Robert E. Howard Readers discussion

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 08, 2008 08:06AM) (new)

OK, so I am a little late setting up this thread!

Please let everyone know who you are and give a little background about your interest in Howard!

I'll kick it off!

I bought my first REH book in 1977/8 when I picked up a second-hand copy of Conan of Cimmeria (UK Sphere - black bordered edition). I was around 12 at the time.
Since then I have bought far too many REH books and am still on the lookout for more (I am waiting for my copy of the Collected Poetry, to arrive from The REH Foundation as I type).

Aside from my interest in REH, I am an avid reader of Science Fiction and the pulps. Not much of a fantasy fan (other than Sword and Sorcery).

I also produce the Dial P For Pulp! Podcast (

message 2: by Dan (new)

Dan (akagunslinger) I'm Dan. I picked up a Conan omnibus a few years ago after blowing through all the Moorcock and Leiber I could get my hands on. Since then, I've went through some Kull and Solomon Kane stuff but I keep returning to the Cimmerian.

message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 544 comments I started reading my father's books when I was quite young. I was an only child living in the country in the 60's, so there wasn't much TV or anything. I read early, if not what some would consider well. The Conan covers were just too awesome not to read. Conan standing on a pile of enemies or chained above a snake just begged me to find out 'the rest of the story'... so I guess I read my first one in around 1967 - I think that was the year of the big snowstorm. I hunkered in for a couple of days with it. Wonderful! Lots of action, although I recall wondering why the guy wanted that girl so bad.

My wife & kids all read a lot of the same stuff, although only myself & one boy are into REH. I have a couple/few thousand books in all, mostly SF & Fantasy. One entire wall of my bedroom is a built-in bookshelf (one of my first projects when we moved in). I love being able to lie there in bed & look at the spines. Some are so beatup that no one but me would know what they are, but I can look over the shelves & know them all. There are notes of paper scattered about with chronologies of series, notes & such on them. Mostly they're paperbacks & the shelves are less tidy than 'lived-in'.

message 4: by Werner (new)

Werner I'm a librarian and an avid reader; other things being equal, I prefer speculative fiction (fantasy, SF and supernatural), though I like descriptive fiction too. My introduction to Howard came relatively late (I'm 56) by reading "Swords of the Purple Kingdom" in 1989. As a high school kid, I'd heard of the Conan writings and the original movie, Conan the Barbarian; but didn't experience either of these until after watching the sequel, Conan the Destroyer, on VHS in the early 1990s. I've read more of Howard's work since, and a pastiche or two, and have liked what I read; but I'm not as well read in it as most of you probably are, so I'm in this group mostly to learn from the rest of you. :-)

message 5: by Charles (new)

Charles (kainja) | 115 comments I'm Charles Gramlich. I'm a member of REHupa and have been for over ten years. I typically hit Cross Plains for HOward days almost every year. I've been a big fan of heroic fantasy a long time, particularly sword and sorcery and sword and planet stuff. Howard and Burroughs were big influences on my fantasy writing. My Sword and Planet trilogy, the Talera series, sort of mixes the Barsoom books and HOward's Almuric in tone.

message 6: by Mark (new)

Mark (markfinn) | 13 comments I'm Mark Finn, also a REHupa member, and the author of "Blood & Thunder: the Life and Art of Robert E. Howard." Happy to be here, and always interested in talking REH.

message 7: by John (last edited Dec 10, 2008 04:49AM) (new)

John Karr (karr) | 117 comments Hello. Some of your names and pics are familiar.

Guess I started commented before an intro. Writer with a day job and wife and kids here. I read and write in various genres, but always return to the speculative side of life. Huge fan of the works of Howard and Wagner. Maybe it's my bias, but I haven't found any other writers who commanded the scene like they did.

