Still not much news on Conan the Barbarian 2011, but there is some abstract information on the tie-in merchandise: not only will we have Age of Conan tie-ins, we may well have a novelization of the film. I feared it would be so: a book, based on a film, based on a literary character. The circle of merchandizing, I guess.
Conan the Barbarian
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Michael A. Stackpole
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$7.99 Pre-order – Available on July 05, 2011
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Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Date: July 05, 2011
So, Mr Stackpole may be the man for the unenviable task. I’m not personally familiar with Stackpole’s work, but he appears to have quite a following for his Battletech books. Amra also posted some information from Stackpole’s site, where he cites Robert E. Howard as an influence on his work, as well as highlighting some of his work ethic.
Film tie-ins can be close to the source material, or totally different, given which scripts they have access to, or the length of the studio’s leash on an author. An idea for what Stackpole’s Conan the Barbarian may end up being can gleaned by a look at the last novelization for a Howard film: Ramsey Campbell’s Solomon Kane. Considering Campbell’s history with Solomon Kane pastiche, he seemed the natural choice. It hasn’t been released in the US, but UK reviewers have been fairly positive. However, Stackpole has not written Howard pastiche before, and with all due respect to his talents, Ramsey Campbell is considered one of the finest British horror authors currently writing.
I’ve no idea how Stackpole’s Conan the Barbarian will go: will it simply go from the script, or will Stackpole be ambitious, and embellish the backgrounds of characters like Khalar Zym, Ukafa and the like? If he’s really ambitious, he could even attempt to make the whole thing somehow compatible with the original stories, like de Camp attempted with his novelization of Conan the Barbarian (1982). I don’t think it’ll be any more successful than de Camp’s attempt — even disregarding one’s opinion of de Camp as a Conan pasticheur, there’s simply no way to reconcile Conan the Barbarian with Howard, and I don’t see it being any easier with this film — but it would at least be a worthy gesture.
Best of luck, Mr Stackpole: you’re going to need it!