Daily Archives: September 3, 2013

Conan and the Emerald Lotus

THIS is one of my favorite Conan books. You’ll note that it is not by Robert E. Howard. Howard himself actually wrote only one full-length Conan novel, as Conan was aimed at Weird Tales, a short story market. (If you’re THAT curious, you can go read up on REH at various sites.) I will add that it is my favorite pastiche Conan, ever, much as I greatly enjoy some of the John Maddox Roberts Conan novels. And it’s better than Karl Edward Wagner’s Conan novel The Road of Kings (often the default “best pastiche” answerand ANY Conan novel by Robert Jordan.

Conan and the Emerald Lotus was written by John Chris Hocking about twenty years ago. A big fan of Robert E. Howard, noir, and Weird Tales, Hocking wrote Emerald Lotus and sent it in, unagented… and because it was so danged good the publisher snapped it up and printed it. (In case you’re wondering, that NEVER happens.) The second Conan novel by Hocking, as it turns out, is even better, and L. Sprague de Camp relayed to Hocking that de Camp and his wife were so eager to see how it unfolded that they sat together on the floor of their study turning the pages. Conan and the Living Plague, unfortunately, never saw the light of day even though it was intended to re-launch the Conan line, because the purchasers of the line seemed uninterested in anything that had come before.