That said, I guess it was the Frazetta covers that drew me in as a teen as much as anything. Made me set aside the Conan comics for actual prose.

message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 544 comments Maybe we should have a topic for the covers. Frazetta covers drew me in as well, but I like Vallejho as well. The new book I got has a different illustrator.

message 9: by Casper (new)

Casper | 5 comments Hey there. I am Casper from Denmark. I am fairly new to REH, I jumped aboard around the centennial, with the Gollanzc Conan edition, and I've been hooked ever since. It is my goal, like so many before me, to read all REH stories before I die. We'll see how it goes. My favourites are Solomon Kane, De Montour, Conrad and Kirowan, Conan and what have. Basically anything eerie.

message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 544 comments Welcome, Casper. I just read The Best of Robert E. Howard: Crimson Shadows & The Best of Robert E. Howard Volume 2: Grim Lands. I really got a better look at Howard's work through them. A little bit of all his work & quite a bit of his poetry.

message 11: by Casper (new)

Casper | 5 comments Those are both great collections. However, it annoys me that being a REH collector, I now have many of the stories in three or four different releases. I wish a complete collection could be produced. But then again, don't we all.

message 12: by John (new)

John Karr (karr) | 117 comments Hey Casper. Welcome to the REH world. I've been in and out of it for thirty years and haven't read all of his works, and am glad. Don't want to run out of reading material like I did with Karl Edward Wagner.

I picked up Best Horror Stories of REH from Del Rey just last night. Has a mix of genres, like Jim pointed out re: Grim Lands. Looking forward to reading it.

message 13: by Casper (new)

Casper | 5 comments As well you should, The Horror stories from Del Rey isd a very good collection, highly recommended. Thank you all so far for your warm welcome. It is nice to be able to discuss REH with other fans. Not many of my friends read REH, and my girlfriend is not that interested, I don't understand why not.

And, John, of course you're right, the worst that can ever happen is that one reads all the stories by ones favourite author. Because what next?

message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 544 comments Casper wrote: "Those are both great collections. However, it annoys me that being a REH collector, I now have many of the stories in three or four different releases. I wish a complete collection could be produce..."

I think I've been reading REH for close to 40 years, have about 50 books & still find new stories in the collections, not to mention re-writes that can be as interesting. I agree, it IS a pain buying new books all the time, but I have to agree with John. It is nice to be able to get some new stories. I'm a Wagner fan too & I am hoping some of his books will be re-released. Some are impossible to find & others are very expensive.

message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael (dolphy76) | 447 comments My name is Mike. I was first drawn in by the Frazetta covers on the Lancer editons published in the Sixties. I bought and read Conan the Warrior first. Been a huge Howard fan since 1966. I collect and read as much Howard and about Howard as I can. I read Mark Finn's book "Blood and Thunder" last summer. Best and most respectful Howard Bio I've ever read.

message 16: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 544 comments Welcome, Michael. It was the Frazetta covers that drew me in to reading REH, too! I have a few of Frazetta's books now. Just pictures. Absolutely great.

message 17: by Craig (last edited Apr 25, 2011 10:16AM) (new)

Craig Halloran My name is Craig Halloran and I am forty and have loved Conan the Barbarian since I was about 7 years old. Started with the comics because I loved the swords, art and action. Like David, I picked up a secondhand Conan the Wanderer and entered into the a WHOLE NEW WORLD! It was junior high and I just started reading and The wanderer was my 2nd full length fantasy read. Man, I have been totally Conan ever since. I have about 4 complete sets of the paperbacks 1-12, and the full Donald M. Grant set as well as lots of other goodies. My son's middle name is Conan. My wife truly loves me to allow me to do this. I tried contributing to REHUPA but didn't get around to it. But Howard and Conan truly inspired me to write my own Full Length Fantasy of my own. It's called 'The Darkslayer' and you can currently look into it at
It certainly has some Conan-like qualities because I love smashmouth, skull splitting, bone cracking, blood splashing adventure!
Enough about me, as a Conan collecter, is there any thing on the shelves I should be looking to pick up that is a bit different and has some history I may have not known about? I am glad to be aboard.

message 18: by Michael (new)

Michael (dolphy76) | 447 comments Welcome Craig. Do you like other Howard characters besides Conan?

message 19: by Craig (new)

Craig Halloran No, I tried the Ghent of Bear Creek, Bran Mak Mor, Kull the Conqueror, Solomon Kane, but it just didn't stick like Conan. I like other stories though like, Pigeons from Hell and Dig me no Grave. Anything you can recommend?

message 20: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 544 comments Craig wrote: "...I like other stories though like, Pigeons from Hell and Dig me no Grave..."

