Abomean Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves — And So Is Charles R. Saunders

A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t. Charles Saunders, whose “Fists of Cross Plains” (which can be read at Damon Sasser’s REH: Two-Gun Raconteur website) is a blow-by-blow of a fanciful Robert E. Howard Heavyweight Championship staged, and ultimately upstaged by audience participation, in the Texan’s hometown, has earned that Dempseyism. The creator of Imaro of Nyumbani and Dossouye, she who was once an ahosi in the army of the Leopard King of Abomey, has had plenty of practice in shrugging off the slings, arrows, and belaying pins of outrageous publishing misfortune. Most recently, just as he promised in his TC interview last year, he has bounced back to his feet after being floored by the disappointment of Night Shade Books’ decision to give up on a relaunched Imaro series after just two installments, a Short Count to rival the infamous Long Count of the Dempsey/Tunney rematch. Saunders is now working with the most simpatico publisher he’s ever had, himself, and the first offering of that partnership is Dossouye, a “Sword-and-Soul epic” that can and should be ordered from lulu.com.

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World Fantasy Award Voting About To End


Those of you who attended or supported the REH-themed 2006 Austin Convention are eligible to vote this year, for the last time, and there’s only a few weeks left in which to do it. As expressed in a previous blog post, you can nominate up to five people in each category, and one caveat is that while you don’t have to nominate for every category, you at least have to do so for more than one. Another is that you can only nominate living persons (so no votes for REH himself, alas.)

Leo Grin for The Cimmerian will be running in the Special Award — Non Professional category if you are so inclined, and other possibilities I can think of include:

Life Achievement — Glenn Lord for fifty years of Robert E. Howard research, scholarship, and editing.
Artist — Jim and Ruth Keegan for their work illustrating 2007’s Best of Robert E. Howard volumes from Del Rey.
Special Award Professional — Rusty Burke, for editing Del Rey’s 2007 Best of Robert E. Howard volumes.

So if you are eligible, take a few minutes to email Rodger Turner your ballot, and do your part to ensure that REH is well-represented at the fantasy field’s premier awards show. Voting deadline is June 8.

Saunders blogging

Charles Saunders has started a blog, and so far the posts have been quite substantive and interesting. The latest is a rundown of some of the major influences for his S&S hero Imaro, and the overview covers a lot of ground, including several mentions of REH. He has a comment engine running, too, so you can talk back to him and start a discussion on the posts. Well worth a look.

“Northern Woods,” Eastern Frontier, and a Very Young Southwesterner

For me at least, The Last of the Trunk has been a case of punch-drunk love. For hundreds of pugilistic pages the book reads like the revenge of [redacted] and the other members of the Boxer Rebellion who for the past ten years have busied themselves overthrowing the previous hegemony of the heroic fantasy and historical adventure stories in Howard studies. That the 2007 grab-bag might well have been entitled The Last, All in Trunks shouldn’t be surprising; as Patrice Louinet points out in his introduction, the Boom-era fanziners and small-pressers who cherry-picked Howard’s outtakes and leavings were hunting the sworded and the creature-featured.

That having been said, we do get away from ringside every so often. In “The Brand of Satan” the tiger-souled Brand Kenmara anticipates what Conan accomplishes in Afghulistan and Francis Xavier Gordon avoids or averts in Afghanistan:

Here in the foothills [of India], I built a vast outlaw band, composed of natives, wandering tribesmen from the Northern plains, and renegades of almost every nation. My band grew in numbers until it almost assumed the proportions of an army. I beat off English troops sent into the hills after me, and what was much more difficult, defeated a confederation of Ghurkha chiefs.

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Frazetta: The Definitive Reference

Since the late ’60s, Howard and Conan fans have praised and supported Frank Frazetta and his sterling work, and this new century is no different. In May of 2006 The Cimmerian printed a symposium on the fortieth anniversary of the classic Lancer Conan the Adventurer, which included a fascinating article on Frazetta and his legendary efforts to do artistic justice to the prose of Robert E. Howard, written by artist and scholar Anthony Avacato. Now longtime Cimmerian reader Andrew Steven has tipped me off to a new Frazetta book that he’s involved with, one that Howard and Conan fans of all stripes will want to check out.

Frazetta: The Definitive Reference is billed as the most complete summation of the fantasy master’s work ever put into print. It contains a listing for every published piece of Frazetta art, along with essays by notable Frazetta scholars, and the whole works is supplemented by over eight-hundred illustrations (four hundred in full color). The volume is set to debut in August 2008 in three separate editions: softcover ($29.99), hardcover ($39.99), and deluxe hardcover in slipcase ($59.99). You can get the standard discounts by shopping through Amazon and other mass market outlets (but you are flipping a coin as to whether you’ll get the book in acceptable condition).

Congratulations to Andrew for helping make this book as complete and accurate as can be. It’s always nice to have hardcore Howardists contributing to such things and ensuring that REH gets properly represented.

A Note About the Free Awards Issue to Contributors

It’s been brought to my attention that in the (still ongoing) struggle to get all of the new issues and slipcases out, it slipped my mind to credit those of you who offered voting comments last year with a free Limited copy of the V4 Awards issue. Therefore, if you receive a package and your discount is not reflected on your invoice the way you think it should be, feel free to deduct $10 from your total. I’ll also be assembling a list and sending out individual e-mails to affected persons about this, but figured I should make a blanket announcement immediately first. If you do end up paying for it when you should have been credited, I’ll apply that $10 towards your next order. Any questions or concerns, feel free to drop me a line.