Thursday, 2 April 2009

Books, Lemuria, and an Unmade Movie

Fantasy Literature - there can't be many who don't like it, can there? Apart from the few who either lack imagination or really REALLY don't like Fiction - like my Father, Harold - Upon saying that, he does like Rudyard Kipling. But thats about it.

I've been reading the Thongor series, there weren't many (unfortunately) as Carter got roped into writing some (IMHO) lackluster Conan Stories with De Camp; which, considering the writers SHOULD have been a lot better than they were (but they weren't).

  1. The Wizard of Lemuria (1965; expanded as Thongor and The Wizard of Lemuria (1969))
  2. Thongor of Lemuria (1966; expanded as Thongor and the Dragon City (1970))
  3. Thongor Against the Gods (1967)
  4. Thongor in the City of Magicians (1968)
  5. Thongor at the End of Time (1968)
  6. Thongor Fights the Pirates of Tarakus (1970)
If you like Sword and Sorcery, I heartily recommend you going out of your way and trying to get these - they aren't currently in print - but they are great fun and well worth the effort.

For those who don't know the Thongor series is Carter's premier creation in the Sword and Sorcery genre, representing a tribute to both the Conan series of Robert E. Howard and the Barsoom novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. He pictures the lost continent of Lemuria as a prehistoric land mass existing in the South Pacific Ocean during the ice age, on which Mesozoic lifeforms persisted after the catastrophe which wiped them out in the rest of the world. An intelligent reptilian humanoid race descended from "dinosaurian" forebears formerly reigned supreme as the dominant life form, but was partially supplanted as such by humanity as the continent was colonized by fauna from outside Lemuria. Humans have gradually thrown off the subjection in which they were initially held by the older civilization. Culturally, Lemuria is a mixture of civilization and barbarism, but overall is precociously advanced over the outside world, boasting a magic-based technology that even includes flying machines. The Thongor books relate the struggle of the titular hero to unite the humans of Lemuria into a single empire and complete the overthrow of the "dragon kings."

Oddly enough my own D&D World centered around Lemuria, and at that point when I first started running games there I hadn't read the Thongor Books. Even so there are similarities between the two worlds which just made the Books even more fun for me to read.

There was even a Thongor Movie planned - way back in the seventies there was a two page article about it in Starlog Magazine issue 15 (1978).

The Film was to be called Thongor in the Valley of the Demons and (From what I can gather) based mostly on the Wizard of Lemuria story.

The production company was the same one that did the Edgar Rice Burroughs films with Doug McClure (Amicus), though they had planned to use stop motion monsters for Thongor rather than puppets and men in monster-suits.

They had gotten as far as constructing a Lizard-Hawk model which is pictured in the magazine and to be frank it looked pretty darn cool.

The movie had a planned release date of July 1979 which was never met unfortunately.

If it had been made, it would have beaten Arnie's Conan Movie the big screen by 3 years!

I've just ordered the Dreaming Dark Trilogy, a series of Eberron Books so I can get more of a 'feel' for the World - I already have plenty of ideas, but I love to read so any excuse Lol.

I already have a few (fairly radical) ideas for Eberron, including merging some previous campaign ideas in with the World (as parts of the Xen'Drik Mythos fits quite well) I always think its nice when a DM personalizes things myself.

The best Greyhawk Campaign I ever played in, the DM (Garry his name was) had changed quite a few things around to suit his style of play - and it worked brilliantly.

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