Robert E. Howard Readers discussion

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message 1: by Werner (new)

Werner I've gotten started on The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane at last. It'll take awhile to finish, since I'll be reading it piecemeal when I'm between novels. (So far, I'm enjoying it a lot!)


message 2: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments That's what I do. I read a short story between various novels. Unfortunately, I'm not reading any REH right now - I'm waiting for the third installment of Fists of Iron to be released.


message 3: by Ó Ruairc (new)

Ó Ruairc | 169 comments I'm currently reading a book about prehistoric Ireland; before that I read a book about the Pennsylvania frontier in the 18th century. I'd say 90% of the books I read could possibly be labeled "Howard-related." Is that stretching it a bit?


message 4: by Werner (new)

Werner O'Ruairc, good question! When I came up with "Howard-related" for the thread title, I was thinking of books by Howard, books about his life and writing, or pastiches with his characters. But I guess anyone who posts on the thread can judge for himself/herself what's "Howard-related," as long as you explain the connection! :-)


message 5: by Ó Ruairc (last edited Jul 30, 2014 06:45AM) (new)

Ó Ruairc | 169 comments Well, Werner, I'm in agreement with you. Whether a book should be considered "Howard-related" or not, must depend upon the reader's personal perspective. Granted, there are numerous books that are unquestionably Howard-related. By a different token, there are also scores and scores of books that could be Howard-related, but labeling them as such would depend upon the individual reading them.
As mentioned in the previous post, I have just finished reading two books - one was about prehistoric Ireland; the other was about Pennsylvania's frontier during the 18th century. The way I look at it, both of these histories are Howard-related because their subject matter would have interested R.E.H. immensely. Howard had a tremendous passion for Ireland; too, he doted upon the frontier, any frontier. It didn't matter if it was the 5th century frontiers of northern England, the 18th century frontier of early America, or the 19th century frontier of the Old West, R.E.H. had a particular fascination for any borderland that separated savagery from civilization.
In short, any book Howard would have relished reading himself I'd classify as a Howard-related book. Fortunately for me, R.E.H. and I share many of the same interests; such as it is, I can state, without err, that a goodly percentage of the books in my library could be described as "Howard-related." Then again, I might be expanding this too much. For instance, I know R.E.H. read about ancient Rome; nevertheless, in a letter to Lovecraft he once wrote how he had a "dislike for all things Roman." So, does this mean a book like "Plutarch's Lives" is "Howard-related?" I know not. Again, it's probably up to the reader to judge.


message 6: by Werner (new)

Werner Earlier this week, I finished The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane; if anyone's interested, my completed review is here: www.goodreads.com/review/show/133880459 . (Even among Howard fans, reaction to Kane varies; but personally, he's my new favorite among REH's male characters, and I gave this collection five stars.)


message 7: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments I liked your review, Werner. Well done.


message 8: by Werner (new)

Werner Thanks, Vincent!


message 9: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments I finished Fists of Iron: Round 3, which I very much liked. Currently, I am reading Swords of the North.


message 10: by Mark (new)

Mark (markfinn) | 13 comments I'm glad you're digging the boxing stuff, Vincent. As gung-ho as I am about the stories, I recognize they are not for everyone. However, if anyone is trying to get a balanced picture of both Howard the man and Howard the writer, I think you HAVE to read some of his humorous work. It's critical. And it really shows just how talented he was, going from an extreme like Costigan to the whole other side of the spectrum, with Conan or Cormac FitzGeoffrey. People don't give Howard enough credit for his range.


message 11: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments I completely agree with you,Mark. I also owe you a HUGE debt of gratitude. I had read a bit of his humorous stories in the past (about 20 years ago), The Incredible Adventures Of Dennis Dorgan and a few stories here and there in the The Book of Robert E. Howard and The Second Book of Robert E. Howard, and found it okay at best; however, your explanation of the tall tale and the Texas tradition in your Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard made it 'click' for me, and I started reading all of his humorous stories I could find and was able to laugh and appreciate them unlike ever before. You gave those stories a context that was lost to me, and now the Costigan stories rank among my favorites. So, anyway, that is my way of saying thank you. You gave me new context to enjoy REH and I'll always appreciate that.


message 12: by Mark (new)

Mark (markfinn) | 13 comments You are most welcome. I'm very glad to have helped bring Costigan out from the shadow of Conan.


message 13: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 257 comments I have started Kull of Atlantis collection and i have read the first story untitled/Exile of Atlantis story. The writing is crisper more mature REH fantasy than i expected since Kull was early in his S&S career.

Now reading the second story The Shadow Kingdom. It is like reading King Conan story seeing Kull who is King and how he was before he became king.


message 14: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments I'd agree. His fantasy in Kull is a little more mature, a little darker, and a little more cerebral than his Conan stories. A lot of people think the Kull stories are superior, but that the darker, cerebral tone of them is what makes them less popular, less accessible.


message 15: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Thomas (benjaminthomas) To celebrate REH's 111th birthday I read "Kings of the Night", part of the Del Rey Bran Mak Morn: The Last King collection. It's a great story combing both Kull and Bran in a single story :)


message 16: by Greg (new)

Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom | 7 comments I'm reading The Copper Promise, book 1 of the Copper Cat series. No denying that it's straight up sword & sorcery along the lines of Howard or Lieber, though its not so dark.


message 17: by Greg (last edited Jan 24, 2017 05:43AM) (new)

Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom | 7 comments Vincent wrote: "I'd agree. His fantasy in Kull is a little more mature, a little darker, and a little more cerebral than his Conan stories. A lot of people think the Kull stories are superior, but that the darker,..."

