However, Tom drops an absolute bombshell late in the article:
Of significant note to fans, a sequel titled Almuric: Lost Gods is being written for release later this year by Mark Ellis, a prolific adventure writer who has contributed numerous additions to the Outlanders and Deathlands series from Gold Eagle.
A sequel to Almuric?
I... don't know how to feel about that. On the one hand, awesome, Almuric's getting some love. There are many mysteries about the planet to delve into: what is the explanation for the sexual dimorphism of the Guras? Why are some of the animals distinctly earth-like, while others are utterly alien? Where did the Guras get their guns? What are the shrieking shadows of the Icy North, the shadowy colossi who tread the night, the shambling forms that stalk the hills? What was the "awful vanishing" which claimed the builders of the nameless ruins? Who built the Girdle, what was its purpose, and what's on the other side?
On the other hand, what could really be done with Almuric? The Yaga are conquered, the citadel is destroyed, and there's peace among the Kothans and Khorans, with no strife save the daily struggle against the beasts of the planet:
Now, for the first time, there is peace between the cities of Khor and Koth, which have sworn eternal friendship to each other; and the only warfare is the unremitting struggle waged against the ferocious wild beasts and weird forms of animal life that abound in much of the planet. And we two - I an Earthman born, and Altha, a daughter of Almuric who possesses the gentler instincts of an Earthwoman - we hope to instill some of the culture of my native planet into this erstwhile savage people before we die and become as the dust of my adopted planet, Almuric.
Kind of wrapped up in a neat little package.
The final chapter of Almuric is proven completely wrong. The Kothans and Khorans don't become bestest friends forever, and there is no hilarious renaissance emanating from the defeat of the Yagas. Esau's immensely out-of-character narration could be the result of concussion from the destruction of Yugga. Sure, things might be better, but not the idyllic wonderland as the final paragraph alludes. Another possibility, if Ellis is bold, could be to say that the events of the final chapter isn't quite what really happened. I'm still pretty sure that someone wrote the final chapters of Almuric: they read as Howardian as the final chapter of "The Challenge from Beyond" (which is to say, not very). Who's to say that the final chapter isn't some sort of fabrication, or at least a "whitewashed" version of what truly happened? Or... The final chapter stays, and all Ellis does is introduce a new supernatural threat for Esau and co to contend with. Lost Gods sounds like it could be something along those lines.
I'm unfamiliar with Ellis' work, but a quick saunter over to Wikipedia shows he has experience playing in other people's sandboxes: Doc Savage, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, The Green Hornet and more. And more power to him! Still, I don't know how he's going to manage Almuric. Not even Poul Anderson or Karl Edward Wagner could fully do Robert E. Howard justice, but who knows, it might be an interesting experiment. Cryptozoica sounds particularly interesting to me, even if I have to scratch my head at some elements:
Cryptozoica is my take on the classic Lost World theme, with strong scientific underpinnings. Shortly after visiting a dinosaur exhibition at the Museum of Natural History in NYC, I asked myself : “What if an honest-to-God lost world, a real-life version of Skull Island was actually discovered—not 100 years or 70 years ago, but right now? What effect would such a discovery have on the world’s scientific disciplines and religious beliefs?”
It has dinosaurs. I'm interested.
I went over to Coming Attractions to find out more.
"Dinosaurs continue to be immensely popular," says Ellis, the author of 50 books. "Fascination with these animals is not a transitory fad. There are numerous TV shows and magazines and countless online groups devoted to the study and appreciation of dinosaurs."
You're a man after my own heart, Mark!
"Cryptozoica isn't your daddy's Jurassic Park or your great-grand-daddy's Lost World", quips Ellis. "The plot is multi-layered, the characters complex and the action sequences are bare-knuckled and relentless."
Whoa, easy there, Mark. Don't be comparing yourself to Michael Crichton, much less Arthur Conan the Barbarian Doyle. Plus, one of your characters is a Japanese girl wielding a katana, while the other is an action girl with twirly facepaint on her cheeks. The plot/characters/action sequences better be multi-layered/complex/bare-knuckled and relentless.
I never thought of doing a sequel to Almuric, but now that the idea is presented, I can see much potential. Perhaps Esau mounts an expedition to the far north, or past the Girdle, to see what wonders lie beyond. Maybe he investigates the ruins to uncover more of the mystery, only for whole new mysteries to present themselves. What about Hildebrand, could he have journeyed to Almuric? Was a second expedition to Almuric mounted - and was it a peaceful mission formed of scientists, or an invasion with soldiers? How about Hildebrand's device/plans being discovered in the 21st Century, with a new protagonist jaunting to Almuric seventy years later? Humans might not be the only beings to have stumbled upon The Great Secret - who's to say aliens from other worlds (maybe even Yag or Yekkub?) haven't come to Almuric, with less than benevolent intentions?
If anyone's read Ellis, I'd like to know your thoughts on the man, and if he's more likely to be an adequate John Maddox Roberts, a mediocre Lin Carter, or a shameful Steve Perry.