Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shadow of the Vulture

"Red Sonya from Rogatino—that's all we know. Marches and fights like a man—God knows why. Swears she's sister to Roxelana, the Soldan's favorite. If the Tatars who grabbed Roxelana that night had got Sonya, by Saint Piotr! Suleyman would have had a handful! Let her alone, sir brother; she's a wildcat. Come and have a tankard of ale."

So, I finished "Shadow of the Vulture" this weekend. All-in-all a very good story. As I mentioned in an earlier post I have not read much of Robert E. Howard. Verdict; I will read some more.

As a short story, it works very well. It has good action and details mass combat without losing the reader. I am no expert on the history described, but if I want to know about the Ottoman Empire or the Siege of Vienna I would go somewhere else anyway.

Initially, I think Marvel did a nice job transforming Sonja to the Hyborean Age. Their Sonja is pretty close early on (Marvel Feature presents... Red Sonja and Red Sonja: She-Devil with a Sword). Later adaptations by Marvel were not so good. Obviously Marvel also sexed her up a bit, but comics are a visual medium.

One thing I like is the lack of overt feminism to the character in Howard's work. I consider myself a feminist (regardless of my love of porn and strippers), but enjoy when a female character, for the most part, just gets to be a character. Howard does not beat you over the head with "ooooh, she's a woman in a man's world." Obviously there are moments, but in many respects it is like Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. We, hopefully, will not make a big deal out of race and let a great character be a great character.

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