Agreed, but I would I think Bran Mak Morn is even more mature and darker than Kull.


message 18: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments Greg wrote: "Agreed, but I would I think Bran Mak Morn is even more mature and darker than Kull. "

Yes, I think that is true also. "Worms of the Earth" alone merits this distinction, but added to the whole of the series, yes... definitely the case.


message 19: by Ó Ruairc (last edited Jan 25, 2017 12:49AM) (new)

Ó Ruairc | 169 comments Vincent wrote: "I'd agree. His fantasy in Kull is a little more mature, a little darker, and a little more cerebral than his Conan stories. A lot of people think the Kull stories are superior, but that the darker,..."


I too agree. Howard's "Kull" stories are more mature, darker, and cerebral than his Conan yarns. I'd even say they are metaphysical. Example:



"What is absolute silence? Has anyone ever heard it? Is silence not the absence of sound, and sound the absence of silence? But how can the absence of anything be something unless that absence is so absolute it becomes a thing in itself - the Soul of Silence"

The above lines are not an exact quote verbatim. I'm just recalling them from memory, and I forgot which Kull story I read them in, but they do illustrate the esoteric, transcendental, almost philosophical, overtones Howard often uses in his King Kull tales.




message 20: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments That's "The Screaming Skull of Silence." wonderful tale, and definitely on the metaphysical side.


message 21: by Ó Ruairc (new)

Ó Ruairc | 169 comments Aaaah, thanks, Vincent. "The Screaming Skull of Silence". By Valka, I enjoyed that tale. I'm going to hafta read it again very soon.


message 22: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 542 comments The Tor newsletter has a piece on Conan.
http://www.tor.com/2017/04/03/stormin...

I haven't read it yet.


message 23: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments Thanks!


message 24: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 542 comments I did get to read it & enjoyed it. Paralleled my own experience with REH's books amazingly well.


message 25: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments It was a good article. I enjoyed reading it and remembering my early encounters with Conan via the Ace/Lancer books.


message 26: by Michael (new)

Michael (dolphy76) | 440 comments Very nice article. The author is about my age and Conan the Warrior was also my first experience with Robert E Howard and Conan. I read it in 1967 at 13 years old and devoured them all as they became available.


message 27: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments Conan the Adventurer was my first REH experience. Conan the Warrior was my third. Funny, I was also 13 years old.


message 28: by Michael (new)

Michael (dolphy76) | 440 comments Cool. A few years ago I was at REH Days with 2 of my sons and a friend of theirs and we were talking to Bill Cavalier who was telling us about his first experience with Conan. He read "Conan the Adventurer" as a teenager as well. He mentioned that on the back cover of the Lancer paperback it stated that Conan was "A Hero Mightier than Tarzan!" Back then the Tarzan books were selling well for Ballantine Books and to make a statement like that and see that Frazetta painting on the front cover of a muscle bound barbarian with a sword and standing in a pile of skulls with a hot woman laying at his feet...what can I say? For a teenage boy that was to die for! LOL. Bill said "People of the Black Circle" the first story in the book is still his favorite Conan story. I have lots of favorites.....Red Nails being one which was the first story in "Conan the Warrior."


message 29: by Michael (new)

Michael (dolphy76) | 440 comments BTW Jim and Vincent I bought my ticket for REH Days 2017. Good luck on the awards!


message 30: by Vincent (last edited Apr 12, 2017 10:02AM) (new)

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments Yeah, "People of the Black Circle" is the first Conan story I read - and my favorite also.

Excellent, Michael, on the tickets! I still don't know if I can get off work to go.


message 31: by Ó Ruairc (last edited Apr 13, 2017 10:58PM) (new)

Ó Ruairc | 169 comments Indeed, a fine article. I waxed all nostalgic reading it. Back in the day, I bought all the ACE Conan books, and I read them over and over again. I still have these books, but I haven't read them in years. For me, the ACE/Lancer editions kind of went to the wayside once publishing companies starting producing all of Howard's original Conan stories. But the author of this article is right - "Conan the Warrior" is the only one of the series of ACE books wherein all the stories are exclusively Howard's. If I remember a-right, none of the stories in "Conan the Buccaneer" were written by R.E.H. Again, it's been a mighty long while since I've read these books, but even though all the stories were not Howard's, I did enjoy reading the hell out of them in my youth.

Did anyone else beside me ever daydream that they were Conan? Hehehhe, who hasn't, eh? I used to always imagine what it would be like to be Conan in the real-life, 20th-century world of my youth. Such daydreams were, in part, doubtless due to my diminutive size throughout high school; I was a sawed-off, 115-120 pound runt.

Would that I might make it to REH Days this year, but it seems unlikely....dammit. You're going to have to give all of us an account of it, Michael


message 32: by Michael (new)

Michael (dolphy76) | 440 comments Will do. I agree with you on the Lancer/Ace books as well. Loved them and the covers and read and reread them many times over. I actually sold a set of them on eBay as I prefer the original Howard stories in the Del Rey editions in the order written. Conan the Buccaneer was a novel as well as Conan of Aquilonia, Conan the Avenger, and Conan of the Isles. A little too much Thongor in Lin Carter's writing for me to be the real Conan. Having said that I do not mind that there are pastiches of Conan although I don't read them myself anymore. Conan has taken on a life of his own like Tarzan, Dracula, Superman, etc and of course other writers have to take a crack at them. It's like an actor playing Hamlet. You may think Olivier was the best but that doesn't mean others shouldn't play Hamlet. :)


message 33: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 542 comments I've had a lot of luck listening to Librivox recordings lately. A few years ago I tried them & wasn't impressed, but the quality of the narration & recording now seems to be quite good. While looking around, I found they have quite a few of REH's works in audio book format. You can find them here:
https://librivox.org/author/937?prima...


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