The Tau Device – first draft

The Tau Device reached first draft. That’s today. 82,000 words. In real pages that comes to around 250pp. What’s a real page? Conan the Conqueror: 44 lines per page , 200 pp.

Conan-the-Conqueror Sphere edition, Frank Frazetta cover

Sphere edition, UK

Conan, a real hero – a man’s man, from an age when men were real men and the women were… well pretty scary as well. When I first read Howard’s Conan, I never realised that he only wrote the one novel CONAN the conqueror. At that time, L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter were busy reviving him in the US, and we in the UK got the back wash. The above edition appeared in the UK in 1974, 7 years after the US edition and 4 years after Marvel began a comic book serialisation with the great Barry Smith.

Lin Carter and L. Sprague de camp began a Conan industry which spawned many adventures that could have been written by Howard – if he’d lived to be something like 100 (just jokin’ – 99½). For a while I collected them.

Howard’s work took me down strange by-ways. It was clear from his attention to detail in putting together his Hyborian Age that Howard had quite a good grasp of history. Many years later as I studied texts dealing with historical events in Central Asia – Turks & Persians I was struck by similarities with Turan & Hyrkania. Things like that gave his work an air of authenticity. Of course Howards’ Hyborian Age ended when the Hyrkanians who were steppe dwellers, marched west to conquer or destroy – about 12,000 fictional years back.

In the real world, the Turks )also nomad dwellers) crushed the last classical empires and were ready to assault Austria (for which read Vienna) and Venice – more important events back east in Karakorum – the death of the Great Kahn Ögedei – meant the Mongols retired from Europe – having mostly completed their task: subjugation of those nomads who refused to join the Turco-Mongol hordes (oooh too much history).

Back to Conan the conqueror. About 70k words long. Must have taken some work in the days before computers, writing software and online research.

It’s been 24 hours since I stopped writing and I’m getting withdrawal symptoms, already.


ps being nagged about no tags

About Terence Park

Board games, US Comic books, SF Paperbacks, Vinyl records; I've plenty of them all. I write SF (the serious sort). I also do spreadsheets.
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