If you liked 'Pigeons from Hell', see if you can get
Black Canaan. That's a good bunch of his horror stories.

Have you tried any of his westerns (besides humorous) or boxing stories?

message 21: by John (last edited Feb 26, 2009 05:13AM) (new)

John Karr (karr) | 117 comments I'm with Craig on REH's characters ... Conan is the most compelling, but then I just can't get into his "modern-day" stuff.

Black Canaan was a good, Jim. If memory serves, one of the stories involved a ship-wrecked sailor on an island of humongous crabs. Elements of that story stick with me to this day. The guy's determination vs. murderous foes ...

Yep, clicked on your link. That's the cover art/story.

message 22: by Craig (new)

Craig Halloran Black Canaan is on my list. thanks!

message 23: by Hotspur (new)

Hotspur (hotspurot) | 1 comments Hey, I listend to dial p for pulp (or have in the past, I lost track of it). Good job!


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)


Thanks, I have kind of lost track of it myself these past couple of months! I am trying edit a show together just now but am having real problems getting inspired.

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 50 comments Name's Mike I ran across a paper back copy of some Conan stories in....roughly....1966/67. There weren't a lot available that i could find then. I read all the Lancer series later in the 70s. I also collected the Marvel Conan the Barbarian comics and the black and white Savage Sword of Conan. Over that decade I serched out the Kull stories and then the Bran mac Morn and Solomon Kane.

I was of course hooked.

This led to Lovecraft and other pulp reads.

I still have a few of the Lancer titles and am trying to track down some of the others (that I can afford).

Just recently got the Science Fiction book club versions of the Conan stories.

And the other Howard offerings.

As of now I'm still a fantasy attic and Howard fan.

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

thepaladin wrote: "Name's Mike I ran across a paper back copy of some Conan stories in....roughly....1966/67. There weren't a lot available that i could find then. I read all the Lancer series later in the 70s. I als..."

Hi Mike,

Welcome aboard! Your story seems to share much with the rest of us.

message 27: by John (new)

John Karr (karr) | 117 comments Ditto. Conan comics got there before the books for me. Kind of my gateway drug to the realms of Robert E. Howard.

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 50 comments I was an adult (at least in years and body) by the time the comics appeared, and I was already a commic book collector. Since then (saddly) during hard times I had to sell my collections. Of course I have picked up the "bound collections" of the savage Sword of Conan collections to get them back.

message 29: by John (new)

John Karr (karr) | 117 comments There's bound collections of the comic books? Hmmm. Maybe Santy will bring one if I make the good list.

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 50 comments It's collections of Savage Sword of Conan...the black and white books from the 70s. (They may have been around in the 80s I forget)....getting old.

message 31: by Mohammed (last edited May 12, 2010 08:06AM) (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) | 257 comments Im Mohammed an avid reader from Somalia but who has growed up in Sweden.

I read my first Robert.E Howard story with Phoenix in The Sword in as late as 2007 januari. It opened my mind to one of my all time fav authors. Opened the way for to pulp greats,classic fantasy,sf.

Conan is great but Solomon Kane,El Borak stories has passed him as my fav stories,fav heroes. REH writing was at their best then. Conan world,setting is much more fantastic,wonderful though.

message 32: by Mark (new)

Mark (mehall) | 3 comments Mark Hall here. Editor of the THE DARK MAN: JOURNAL OF ROBERT E. HOWARD STUDIES; long-time S&S fan.

message 33: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 544 comments Welcome to you both. I know Mohammed from other groups. It's great to meet you, Mark. Howard was one of my early reasons to read.

message 34: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) | 257 comments Welcome Mark.

message 35: by Steven (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 2 comments I read my first Howard back in 1967 if memory serves. I bought the Lancer paperback editions of Conan: Conan the Conquerer and thought it was great! Strangely enough, the blurb on the book "in the tradition of J.R.R. Tolkien" was what got me to choose the book, rather than the Frank Frazaetta cover. I had just read The Hobbit and really enjoyed it. Well, despite the fantasy element there were major differences between Conan and Bilbo, but I enjoyed each. Having said that though, REH is the author I came to love more than any other fantasy writer with the possible exception of Karl Edward Wagner.

