Wednesday, February 5, 2014

More Hyborian Vaporware

On a black jade altar lay Yasmela, her naked body gleaming like ivory in the weird light.
[1933] Black Colossus - Frazetta illustrating
I continue to think about Hyborian similes, and I've begun to execute a rough plan of attack. I've decided to focus only on the 18 Conan stories published during his life, according to his wiki bibliography. No deCamp edits, and no scraps (sorry Princess). In the first pass, I've pulled out 707 potential similes. Now I need to spend time reading through them and thinking of a good way to parse them from this point. Of course, all of these potential similes are "like" similes. No "as" as of yet.

Many of the 707 potentials are not actually similes:
  • "I can use an actress like you."  [1935] - Jewels of Gwahlur
  • "I'm not like that Stygian you knifed, and you know it."  [1936] - Red Nails 
Most of the remaining similes won't make good spell fodder because their purpose is to describe a physical attribute (frequently muscles and eyes):
  • Through the coif the eyes blazed like coals of blue fire....  [1936] - The Hour of the Dragon
  • His great muscles quivered, knotting like iron cables.  [1934] - A Witch Shall be Born
  • His eyes were open, but they were like those of a mad dog, and foam was thick on his lips.  [1935] - Shadows in Zamboula
I have no idea how many "action similes" will remain, but I have faith that there will be a decently sized chunk. Enough that I think this could really be glorious.
  • Through the shadows he raced like a phantom....  [1934] - Shadows in the Moonlight
  • ...something like a whip of scorpions fell again and again across his shoulders.... [1933] - The Slithering Shadow
  • ...the blades flamed like summer lightning.... [1933] - The Slithering Shadow
  • ...a terrific blow like a gust of storm wind knocked him sprawling against a rock.    [1934] - The People of the Black Circle
  • He hit the ground running and melted like a shadow into the maze of towering rosebushes and spreading trees.    [1936] - The Hour of the Dragon
  • Dion's high thin squeal broke in a strangled gurgle and his whole flabby frame collapsed like melted butter.    [1932] - The Phoenix on the Sword
Tentative title is "A book of Hyborian Witchery". Also, looking through all this has made me realize how antiquated referencing page or line numbers is. Formatting can vary so much, especially with the push for responsive browsers and devices that it's impossible for that information to truly be accurate. It's a physical medium only thing, and even then it can vary wildly from publisher to publisher and edition to edition. The best milestone really is going to be chapters. The nice thing of course is that the "bifocals of the internet" (i.e., Ctrl+F) makes it all moot, which is pretty dang awesome.

I also went ahead and ran this on a single Lovecraft story and already the feel of the few similes that popped was quite dramatic. This could be very neat.


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