We’re back and we’re hitting the books. That’s probably not fair, though. Just because they’re full of boxing tales doesn’t mean they can hit back. And two-fisted stories don’t actually seem to have any fists of their own. We’re beginning to suspect that this fiction stuff is all made up.
Main Topic: The Works of Robert E Howard
This episode is the conclusion of our two-part look into the life and works of Robert E Howard. Last time, we offered an overview of Howard’s life. This time, it’s the turn of his work.
As well as being the creator of Conan the Cimmerian, Solomon Kane, Kull of Atlantis, and the Pictish king, Bran Mak Morn, Howard initiated both the sword and sorcery and weird western genres. In his sadly short career, Howard wrote horror, boxing yarns, comedies, historical adventures, and action stories. With the encouragement of his friend H P Lovecraft, he penned tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. And that’s without mentioning his voluminous poetry output. He was as versatile as he was prolific. While we cover the broad strokes of his career, we would need dozens of episodes just to catalogue his work. As a result, this is an incomplete and highly idiosyncratic summary of Howard’s career and legacy.
Our next episode wraps up this series by exploring one of Howard’s most famous stories, “The Tower of the Elephant”.
Our main research sources for this episode are:
- Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E Howard by Mark Finn
- A Means to Freedom: The Letters of H P Lovecraft and Robert E Howard edited by S T Joshi, David E Schultz and Rusty Burke
- Nameless Cults: The Cthulhu Mythos Fiction of Robert E Howard edited by Robert M Price
Things we mention in this episode include:
- Conan the Cimmerian
- Solomon Kane
- Robert E Howard’s poetry
- “The Sea” by Robert E Howard
- “Spear and Fang” by Robert E Howard
- Weird Tales
- “Red Nails” by Robert E Howard
- Sailor Steve Costigan
- Boxing pulp magazines
- Post Oaks & Sand Roughs by Robert E Howard
- “The Shadow Kingdom” by Robert E Howard
- Kull of Atlantis
- Bran Mak Morn
- Weird fiction
- “The Tower of the Elephant” by Robert E Howard
- Clark Ashton Smith
- Lord Dunsany
- Gods of Pegāna by Lord Dunsany
- The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Oriental Stories/The Magic Carpet Magazine
- Red Sonya of Rogatino
- Red Sonja
- The Savage Sword of Conan
- Red Sonja (1985)
- Unaussprechlichen Kulten
- The Lovecraft Circle
- “Dig Me No Grave” by Robert E Howard
- “The Thing on the Roof” by Robert E Howard
- August Derleth
- E Hoffman Price
- “The Black Stone” by Robert E Howard
- “Pigeons From Hell” by Robert E Howard
- “The Hyborean Age” by Robert E Howard
- “By This Axe I Rule” by Robert E Howard
- “The Phoenix on the Sword” by Robert E Howard
- El Borak
- Top Notch Magazine
- Blazing Saddles (1974)
- Cactus Jack (1979)
- “The Horror From the Mound” by Robert E Howard
- Breckinridge Elkins
- A Gent From Bear Creek by Robert E Howard
- “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” by H P Lovecraft
- Skull-Face and Others by Robert E Howard
- Arkham House
- Gnome Press
- L Sprague de Camp
- Lancer Conan series
- Frank Frazetta
- Robert E Howard Library from Del Rey Books
- Comics Code Authority
- Karl Edward Wagner
- Delphi Classics Complete Works of Robert E Howard
- Edward de Bono
- Cheerful nihilism
- Sonia Greene
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 email@example.com.
This issue will include our usual year-end features, including “The Ludomancers” and “Episodes of Insanity”. We offer a few hints about what to expect in the news segment.
Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff
Paul recently attended the Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff convention in Leamington Spa, where he played Barbarians of Lemuria and ran Call of Cthulhu.
October Horror Movie Challenge 2021
Scott is deep into 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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Several years ago I was sitting at a bar and I told my friend, who is much more well read than I, “I just ordered a collection of Conan stories and think it should be some dumb fun.” My friend admonished me and rightly said the original Conan doesn’t resemble the stupid Schwarzenegger version of the character at all, and that he was jealous that I was about to go on a wild ride.
What I had purchased was the first of the Del Rey books and the Howard Conan short stories are amazing. I tore through the stories which are laid out as Howard wrote/published them and you see and feel Howard’s enthusiasm for the character grow and ebb. I love Howard’s pacing. I loved that ride, and at the end of the Del Rey series I really felt genuinely bad that Howard’s father hadn’t intervened and tried to help him with his depression. I think readers were robbed and Howard was evolving with his writing and we missed out on what might have been.
You probably already know this, but Savage Sword of Conan (which was a large-format b&w magazine) came four years after the colour comic Conan the Barbarian by Roy Thomas and Barry Smith (Windsor added later).