A clarification and an apology


In a previous post, I reprinted a well-written article by Cross Plains resident Ginny Hoskins, discussing the recent speech and signing TC blogger [redacted] gave in that town recently. Within the post Steve and I made a few corrections to the article, in the process lamenting the frequent inaccuracies to be found in REH write-ups by journalists.

While in Cross Plains for this year’s Howard Days, Ginny told me that in actuality she had been especially careful to quote Mark exactly and to get all of her facts right, and Mark agrees that any minor errors in the article were due not to reporter negligence but to the all-too-common pitfalls of talking live off the top of one’s head. In light of this, I apologize to Ginny for our somewhat petty fan-geek grumbling about the article, and will be more careful next time when pointing out minor quibbles in such pieces. Sorry Ginny, and many thanks for letting us reprint your REH write-ups.

2007 Cimmerian Awards Results Announced


Finally back home from Cross Plains, and sick as a dog from a throat/nose bug caught while suffering from the usual Howard Days dehydration and lack of sleep. But the Friday night Cimmerian Awards went off well, and now that they have been officially announced I have posted the winners here on our site. There is a lot of trivia and anecdotes to go along with this list, all of which will be explicated in the annual Awards issue available later this summer.

Here is the list of winners:

The AtlanteanOutstanding Achievement, Book By a Single Author
MARK FINN, for Blood & Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard

The Valusian Outstanding Achievement, Anthology
DENNIS McHANEY, for The Man from Cross Plains: A Centennial Celebration of Two-Gun Bob Howard

The Hyrkanian Outstanding Achievement, Essay
First Place: BILL CAVALIER, for “How Robert E. Howard Saved My Life” (from The Cimmerian V3n6)
Second Place: STEVE TOMPKINS, for “The Shortest Distance Between Two Towers” (from The Cimmerian V3n3)
Third Place: JOHN HAEFELE, for “Skull-Face and Others at Sixty” (from The Cimmerian V3n9)

The AquilonianOutstanding Achievement, Periodical
LEO GRIN, for The Cimmerian Volume 3

The StygianOutstanding Achievement, Website
MARK FINN, LEO GRIN, [redacted], STEVE TOMPKINS: The Cimmerian Blog

The Venarium Award Emerging Scholar

The Black River AwardSpecial Achievement
DON HERRON, for finding both the original Kline typescript to A Gent from Bear Creek and the collection of books owned by Dr. I. M. Howard.

The Black Circle AwardLifetime Achievement
RUSTY BURKE and DON HERRON (tie), dual inductees.

The Black Circle Award2008 nominee

As you can see, our bloggers here at TC Central are well represented: Steve Tompkins is now the only guy with two Best Essay awards to his credit, and fellow TC blogger [redacted] took home top honors for his biography even as it prepares to compete in both the Locus and World Fantasy balloting. The blog itself snagged Best REH Website of the Centennial year. I was heartened by the number of people who told me that they check this blog several times a day hoping for new content, and I’m going to attempt to ensure that postings here become steadily more frequent and substantive.

Remember, if you picked up your June issue of TC in Cross Plains, drop me a line so I don’t send you a duplicate copy in the coming days. For the rest of you, expect the June issue to hit your mailboxes within a week or so. No rest for the wicked — now it’s off to prepare the August issue, as well as the 2007 Awards, issue, the 2006 Index, and the 2006 slipcases (which as of now look like they will be in my hands in early July).

Thanks to everyone who helped make 2006 the amazing year that it was for Howard fandom.

Whole Lotta Waiting Going On

It’s a waiting game hereabouts. Waiting for the choicest anecdotes from the 2007 Howard Days (Were Leo ever to have a flashback to film school, the Sturm und Drang might surpass last year’s already-legendary Frank Coffman Nam flashback). G-8 summit in Rostock-wise, waiting to see if George W. Bush’s eyeballs will boil in their sockets if he tries to look into Vladimir Putin’s soul again. Waiting to learn if it’s all over for Tony Soprano — drop-kicked by his therapist, his underlings mostly dead or dying, and crouched in a safehouse with only an M-16 to comfort him — as of Sunday night. Here in NYC (against whose hundreds of soldiers Tony’s “glorified crew” in North Jersey stands little chance) we’re routinely assured that the Triads, the Vietnamese, the Albanians, and of course the Russian Mafia are much more dangerous than such Sicilians as have not yet been wiretapped and RICO-Acted into history’s landfill, and yet just this week a Gambino Family captain was hit as he sat in his car outside a Brooklyn social club (Ah yes, the social club — the Wild East’s equivalent of the Wild West’s saloon). Waiting for J. K. Rowling’s (slightly less sanguinary?) grand finale next month. And, most forlornly of all, waiting, thanks to a blog post by Howard Jones, for a samizdat copy of John Hocking’s never-published second Conan novel to find its way Tompkinsward…

