Episode 218: The Life of Robert E Howard

We’re back and we’re spoiling for a fight. Well, a boxing match at least. There’s this fellow we met down at the ice house who’s promised us a bout or two. We heard he’s some kind of writer, so his fists must be more used to hitting keys than jaws. Uh oh. Look at the size of him! Is it too late to change this to a different kind of competition, maybe something like writing a poem? What? He’s good at that too? Boy, it’s really not our day….

Main Topic: The Life of Robert E Howard

Following our recent discussion of sword and sorcery, this episode is the first of a two-part look into the life and work of Robert E Howard. A close friend of Lovecraft (although the two men never actually met), Howard was a cornerstone of the success of Weird Tales. He not only added to the Cthulhu Mythos but created, arguably, two enduring subgenres of fantastic fiction: sword and sorcery and the weird western. Like Lovecraft, most of his success came posthumously, his books selling millions of copies. His creations have appeared in films, comics, video game and even the odd RPG. But who was Robert E Howard?

We examine the man himself, looking at how his life might have shaped his writing. For someone who died so young and spent most of his short life in one town, Howard lived a fascinating life. The era of Texan history in which he grew up was a turbulent one, dealing with the fallout of recent conflicts and the shock of the oil boom. These unique circumstances, as well as the oddness of the Howard family, were fertile creative ground for the young writer’s imagination. We offer a brief overview of the key events of his life and some thoughts of our own.

As a general content warning, this episode includes some brief discussion of Howard’s suicide.

Our next episode builds upon this discussion, looking at Howard’s writing career and his most famous creation, Conan the Cimmerian.

Robert E Howard

Links

Our main research sources for this episode are:

Other things we mention in this episode include:

News

October Horror Movie Challenge 2021

It is that time of year again. Scott is preparing to embark on the October Horror Movie Challenge, watching a horror film every day and posting a full review to this very website. If you would like to take part too, please join the discussion on our Discord server or on Twitter.

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Issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome

We have started work on issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the semi-annual fanzine we produce for our Patreon backers. While the issue is filling up fast, there is still space if you would like to submit an article of 500 words or under, or any black-and-white artwork. You can contact us at submissions@blasphemoustomes.com.

This latest issue will feature “Night Bus”, a brand new scenario from our own Scott Dorward. Prepare to enter the horrors of late-night public transport in Greater London. Things are going to get weird!

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