Last days to buy The Cimmerian


I just know I’m going to get some outraged emails at 12:01am on September 1 from people irate that they had no adequate warning of my decision to stop selling back issues after August 31, and upset that I’m being such a hardass about my deadline (I’ve already had people vainly ask me to extend the deadline just for them, or let them keep things on layaway for days, weeks, or months, despite my very clear blog post last time about those things). So to be perfectly clear as we come down the home stretch:

August 31, 2009 is the date after which all excess unsold copies of The Cimmerian will be destroyed. If you want any after that, you’ll have to wait for already-sold copies to appear on eBay, or scavenge at the REH Museum in Cross Plains for what copies they might still have.

No, I’m not going to change my mind. No, there will be no extensions or copies held on layaway.

August 31 is the date. Get ’em while you can.

And to be assured of getting your order, your don’t just need to send me an email requesting the issues by the deadline, your money needs to be sitting in my PayPal account by midnight of the night of Aug. 31–Sept. 1, Pacific Time. Any monies sent after that time will be refunded and the orders will go unfilled. And any email conversations that we might have had before the deadline that were ultimately not sealed by a payment will be considered void.

I’ve been overwhelmed with orders the past few weeks and am slowly working through them whenever I get free time, so if you’ve sent in money and I’ve confirmed receipt, don’t worry, you’ll be getting your package soon. Any questions, feel free to ask. If you have been sitting on the fence for the last five years, you have until Monday evening to get in on the action.

I can’t make it any more clear than that.

10,000 BC


Roland Emmerich’s much-maligned pre-historic fantasy adventure is making the rounds of the cable channels these days. It’s not a good movie, but it’s not as terrible as some claim either. Slavers capture some people from a tribe of mammoth hunters, including our hero’s love, so he sets out with a few other brave friends to track them down and effect a rescue. It turns out they are being taken to slave on massive pyramids, being erected by an advanced prehistoric civilization a la Stygia, ruled by sacrifice-demanding “gods” from Atlantis, or perhaps another world. There are other weird elements in the prophecies that move the plot and an ancient witch-woman with visionary and other powers. Obviously, complaints about historical accuracy are as off base as they would be regarding a Kull movie. The real stars of the show are the metafuana, particularly a scene stealing digital sabre-tooth and the hordes of mammoths.
Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers agrees:

The best acting comes from woolly mammoths, man-eating ostriches and a saber-toothed tiger — and those babies are digital. It’s the human actors who look fake.

Like Conan, D’leh (Steven Strait) can raise an army when needed, and he manages to recruit a tribe of black savages to his cause as well as igniting a slave rebellion among the pyramid workers.

The climactic invasion of the united barbarians and savages, sweeping into the decadent civilization of the pyramid-builders to slaughter and destroy evokes Howard; it’s like watching the fall of Acheron or the chaotic climax of “Marchers of Valhalla.”

Like “In the Name of the King,” this is an attempt to do sword & sorcery without actually crediting Howard, but his influence is there anyway. It’s also an interesting enough, if flawed, popcorn movie.

Harold Lamb: John J.Miller Weighs in at The Wall Street Journal


Lamb’s obituaries in 1962 barely mentioned his fiction. By then, the cheap magazines that had published his yarns were long forgotten except by a few passionate collectors. Like a burial mound’s hidden hoard of treasure, they lay undisturbed, awaiting their rediscovery by Mr. Jones — and now a growing band of admirers.

Such is the coda of John J. Miller’s article concerning Harold Lamb’s career and the publication of Swords From the West, one of a brace of (very recently published) editions collecting Lamb’s work put out by Bison Books.


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Donald M. Grant: Requiescat In Pace

Donald M. Grant died the other day in Florida. The name might not mean much to those but recently come to Robert E. Howard fandom. To REH fans like myself, who came of age before 1990, Donald M. Grant and the publishing company he founded represented a source of quality hardcovers featuring the fiction of Howard, Harold Lamb, Karl Edward Wagner and others that was unmatched anywhere else.


It took me a few years to realize that some of the Zebra paperbacks that introduced me to Robert E. Howard’s work originated as DMG hardcovers (cut me some slack, I wasn’t even a teenager). Once I did, I tried to get hold of such when I could afford them. Grant’s publishing house printed the first collection of Howard’s verse I ever owned. Donald M. Grant, Publishing, Inc. is still the only English-language publisher to have printed One Who Walked Alone and Post Oaks and Sand Roughs. While I own a beautiful copy of The Road of Azrael published by Mr. Grant, I am sad to say that an edition of the DMG The Sowers of the Thunder, generally considered one of the finest illustrated books to ever showcase the work of Robert E. Howard, eludes me. (Continue reading this post)

Meet and Greet with Glenn Lord


For those of you who live in Texas or can get there, and have never met Glenn Lord (only the world’s greatest Howard fan, collector, and scholar), here’s your chance. On Saturday, August 29, some fans are holding a get-together with Glenn in Houston. The place: Joe’s Crab Shack, 12400 Gulf Freeway. The time: 1 p.m.–3 p.m. Don’t miss it.

