While I certainly recommend non-fiction over fiction and rarely read fiction nowadays when I was young I probably would have never gotten into reading if it weren’t for fiction. Masculine fiction too if I had to read what kids have to read nowadays I would have sworn of reading for good if only for the sake of my testosterone. However reading does not have to be this way. Reading can be masculine and it can teach men good things about being a man. There was fiction when I was young that was instrumental in making me the man I am today.
Stories of heroes, legends, monsters, and gods. Stories of death, blood, betrayal, war, and conquering. All of the fiction that I have selected here is all but guaranteed to raise your testosterone and light that fire in your heart. Fiction is often underestimated for it’s power. After all it was Achilles that inspired Alexander The Great to conquer the known world. Of course there was more to the story than that yet nevertheless a fictional example gave birth to the real thing. Likewise fiction can be used the same way for you. To look for good fiction we generally have to go back some years but it is there and worth a read.
The Tales Of Conan The Barbarian
“My characters are more like men than these real men are, see. They’re rough and rude, they got hands and they got bellies. They hate and they lust; break the skin of civilization and you find the ape, roaring and red-handed.”
Robert E. Howard
The Conan tales were written by Robert E. Howard. Conan goes from being a slave, to being a conqueror, to becoming a king. Through it all he learns that the things that he can rely on are the sharpness of his sword, his wit, and his strength everything else falls away and will fail him. Robert E. Howard understood the soul of a man and that at it’s core it is the barbarian that represents this best. It is the barbarian that has freedom, strength, and honor. It is the barbarian making his own forcing the world to his own image that best represents man.
The Conan tale deal with themes of masculinity, strength, freedom, and how might makes right. Lessons that should be learned young and taught often. Howard was not a fan of the modern world and believed in a more honorable time. Conan like all men learned to forge his way in the world and stand up against all odds. He learned to trust in himself and his strength. And that civilization was a scourge and at best a necessary evil. Conan had many lessons to teach me and will do the same for you. Highly recommend you pick it up. Also for some great artwork check of Frank Frazetta’s Conan works.
The Warhammer 40k Series
“Do not waste your tears. I was not born to watch the world grow dim. Life is not measured in years, but by the deeds of men.”
The Warhammer 40k Series is set in a universe where mankind has expanded across the galaxy. Mankind has banded together under one banner of the God Emperor in a militaristic regime (the only one that works). Strength, honor, duty, and brotherhood are what reign supreme in the world of Warhammer 40k. Mankind is under attack from all sides from different kinds of alien races. All different yet all still seeking the destruction of man. In response to this mankind has developed a incredible warrior called the space marine. While I am not as familiar with this series as I am with Conan I still like what I have seen so far.
The space marines are divided into different chapters (brotherhoods) each with their own history and rites yet all share the common tie to further the will of the God Emperor and expand mankind’s domain throughout space by eradicating the alien forces. Many of these rites are very well done and could be something coming from real warrior societies that have faded into history. Brotherhood, strength, honor, and duty to the God Emperor are the themes of Warhammer 40k. Also through strength and pain normal men can be forged into the space marine representing ascension. Recommend you pick up a book about the space marines, a culture much superior to our own even if it is “only” fiction.
Tarzan Of The Apes
“I do not understand exactly what you mean by fear,” said Tarzan. “Like lions, fear is a different thing in different men, but to me the only pleasure in the hunt is the knowledge that the hunted thing has power to harm me as much as I have to harm him. If I went out with a couple of rifles and a gun bearer, and twenty or thirty beaters, to hunt a lion, I should not feel that the lion had much chance, and so the pleasure of the hunt would be lessened in proportion to the increased safety which I felt.”
Edgar Rice Burroughs
I remember reading the original Tarzan books as a kid. I always thought how preferably it’d be to run around the woods hunting and fighting and doing whatever I wanted then being stuck in school all day. Like Conan Tarzan is also a barbarian of sorts and lives his life freely and away from the sickness of civilization. Something interesting I’ve noticed is that books with masculinity either go back to the primal or forward to militaristic societies. This middle ground we occupy now has no room or place for masculinity. Tarzan lives through his wits and strength against a world that does not want him and wants to destroy him.
Likewise Tarzan also fights against civilization that would throw him in chains. Tarzan fights to be free and to live on his own terms. Tarzan seeks to challenge himself and has his own sense of honor that he holds himself too. I knew from a young age that I didn’t want to go to a cubicle every day where I had to lick the boots of the most mediocre people. Tarzan inspires a desire for freedom and to never be caged from a young age. A lesson that I’m glad I learned and one that is useful for all men.
I think people greatly underestimate the power of fiction and of myth. Both have been used to lead entire nations and create great works of art or great conquest. Having heroes that are above the level of man pushes man forward to greater and greater heights. Even the artwork from these pieces causes something to stir deep within a man, which is why I have included them here. Even though we cannot be a sword swinging barbarian pillaging and conquering as we go or a super soldier crushing all enemies of mankind we can still aspire to higher things and myth is fundamental to keeping that fire that burns in the heart of man. All of these books will increase that fire. Now go read them.
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