Elak of Atlantis (Trade Paperback)

***½( ) (based on 7 ratings)

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by Henry Kuttner, with an introduction by Joe R. Lansdale

Swords and Spells in Lost Atlantis!

Explore the origins of sword and sorcery with Henry Kuttner’s Elak of Atlantis! Published in Weird Tales to satisfy fans of Conan the Barbarian in the wake of Robert E. Howard’s death, these four stories depict a brutal world of flashing swords and primal magic, touched by a hint of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. Never collected in a mass-market edition since their publication in the late 1930s, these exciting tales helped to establish a genre and are a critical part of any fantasy library. Also included in this collection are Kuttner’s two rare and equally groundbreaking Prince Raynor stories from 1939’s Strange Tales.

Dive into these seminal, thrilling adventure tales from one of the most important writers in science fiction and fantasy, and discover for yourself why Elak of Atlantis is renowned by scholars as a major step in the evolution of a genre.

“He had a kind of magic all writers wish they possessed. Some of us can fake it a little, but Kuttner, he wasn’t faking. He was the real deal.” —Joe R. Lansdale, award-winning author of “Bubba Ho-Tep”


Contents:

  • Introduction: "Kuttner Sharpens His Literary Sword" by Joe R. Lansdale
  • Elak of Atlantis:
    • "Thunder in the Dawn"
    • "The Spawn of Dagon"
    • "Beyond the Phoenix"
    • "Dragon Moon"
  • Prince Raynor:
    • "Cursed be the City"
    • "The Citadel of Darkness"

224-page softcover trade paperback
ISBN: 1-60125-046-0
ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-046-9

"I rather liked them very much, as Kuttner's imagination is every bit as sharp as C. L. Moore's though it takes a different direction, and because his prose is much the cleaner and the stories move. —Dave Truesdale, Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine

"An entertaining collection of sword & sorcery tales." —George T. Dodds, SFSite.com


About the Author

Ray Bradbury once referred to Henry Kuttner as "a neglected master... a man who shaped science fiction and fantasy in its most important years." Born in Los Angeles, Henry Kuttner (1915–1958) sold his first story, "The Graveyard Rats," to Weird Tales in 1936, the same year in which he wrote a fan letter to rising science fiction author C.L. Moore, mistakenly believing her to be a man. The two were married in 1940, and in the years that followed they collaborated constantly, publishing under at least 17 pseudonyms, most notably Lewis Padgett and Keith Hammond. Along with Elak of Atlantis and Prince Raynor, both of which were created before his marriage to Moore, Kuttner's most popular solo works were the Gallegher stories, tales about an inventor who could only build robots while drunk, and who upon sobering immediately forgot their purposes. As a friend of H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, Kuttner also contributed several stories to the Cthulhu mythos. In addition to writing scripts for television in collaboration with Moore, Kuttner wrote several stories that have since been translated to film, most recently "Mimsy Were the Borogroves," released as The Last Mimsy. In the years since his untimely death from a heart attack at 43, Kuttner has been cited as an influence by everyone from Marion Zimmer Bradley to Roger Zelazny, and both Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury have dedicated novels to him.

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***½( ) (based on 7 ratings)

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**( )( )( )

The fourth book in the Planet Stories line is Elak of Atlantis by Henry Kuttner. The book is a collection of six short sword-and-sorcery stories originally published in Weird Tales between 1938 and 1941. Four of the stories feature Elak, a (voluntarily) exiled prince adventuring through a fairly standard generic medieval-Europe style land called Atlantis. With the help of his always drunken friend Lycon and the mysterious druid Dalan, Elak gains the thrown of his native land over the course of the stories after battling evil wizards and the like. The last two stories in the book feature a character named Prince Raynor as the hero, who has similar adventures assisted by a loyal (but always subservient) bodyguard named Eblik and a sword-wielding love interest named Delphia.

Despite the glowing introduction by Joe Lansdale, there's nothing particularly noteworthy or memorable about these stories. They are competent, straight-forward noble hero vs. evil wizard adventure tales, but whatever originality they may have had in the 1930s is definitely gone by now. For the hardcore sword-and-sorcery fan only.

After reading several, I'm pretty bummed with the Planet Stories line of novels--there's a lot less in the way of hidden gems than stories deservedly forgotten.


****( )

These stories aren't the best early Kuttner -- that would probably be his Cthulhu Mythos stories -- but they are very well done and entertaining heroic fantasy stories. They have been out of print for entirely too long. Thank you, Paizo, for bringing these lost jewels of the Golden Age back for a whole new audience to read and enjoy!


