories of our century” and “Worms of the Earth” (Weird Tales, 1932) is thought by many Howard fans to be his best story. The Del Rey series of Howard’s collected fiction includes Horror, Historical Adventures and Desert Adventures, in addition to his better known Conan, Kull and Solomon Kane tales. Please see this site.
About the Narrator
Graeme Dunlop is a Software Solution Architect. Despite his somewhat mixed accent, he was born in Australia. He loves the spoken word and believes it has the ability to lift the printed word above and beyond cold words on a page. He and Barry J. Northern founded Cast of Wonders in 2011 and can be found narrating or hosting the occasional episode, or working on projects behind the scenes. He is co-editor and co-host of PodCastle and has read stories for all of Escape Artists podcasts.
Graeme lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife Amanda, and crazy boy dog, Jake.