A Natural Man


You heard about Samson, from your birth
Strongest man that ever lived on Earth 1

Of the Old Testament Biblical heroes, Samson stands out as the most strikingly larger than life figure. So much so, in fact, that there was heated debate among Talmudic Scholars at one point whether he even existed. There was a supernatural element to his birth:

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Rage of the Behemoth: A Review


The new sword-and-sorcery anthology from Rogue Blades Entertainment, Rage of the Behemoth, has hit the streets (and my mailbox). In this newest offering from RBE, editor Jason M. Waltz has upped the ante. Overall, this collection of S&S tales exceeds its worthy predecessor in both quality and consistency. Waltz’s theme for this book is that each protagonist must face a “behemoth”; in other words, a “large monster” of some sort. Despite my initial scepticism, the idea works well.

Right off the bat, Rage of the Behemoth just looks better than its older sibling. Johnney Perkins turned in an eye-catching painting for the cover of The Return of the Sword. His work on the multiple covers for Rage of the Behemoth is another big step forward for him. Waltz has also enlisted the talents of the Frenchman, Didier Normand, for the multiple covers featured in this edition. Normand’s art is obviously influenced by Frank Frazetta (which Normand admits). However, Normand not only captures, to an extent, the look of the Michelangelo of Brooklyn, he also does a good job of capturing the feel and energy of Frazetta (in my humble opinion). At his best, Normand reminds me of the late-’70s Ken Kelly. I’ll be keeping an eye on this guy. Interior artist, John Whitman, turns in some solid line-work for the book, but I found myself wishing that the inking was a bit better.

Cimmerian alumnus, [redacted], provides the introduction for this volume. His lead-off sentence, a true keeper, is, “Mock Sword and Sorcery at your own peril.” The rest of the intro maintains that standard and tone. John O’Neill, publisher and editor of Black Gate magazine, turns in a good foreword.

Just to get it out of the way: the first two stories in this book are not really worth reading, in my opinion. The good news is that all the rest, to one extent or another, most definitely are. Let’s get to ’em… (Continue reading this post)

In the Tradition of Terry Brooks!


For your Sunday morning entertainment: a blogette at The New Yorker judges the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis to be “on about a fourth-grade reading level.” She also wonders whether fantasy has anything “to offer adults — literary adults, adults who enjoy reading bonafide novels.” Soliciting ideas from a friend leads her to, among others, Terry Brooks and Terry Goodkind.You know, those masters of literary, bonafide novels.

Yep, that’s going to turn out well…..

A Big Guy Turns 10


I saw this article about The Iron Giant turning ten years old the other day. This is one of my favorite movies, and the article goes a long way towards explaining why. (It also does a good job of explaining why summer blockbusters suck these days, and has a totally unneccessary reference to local starlet Megan Fox’s breasts.) Believe it or not, both Jennifer Anniston and Vin Diesel turn in riveting vocal performances in this film. The idea of a government agent whose raging paranoia leads him to lie and usurp authority is as scary now as its ever been, and the idea of an alien robot inspired by Siegel & Shuster’s Superman puts the lie to H.R. Hayes’ 1946 rant in the most powerful way possible. I don’t often crank up the old VCR but in this case I made an exception. If you don’t know this movie I really encourage you to click on the well-done article, it even has an excerpt from the film.

DEUCE ADDS: Follow this link to the Iron Giant Project blog.

The Last Enchanter: Drinking to His Shade

Clark Ashton Smith died in his sleep on this date in 1961, making the ides of August as black a date for Klarkash-Ton admirers as the ides of March ever were for the adherents of Gaius Julius Caesar. I raise a glass (though one not of Atlantean vintage, nor one imbued with more than common wizardry) to his shade. I am sure, somewhere, Robert E. Howard is doing the same, as well as Smith’s finest acolyte (and last of the courtly poets), Donald Sidney-Fryer. It is hard to choose from the enormity of CAS’ oeuvre (over seven hundred poems), but I thought this one fitting:

Ashes of Sunset

by Clark Ashton Smith

On lands he shall not know, the splendor lies —
A pharos on some alienated shore,
In foam and purple lost forevermore,
Where dreams are kindled in remoter eyes.

Who fares to find the sunset ere it fly,
Turning to light and fire the further west,
Shall have the veils of twilight for his guest,
And all the falling of an ashen sky.

Clark Ashton Smith always sought that furthest splendor; that dream-cloaked, westernmost shore. I hope he found it.