Fall REH Foundation Newsletter

The Fall 2009 edition of the Robert E. Howard Foundation Newsletter arrived today and it is a real treat. The cover is taken from an original print of the iconic Robert E. Howard portrait that a relative of Howard’s had recently sent to Patrice Louinet. The contents include pages from the Junto, a sort of small apa or amatuer press association that Howard belonged to, a letter to fellow Weird Tales writer Emil Petaja, two stories by Howard, one of which is rare, all written in his own hand or reproduced from typed manuscripts. The issue also includes the text of Larry Thomas’ speech at the last Howard Days. This is a very nice Howard collector’s item, and those who aren’t getting this should really look into it at the Foundation site.

Upcoming Howardian Celebrations in the Lone Star State


Over on the Official Robert E. Howard Forum, Paul Herman just passed along the news of an REH Halloween party being held on October 30th in Austin, Texas. Spearheaded by Dennis McHaney and the Texas Friends of REH (TFOREH), this beer-haunted gala will be convened at the Dog and Duck Pub, generally considered the finest establishment of its type in the Austin area.


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More Cool News From Coming Attractions


The choice news on this week’s Coming Attractions was not limited to a word-up concerning Dark Agnes and Other Historical Adventures. There are plenty more upcoming projects that fans of Robert E. Howard and pulp fiction should get excited about. (Continue reading this post)

First Word on Dark Agnes and Other Historical Adventures


Del Rey: DARK AGNES AND OTHER HISTORICAL ADVENTURES By Robert E. Howard – Coming in  2011!
John Watkiss has officially been announced as the artist for the next volume of Robert E. Howard stories, titled DARK AGNES AND OTHER HISTORICAL ADVENTURES.
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Lost in Loss


Karl Edward Wagner chose to attend the University of North Carolina largely because he would be able to meet one of his favorite writers, Manly Wade Wellman. Wellman had been a writer for the old Weird Tales pulp, among many others, though he no longer wrote fantasy or horror. As they became fast friends, Karl convinced Manly to return to the fold. Frances Wellman wrote that Karl became a loving friend for the rest of his life.

Considering that Karl’s relationship with his own somewhat distant father was strained –and what father would want his son to give up medicine for writing, as Karl intended to do and eventually did? — it seems likely inevitable that Manly would become both mentor and father-figure to the “big Dutchman”, as he called him. Conversely, Manly’s own son Wade seems likely to have been a disappointment to him, as David Drake reports he was living in a “charity hostel” because of substance abuse issues at the time of his mother’s death. Not that Karl was free of substance abuse issues himself, of course.
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More Elegies in Honor of KEW


Over on the REHupa blog, Morgan Holmes has written a fine essay about Karl Edward Wagner. Returning the serve, Scott Oden, author of the upcoming Lion of Cairo, has posted this in remembrance of the Man From Knoxville and his most famous creation, Kane, on his “Echoes of Forgotten Ages” blog. In addition, fantasy author, David J. West, reports an interesting KEW-related dream over on his blog. (Continue reading this post)

An Update on El Borak and Other Desert Adventures from Del Rey


Jay Zetterberg of CPI/Paradox was kind enough to provide the REH devotees of the Official Robert E. Howard Forum with a sneak peek at the cover (see above) for the upcoming El Borak and Other Desert Adventures volume from Del Rey. Painted by the marriage-made-in-Valhalla artistic team of Jim and Ruth Keegan, the cover depicts Howard’s Francis X. Gordon engaged in a dispute with a denizen of the desert wastes. The Keegans had this to say:

“We see El Borak as an old-school, swashbuckling hero. While we try to keep the historical influences in mind — Richard Francis Burton, “Chinese” Gordon, and T. E. Lawrence, etc., we also try to imagine a never-to-be El Borak movie directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Douglas Fairbanks Sr., with a soundtrack by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Cue the sun!”

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Reflections Upon Karl Edward Wagner, Fifteen Years Gone



  Karl Edward Wagner (1945 -1994) died fifteen years ago today. I never knew Karl. Nevertheless, his work as an author, essayist, editor and REH scholar has affected my views regarding the entire field of weird literature since I was barely a teenager. I believe that he should be remembered and due attention paid.

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Yo, Hadrian!


The Smithsonian’s new issue has an article about the current state of Hadrian’s Wall, “‘now the heart of an 84-mile-long National Trail that winds through some of England’s most scenic countryside, following in the footsteps of Roman soldiers who once patrolled the empire’s frontier.”

It is well worth reading in its entirety, for it makes the interesting assertion that the primary result it was built was not to keep the barbarians out, but to limit the glory-hungry Roman commanders from seeking new areas to conquer. It also is believed to have been used to control immigration and emigration. Though there are still those who hold to the “keep out the barabarians” school of thought:

Even so, the wall also served to keep out not just “casual migrants” but enemies, says Ian Haynes, an archaeology professor at Newcastle University. In the past decade, excavators have turned up extensive pits that had held posts, possibly for sharpened stakes, fronting parts of the eastern section of the wall. “The kind of effort that goes into these defenses isn’t just for decorative purposes,” says Haynes. “It’s wise to think that they were doing this in deadly earnest.” Archaeologists have long searched for traces of the tribes who lived north of the wall, partly to assess the threats the Romans faced.

And though they are not cited in the article, every true Howard reader knows whom of they are speaking — the bloody Scots and the savage Picts.

Written On the Hearts of Men: Swords From the Desert


These fragmentary histories were jotted down on “date leaves, bits of leather, shoulder blades, stony tablets or the hearts of men.” But, put into words by men born and bred to war who spent most of their lives in the saddle, the written hadith have a real ring to them. Here we find no lengthy memoirs, no monastery-compiled chronicles, or histories written long after events. We have the word-of-mouth narrative of men who were on the scene.

Harold Lamb, in a letter to Adventure magazine, concerning the traditions of the Arabs.

While Swords From the Desert (Bison Books) is a light-weight in page-count when matched against its hefty companion volume, Swords From the West, it definitely holds its own in quality. Weighing in at a “mere” three hundred and seven pages, it’s crammed full with the timeless adventure tales for which Harold Lamb should be more justly renowned.

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