I quickly picked up Conan: Conan the Adventurer after that, followed by the Lancer editions of King Kull, Conan the Warrior and Wolfshead. In 1970 I discovered the Conan comic books with Barry Smith's illustrations but I was already a life long REH fan by then.

Most recent REH addition was El Borak and Other Desert Adventures. Over the years I'd have to say the boxing stories and the humorous westerns have become my favorites, but I love all REH stuff, even his letters and detective stories. I'm a fan.

message 36: by Mohammed (last edited May 16, 2010 08:05AM) (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) | 257 comments Welcome to the group Steven.

Have you read El Borak stories yet ? Maybe you read a few of them years ago first ?

I have not read the westerns(serious,humour),Boxning,detective stories yet but my fav so far is Solomon Kane,El Borak,Conan,horror stories,historical fiction.

message 37: by Nickolas (last edited Jun 03, 2010 06:32AM) (new)

Nickolas Cook | 2 comments Hi,
My name is Nickolas Cook. And this will do for an intro as well as any, I suppose...

“Nickolas Cook lives in the beautiful American Southwest desert with his wife and four fat, happy pugs. He is the editor-in-chief of The Black Glove, a free monthly online magazine dedicated to horror culture and entertainment ( He is also the fiction moderator for ( His short stories, non-fiction articles and book and film reviews have appeared in dozens of print and online magazines and anthologies. He’s the author of THE BLACK BEAST OF ALGERNON WOOD (, BALEFUL EYE (, the hit mashup, ALICE IN WONDERLAND(, and the novel length, all original, sequel, ALICE AND THE QUEEN OF THE DEAD (link forthcoming), and a short story collection to be released in September 2010, 'ROUND MIDNIGHT AND OTHER TALES OF LOST SOULS, from Damnation Press (link forthcoming). His work has been compared to the quiet horror masters of old, such as M.R. James, Algernon Blackwood and Robert Aickman, with a twist of bebop jazz for good measure. To contact the author, email

I'm a huge R.E. Howard fan from way back in the 70s, when there was a renewed interest in his works. His works led me to read Tolkien and Moorcock, and to this day, I still consider them to be the Holy Trinity of S and S fantasy.
Since then, I've found, and fell in love with, more modern fantasy authors, of course, and now gladly profess my fanboy-geek love for Neil Gaiman and China Mieville, both of which I consider to be the most important living fantasy writers today, besides Ray Bradbury, who honestly defies genre definitions.

message 38: by John (new)

John Karr (karr) | 117 comments Hey Nick-man, welcome to the group.

message 39: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 544 comments Welcome, Nickolas. The Alice in Wonderland link didn't work for me, BTW. It's trying to go to the alice... page. Does this work:

message 40: by Nickolas (new)

Nickolas Cook | 2 comments I think the publisher might have killed the link because of something big coming down the line for it in the next week. Sorry about that; wasn't sure if had given the green light on the project yet or not. Guess he has...
Thanks, for the welcome, guys.

message 41: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Alther (hawkbrother) | 2 comments I first discovered Howard many years ago when I saw the Lancer Conan the Adventurer on the paperback rack in a convenience store. I bought it, read "The People of the Black Circle: and got hooked on this great writer.
I was already into Edgar Rice Burroughs and a friend introduced me to H P Lovecraft, so would probably have found REH sooner or later.
Think I have read just about everything by Howard I can get my hands on. His sword and sorcery and horror are my favorites, but also greatly enjoy his historical adventure fiction and his Western stories(having come of age when every boy grew up on cowboy shows and comics).
Look forward to some good discussions here.

message 42: by Jim (new)

Jim | 5 comments Hey, Jim here. I'm an avid REH reader in Anchorage, AK. I first found my way to Howard through the Conan comics (love the new ones coming from dark horse BTW), and quickly discovered his many other creations. My personal favorite would be Solomon Kane. Looking forward to chatting with you guys.

message 43: by Michael (last edited Dec 27, 2011 04:27AM) (new)

Michael | 305 comments Hi everybody

I've been reading Robert E. Howard since about 1977 when I started collecting the Sphere editions of the Conan books. I've read these many times over the years, so they're pretty special to me.

