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3/11/2014 9:20 pm  #1


Karl Edward Wagner

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Karl Edward Wagner
 (By request from Chainsaw)

If there is reincarnation then Robert E. Howard was reborn as this man. Wagner was a hell of a writer. His Kane books fall somewhere beside Howard's Conan, somewhere down a dark and twisted version of Earth and Hyperborea where man is just the latest and far from the most powerful occupier of the planet, where raw strength, intelligence and determination follow a nightmare path of sorcery and death.
 

As much as I love the Kane stories it was reading two of his Weird Tales style anthologies that I came to appreciate the talent and versatility of Wagner. Pulp stories, Lovecraftian stories, horror and adventure and just damn weird stories.
 

If I were to pick one story I'd say Bloodstone. For me it is the best of the Kane tales and Kane strikes a deeper chord for me than any of the others, but honestly, it is hard to go wrong with his work. Some shines out a bit more, like 'Sticks' but these are good stories from a great writer.
 
 
 
Poetry
 

Red Harvest
Songs of the Damned
 

Stories
 

.220 Swift
A Walk on the Wild Side
An Awareness of Angels
At First Just Ghostly
Beyond Any Measure
Blue Lady, Come Back
Brushed Away
But You'll Never Follow Me
Cedar Lane
The Coming of Ghor
The Dark Muse
Deep in the Depths of the Acme Warehouse
Did They Get You to Trade?
The Education of Gergy-doo-doo
Endless Night
Exorcisms and Ecstasies
A Fair Cop
Final Cut
The Gothic Touch
Gremlin
Hell Creek
I’ve Come to Talk With You Again
In a Lonely Place
In the Lair of Yslsl
In the Middle of a Snow Dream
In the Pines
In the Wake of the Night
Into Whose Hands
Killer (with David Drake)
The Kind Men Like
Lacunae
Legion from the Shadows
Little Lessons in Gardening
Locked Away
More Sinned Against
Neither Brute Nor Human
Old Loves
One Paris Night
The Other Woman as by "Kent Allard"
Passages
The Picture of Jonathan Collins
Plan 10 From Inner Space
Prince of the Punks
The River of Night’s Dreaming
The Road of Kings
Satan’s Gun
Shrapnel
Sing a Last Song of Valdese
The Slug
Stardust
Sticks
The Treasure of Lynortis
Two Suns Setting
Undertow
Unthreatened by the Morning Light
Walk on the Wild Side
Where the Summer Ends
Why Not You and I?
 

Kane
 

Darkness Weaves
Death Angel's Shadow
Bloodstone
Dark Crusade
Night Winds
The Book of Kane
Gods in Darkness
Midnight Sun: The Complete Stories of Kane 

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3/12/2014 7:20 am  #2


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

Besides his Conan pastiche and a few horror stories in collected anthologies, I hadn't read much Karl E. Wagner until the last few years. Kane is fantastic; darker, moodier, and in general more morally repugnant than everyone's favorite barbarian, but all in all the charcter has such great depth, and Wagner's writing really captures the spirit of what I feel is the finest form of sword-and-sorcery story telling. It can be a bit dark; it's like Kane has all the gigantic melancholies, and not much of the gigantic mirth, but that's fine -- I don't want a Conan clone. I'm thankful I still have more Kane to read. Your post makes me want to get back to it, maybe after I finish the Merritt novel I'm reading.


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

3/12/2014 8:49 am  #3


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

I keep starting books and then I come here and read this stuff and am compelled to start yet another book.  The Road of Kings just moved up the list. :-)

 

3/12/2014 9:35 am  #4


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

Ghul wrote:

Besides his Conan pastiche and a few horror stories in collected anthologies, I hadn't read much Karl E. Wagner until the last few years. Kane is fantastic; darker, moodier, and in general more morally repugnant than everyone's favorite barbarian, but all in all the charcter has such great depth, and Wagner's writing really captures the spirit of what I feel is the finest form of sword-and-sorcery story telling. It can be a bit dark; it's like Kane has all the gigantic melancholies, and not much of the gigantic mirth, but that's fine -- I don't want a Conan clone. I'm thankful I still have more Kane to read. Your post makes me want to get back to it, maybe after I finish the Merritt novel I'm reading.

Bloodstone is my favorite Kane book, but when I first started reading the stories about him I didn't really get a complete picture of the character. After reading all the stories over a number of years I went back and reread them (which I have done a few times now) and my conception of Kane changed, both my overall view of him and in several subtle ways. 

     Thread Starter
 

3/12/2014 10:26 am  #5


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

JasonZavoda wrote:

Ghul wrote:

Besides his Conan pastiche and a few horror stories in collected anthologies, I hadn't read much Karl E. Wagner until the last few years. Kane is fantastic; darker, moodier, and in general more morally repugnant than everyone's favorite barbarian, but all in all the charcter has such great depth, and Wagner's writing really captures the spirit of what I feel is the finest form of sword-and-sorcery story telling. It can be a bit dark; it's like Kane has all the gigantic melancholies, and not much of the gigantic mirth, but that's fine -- I don't want a Conan clone. I'm thankful I still have more Kane to read. Your post makes me want to get back to it, maybe after I finish the Merritt novel I'm reading.

Bloodstone is my favorite Kane book, but when I first started reading the stories about him I didn't really get a complete picture of the character. After reading all the stories over a number of years I went back and reread them (which I have done a few times now) and my conception of Kane changed, both my overall view of him and in several subtle ways. 