One wait is thankfully over, that for REHupa’s June Mailing, #205. Given the consistently target-missing sniping about the “comic book art” of the Wandering Star/Del Rey books, I’m delighted to report that James Van Hise turns over his zine The Road to Velitrium to a sampling of Jim and Ruth Keegan’s ink wash interior illustrations for The Best of Robert E. Howard Volume One. The art hearkens back to the Twenties in general and Weimar Republic poster art in particular, from the interregnum before the cabarets closed and cinema became Goebbels-compliant. A Niord-versus-Satha showdown could be some lost poster for Fritz Lang’s Die Niebelungen: Siegfried, and Kormlada (of “The Grey God Passes” fame) is a bitch goddess who could blow Pola Negri and Theda Bara off the silent-but-silver screen. And I don’t see how Chris Gruber can fail to be pleased by the Keegans’ apotheosis-achieving Mike — this grinning canine could out-bulldog Drummond.

Gary Romeo risks being the pot in a proverbial said-the-pot-to-the-kettle combo by chiding Don Herron for being “a pretty negative guy in the main though,” but partially redeems himself by noting that “Big-nosed girls on covers” are not the optimum “new REH art for a new age” (That Salem Town debacle betokened neither rhyme nor reason, just rhinoplasty-in-waiting). Charles Gramlich is building a second home on Talera. “The Hyborian Age” is the square peg in the round hole of Dale Rippke’s Complete Timeline of Howard’s Fiction. Damon Sasser is purveying typewriter porn. On the evidence of her second zine, Amy Kerr seems unlikely ever to retell “Beyond the Black River” entirely in dog barks, as a notorious-if-not-much-missed female REHupan once did. Morgan Holmes confesses the classic rock past he flashes back to while watching Dazed and Confused. Patrick Burger removes Boston from the turntable and substitutes Shostakovich. Don Herron’s The Carter Collector is clearly what any serious Carterologist needs to acquire next after Tara of the Twilight and Robert M. Price’s Lin Carter: A Look Behind His Imaginary Worlds.

Scotty Henderson’s The Keltic Journal reprints a Castle of Frankenstein review of The Dark Man and Others by one Charles Collins, who way back when anticipated a belief that Jim Charles holds as firmly as he does his handguns: “People of the Dark is the only Conan story in the book, and a rather inferior one at that.” Larry Richter is still righting, or rewriting, the wrongs of de Camp and Carter’s “Black Tears,” and we can but wish him well and hope that he overcomes an apparent compulsion to misspell “Zuagir.” Fresh from reducing the Lion’s Den to an elementary school playground in the April TC, Dennis McHaney slags Larry’s cover for the “Isle of the Eons” TDM and opens our eyes to the fact that the journal in question is “a thing that keeps rearing its ugly head and doesn’t know when to give up and die.”

Me, I think The Dark Man‘s recent covers are breaths of fresh air in what had been a mephitic tomb of overused REH photos, but chalk up yet another one for the miracle of human diversity. An emergency TDM Review Board meeting has been called — members are already sliding down the firehouse-style pole from the Board’s living quarters into the blastproof conference bunker — to determine if there’s any point to continuing without a McHaneyian blessing. Should we pack it in? Or maybe, just maybe, this most incisive of critics will be mollified if we use a cartoon wherein Conan treats Lin Carter’s grave to a golden shower as the next TDM cover.

Lastly, Tim Arney wishes the filmmakers who botched Pathfinder would go sit on a horned helmet, but an actress named Moon Bloodgood, who plays the movie’s proto-Pocahontas, just might have him forgetting all about Bill Cavalier’s missus.

Out the Door


…to the airport, Austin bound, where I will meet up with Cimmerian contributor Brian Leno and have a nice dinner at Rudy’s BBQ before making the trek northward to Cross Plains. Two of your other Cimmerian bloggers will be there, too, leaving Steve Tompkins here at Cimmerian central to blog by his lonesome.

Stay tuned to this site for some news and pics of the event, especially the results of the 2007 Cimmerian Awards, which will be announced live this Friday evening. Some great races this year, with a wide selection of winners both repeat and new. It’s always cool to see how the vote shakes out, and what is deemed Best of the Year by the most knowledgeable group of Howard fans in existence.

If someone has an internet connection and a laptop, perhaps I’ll be able to arrange for some live blogging during the event. If not, you’ll here more when I get back next week. Until then, in the words of Indy Cavalier: May Crom ignore you.