I also really like the Kull and Solomon Kane stories, and Almuric is also a favourite. I've owned volumes of his lesser known stories for years, but somehow have never gotten around to reading them, something I intend to remedy over the course of this year! I've made a start with Pigeons from Hell, which I've just finished and really enjoyed. This is a collection of mainly horror stories, a couple of Cthulhu Mythos and a couple of historical stories with fantastic elements. Well worth picking up if you can find a copy.

I noted when joining that the Group has no moderator and, at the risk of being presumptuous, have taken on the role. I haven't moderated a Goodreads Group before, so if any existing member has objections and wants to step in, let me know.

How about a Group Read? Any suggestions for what we might take on? Something other than Conan to start with would be my preference.

message 44: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 544 comments Welcome, Michael. Hadn't realized we lost the moderator. Have at it, as far as I'm concerned, although I find it odd that no one from GR staff bothered to mention we needed one before appointing one.

The group has been awfully quiet. I'd love to do a group read. We were scheduled for "Almuric" last, as I recall. Don't know that anyone got round to it, though.

I have "Pigeons From Hell" as well. Personally, I like the Black Canaan collection of horror stories best, of those I have, I think. It's the one I seem to think of when I think Howard & horror, anyway.

The big problem with his books is that there are so many different collections with a mix of his stories & many are out of print. Most of his stories are available from for free, so I'd suggest that if we nominate any books for a poll, we list the stories in it. That way folks can get them whether the book is available or not.

message 45: by Michael (last edited Mar 29, 2011 06:55PM) (new)

Michael | 305 comments Jim wrote: "Welcome, Michael. Hadn't realized we lost the moderator. Have at it, as far as I'm concerned, although I find it odd that no one from GR staff bothered to mention we needed one before appointing one..."

I think Groups are intended to be autonomous as long as they stick to over-arching GR rules, otherwise it's up to the Group members/Mods to run as they see fit. I'm only self-appointed, not parachuted in by Goodreads!!

I'd be up for reading Almuric again, but if there was too little interest previously I'd like to get a few more views before deciding on that book for definite.

Thanks for the encouragement, Jim. If we self-proclaimed REH fans can't get behind the Pulpmeister, who will!!

message 46: by Peregrine 12 (new)

Peregrine 12 (peregrine12) | 76 comments Hi, everyone. My name is Mark (codename 'Peregrine') and I live in Dallas, Texas. I've been a Conan reader since the age of... ten or eleven, when a friend introduced me to Conan and Warlord comics. I collected all 12 REH Conan novels current at the time (co-authored by L Sprague deCamp), and still revisit my mouldering collection on occasion.

I'm in this group to explore more of REH's works besides Conan. I don't know much about his other stuff, but Black Turlough looks a fascinating character.

I cut my teeth on Howard's stories. His writing is just so direct, so no-nonsense, that I still have difficulty today reading novels that make me 'work too hard' on character background, etc. Give me story, baby, story! Less drama, more action!

Yee ha!

message 47: by Peregrine 12 (new)

Peregrine 12 (peregrine12) | 76 comments And I am looking forward to a group read. Anything is fine with me.

message 48: by John (new)

John Karr (karr) | 117 comments Welcome to all, including our Moderator. I didn't realize we didn't have one.

Recently gifted a Kindle, I'm reading an REH Omnibus and currently re-reading Iron Shadows in the Moon

... and am struck repeatedly at REH's prowess of conveying so much with relatively few words. Little wonder I keep returning to him.

message 49: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 544 comments Welcome, Pat. Funny, but it was the Frazetta pictures on the covers of my father's Conan the Warrior & Conan: Conan the Usurper that propelled me into the world of reading, too. With pictures like that, how could any normal boy NOT want to read the stories?

message 50: by John (last edited Mar 30, 2011 08:14PM) (new)

John Karr (karr) | 117 comments Conan the Warrior (Conan, Volume 7)

Conan: The Usurper

Yeah, man. Compelling images. Frazetta was the immediate hook.

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