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Karl Edward Wagner


Agentorange

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I mean sword-and-sorcery ala Michael Moorcock, Robert E. Howard, Karl Edward Wagner, etc.

A world of humans, with gritty blood-soaked pulpy combat, ancient and evil gods, lost cities, where sorcery is generally evil, and heroes don't go festooned in magic gear bought in the magic equivalent of Wal-Mart.

Sounds like fun, I always reckoned Karl Edward Wagner's Kane stories were great stuff, shame he died so young, have you seen the silly prices the collected novels omnibus is going for these days :eek: ? As you say they definately had a gritty blood soaked feel that BRP would be good at.

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Sounds like fun, I always reckoned Karl Edward Wagner's Kane stories were great stuff, shame he died so young, have you seen the silly prices the collected novels omnibus is going for these days :eek: ? As you say they definately had a gritty blood soaked feel that BRP would be good at.

I haven't seen the recent prices... I own copies of all the original release paperbacks as well as the Nightshade collections (but bought them new, for sane prices).

KEW's early death was a damned shame, especially since it would have been so preventable had he just sought help, or let his friends know he was on the downslide.

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I haven't seen the recent prices... I own copies of all the original release paperbacks as well as the Nightshade collections (but bought them new, for sane prices).

KEW's early death was a damned shame, especially since it would have been so preventable had he just sought help, or let his friends know he was on the downslide.

I got the Nightshade collected short stories for a decent price, but by the time I got around to the novels the prices had gone mad, it looks as though it'll be cheaper to get the novels seperately than to buy the collected version. As you say a shame KEW died in the manner he did. I know very little other than the introduction to the collected shorts mentioned he had a serious drink problem which coupled with other things led to liver failure, what those other things might be I don't know. KEW coined the term 'acid gothic' to describe the Kane stories which I think is a spot on description. There was always a doom laden poetic edge to most of the Kane stories, I'd say 'The Dark Muse' is my favourite.

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Wagner was great. I recently re-read "Reflections for the Winter of My Soul" (Kane in a snowbound castle with a werewolf running loose) and it definitely is a winner. He managed to have the pure blood-and-thunder adventure page-turner thing going, yet a more complex undertone to the stories - deeper character psychology and themes.

As good as his "Kane" books are, his horror stuff - especially the collection "In A Lonely Place," is even better.

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OK, so assuming that I really know virtually nothing about KEW, but happened to read Bloodstone assuming it was an early pulp S&S novel from a contemporary of Howard's or Leiber's and thoroughly enjoyed it - what KEW would people recommend next?

Cheers,

Nick Middleton

I've not read all the novels so it's hard for me to comment on those. If you can get hold of the short story collections that would be a good place to go.

There is a hardback omnibus of all the Kane shorts:

Amazon.co.uk: The Midnight Sun: The Collected Stories of Kane: Books: Karl Edward Wagner

But as you can see it's going for ridiculous prices :eek:

Best thing to do would be to track down some the paperback versions if you buy this:

Amazon.co.uk: Night Winds (Coronet Books): Books: Karl Edward Wagner

and this:

Amazon.co.uk: Death Angel's Shadow: Books: Karl Edward Wagner

In that order you've got the bulk of the shorts, hope that helps

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OK, so assuming that I really know virtually nothing about KEW, but happened to read Bloodstone assuming it was an early pulp S&S novel from a contemporary of Howard's or Leiber's and thoroughly enjoyed it - what KEW would people recommend next?

Cheers,

Nick Middleton

Three things:

Bloodstone was just about the worst of the Kane novels.

Night Winds, a collection of shorter stories and a novella, is the best.

Here's a nice resource page about Kane.

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I really like his horror fiction... he's got some great stuff that centers on The King In Yellow... kinda reminds me of Thomas Ligotti... or vica versa.

Wasn't KEW a doctor? I thought I'd read that somewhere...

Oh, and what characterizes 'pulpy combat'? Just curious...

He was - there's a pretty fascinating memoir about him which you can track down on karledwardwagner.org - a very worthwhile site.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I found a couple of of his short stories on tape a couple of years back. Nightwinds and one other. I think they were read by Zelazny. They had sound effects in the background and were kind of cool.

The three paperbacks I have, Nightwinds, Darkness Weaves and Dark Crusade are definately on my top shelf. Great Stuff!

294/420

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