I wish there were more Elak stories

****( )

This was one of my favorite Planet Stories so far. It reminded me quite a bit of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. The protagonists were likable, the villains sufficiently evil, and the heroines held their own. I also enjoyed the interesting variations of real-world cultures and mythology.

If only Kuttner had written more Elak stories...


****( )

Yet another cool Paizo Planet Stories book. This one collects Henry Kuttner's Sword and Sorcery stories from the magazine era.

The two heroes in this collection (Elak, the first 4 stories, Prince Raynor, the last two) are or a somewhat different breed from the brooding barbarians Conan and Kull, or the immortal sorcerer survivor Kane.

The pair are more along the lines of Harry Turtledove's Gerin the Fox - both nobility to begin that that prefer the hands on adventuring to sitting on big fancy chairs.

Elak's weapon of choice is the rapier, and as Joe Lansdale points out in his introduction (which you can basically find at Subterranean magazine online 'Kuttner Sharpens His Literary Sword' for those that would like to check it out), meaning he is a rogue with a little more finesse, both at the sharp end, and with the ladies. The latter is where we find him in the first story, late from an assignation to rescue a friend, and wanting to go back for more kisses before facing off with the evil warlock with his mates. Luckily in this story at least, the woman in question fancies going along.

Further, Elak says "...tested the metal of his rapier. It's good to have a weapon like this again. I'll give this blade its baptism today."

"And I'll give mine," Velia broke in, coming lightly up the hill toward them. Her slim armor-clad body gleamed in the gray light of false dawn.

Elak wants her to say, but "Velia smiled and shook her head. "I've tasted awar, and I like the draft. Listen!"

Raynor's female companion also prefers the road to staying at home.

There's something here for the Lovecraft fan, too, in some of the style, and opponents.

Kuttner's Sword and Sorcery tales are certainly of good quality. Well done to Paizo for collecting these obscure stories and giving them another go round.


Elak Rocks

****( )

Elak of Atlantis is a collection of stories by Henry Kuttner. These stories are written in the tradition of Conan. Elak is the brother of a King in Northern Atlantis and it follows his adventures through several conflicts with beings of great magical power often with divine help. There are Druids, Monsters, Gods, Swordplay and damsels in distress. Great work from a simplier time. I have read several Planet Stories books now and I have enjoyed them all.


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Has this title been delayed?

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Yes, but not too badly. It's scheduled to hit port on Friday, and should be available for purchase online by about the 15th or so and in stores shortly thereafter. The good news is that "The Secret of Sinharat," the December Planet Stories release, is part of the same shipment and should be released on time.


Uh-oh: "expected January 2008". I guess I'll be waiting a mite longer now...


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Where do you see the new date? It still looks like December to me...

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

The books have landed in California and should be up here within the next week or two. So we're still clinging (perhaps somewhat desperately) to a December release.


Hi!
I have a new subscription that begins with "The Secret of Sinherat".
Will i also receive a copy of the elak stories or do i have to order it extra?
Thanks and take care.
Doug

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Douglas Draa wrote:

Hi!

I have a new subscription that begins with "The Secret of Sinherat".
Will i also receive a copy of the elak stories or do i have to order it extra?
Thanks and take care.
Doug

Elak preceded Sinharat in the release schedule, so you'll need to order it separately. Fortunately, we're still running the "catch-up" offer for Planet Stories subscribers, so you can get any of the earlier books in the line for the subscriber price, so long as you order before the end of January.


It'd be nice to get the exact content listings of these anthologies, so we can see what stories they contain.


Hi!
Has something gone wrong with the "Elak" delivery? Amazon.de just canceled my order. They said that it is not available??
Does this book even exist? Or does amazon have an overseas distribution problem?? Since Amazon.de doesn't charge postage it is cheaper for me to order through them instead of ordering back issues from you all directly. It would be also cheaper for me to order the new volumes directly from Amazon.de and save the postage all the way to Germany. But I figured that by subscribing I would help the series with "pre-order" sales. Will the later volumes also be delayed?

take care.
Doug

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Doug,

Elak of Atlantis has been out for quite a while—it left our warehouse at the end of December. We don't have insight into amazon.de, but I'll have our senior book editor make some inquiries with Amazon's distributor.


Vic Wertz wrote:

Doug,

Elak of Atlantis has been out for quite a while—it left our warehouse at the end of December. We don't have insight into amazon.de, but I'll have our senior book editor make some inquiries with Amazon's distributor.

Hi!

Amazon.de has it now "in stock" so i went and ordered it. It should be here by Friday!! :-) yeee haw!!
Doug

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