Bloodstone was indeed a great book. I enjoyed it quite a bit. There is just enough weird science (alien technology) mixed in with sword and sorcery, along with the hint of empires lost, the rise and fall of inhuman races, and dark witchery. Loved it. 
 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

3/14/2014 2:22 pm  #6


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

Huge fan of Wagner. A friend gave me Night Winds in high school, which then led me to read some of his other books. Bloodstone is my favorite of the long stories for all the reasons Jeff mentioned.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

3/14/2014 3:00 pm  #7


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

Is no one going to mention that the picture of KEW is at least as cool as the book covers? Looks like he knows how to have a good time.

 

3/14/2014 3:12 pm  #8


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

Handy Haversack wrote:

Is no one going to mention that the picture of KEW is at least as cool as the book covers? Looks like he knows how to have a good time.

Yeah, I can dig that. 

The cover of Blood and Thunder shows that REH likes to have a good time, too. You know . . . in his own way. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png


http://i57.tinypic.com/2nvr0x4.jpg



 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

3/23/2014 4:00 pm  #9


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

Ghul wrote:

Besides his Conan pastiche and a few horror stories in collected anthologies, I hadn't read much Karl E. Wagner until the last few years.

I've not read Wagner much, if at all.  For some reason I've always had the impression (perhap from bad Conan anthologies??) that Wagner was a poor man's Gardner Fox. 

From your description, Jeff, it sounds like the two are somewhat comparable, with Wagner being a bit darker than Fox overall.  Is that fair?

 

3/23/2014 5:36 pm  #10


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

Well, FWIW, I feel that he really shines with his Kane stories. In fact, I'm now reading Dark Crusade. I actually prefer Wagner over Fox. Yes, Wagner is darker, too.


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

3/24/2014 11:09 am  #11


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

I've not read Fox, but Wagner's Kane stories are brilliantly dark (http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/devious.png
)...


"He combined insouciance and flair with dignity; his repartee coruscated with brilliant allusions and turns of phrase; when aroused his wit was utterly mordant."
Jack Vance, The Last Castle
 

3/24/2014 11:15 am  #12


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

Ghul wrote:

The cover of Blood and Thunder shows that REH likes to have a good time, too. You know . . . in his own way. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png

 

Boilin'-hot, Texas-style good times!
 

 

4/02/2014 7:05 am  #13


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

I have the two-volume Kane omnibus published a few years ago by the SFBC. I haven't read much becasue the font size was a little smaller than I find comfortable, but a friend from high school told me that Kane was his favorite character of all time. Kept naming all of his RPG characters Kane and wanted to play that role as often as he could. It's still on my "must read" list.


Marv / Finarvyn
DCC playtester (2011), S&W WhiteBox Author (2009), C&C playtester (2003), Metamorphosis Alpha since 1976. OD&D Player since 1975
 

4/02/2014 8:18 am  #14


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

Reading Bloodstone right now for the first time. I love the mood, and I'm really enjoying it so far.

As a somewhat older D&D/AD&D player from the early eighties and as someone recently returning to the hobby over the past year, I'm playing catch-up with the OSR movement big-time. But I have to say the best thing so far has been the discussions I've read here and elsewhere concerning the literary classics that form the foundation of our hobby. They've reignited my passion that unfortunately faded at the end of my college years during the mid-nineties.

 

4/05/2014 9:50 am  #15


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

There are some high prices on KEW books out there! Anyone have any recommendations to help me prioritize? Bloodstone? And?

 

4/05/2014 2:12 pm  #16


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

Hmmm... personally, I like Bloodstone (one long story) and Night Winds (collection of short stories). Night Winds is a little bit less of a commitment, I suppose, but Bloodstone is ultimately a little more satisfying.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

4/05/2014 2:51 pm  #17


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

   "Watch it!" Kane pulled rein, swerved as a small girl recklessly chased the rolling kickball across his path. The huge black stallion reared, pawed its deadly hooves. With a frightened squeal, the child darted away.
   "That's General Kane!" breathed excited voices. "Now you've done it! Run!" The gang of children scattered like leaves.
   The girl stood her ground--wanting her kickball but not daring to approach while Kane calmed his stamping mount.
   Liking her mettle, Kane leaned from his saddle, caught up the kickball by its matted hair. Casually he glanced at the battered features of the young woman's head, almost unrecognizable from dirt and clotted gore. The bare feet of the children had all but pulped this kickball in the course of their game.
   Kane handed down the grisly object to the anxious girl--her blue eyes big with wonder at receiving attention from so an important man. "This one has about had it," he told her, and pointed to the row of impaled heads along the city wall. "You'd better put this back and get yourself another kickball."
   Each morning the heads of persons suspected of disloyalty to Orted and hence the Sataki were put on display. The children of Shapeli were quick to find new sport with such grim trophies.
   "Oh, no, sir," replied the girl, gravely accepting the battered head. "I want to keep this one. She's my mother."

--K.E. Wagner, Dark Crusade


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

4/05/2014 2:54 pm  #18


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

Goodness. Though it does give me an idea for my softball team . . .

 

4/05/2014 2:57 pm  #19


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

I shouldn't be laughing, but I am. Damn you Wagner!


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

4/05/2014 3:07 pm  #20


Re: Karl Edward Wagner

Chainsaw wrote:

I shouldn't be laughing, but I am. Damn you Wagner!

That's just the thing, isn't it? He brings that out in us... http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/devious.png

 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

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