REH on Kindle: Free at!

crimson shadows




Grab ’em while they’re hot, my gentle readers.

On Saturday, Terry Allen, REH fan extraordinaire (and honcho of the REH Comics Group) posted on the Official Robert E. Howard Forum regarding Howard’s placement in Amazon’s Top Five Fantasy Bestsellers. Learning this, I felt a rush of righteous exultation.

 For a while, I refrained from using the link Terry provided, since I didn’t figure there was much more to be learned by actually going to Amazon’s website. Eventually, however, I noticed something odd about the title of the Howard volume in question. I couldn’t recall ever seeing this title in print: The Best of Robert E. Howard Volume 1: The Shadow Kingdom.

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Robert Holdstock: Gone On to Avilion


As some TC readers may know, acclaimed English fantasy author, Robert Holdstock, died just the other day. Over at the REHupa blog, Morgan Holmes gives his personal perspective on Holdstock’s career. Scottish fantasy author, Brian Ruckley, blogs about his deep admiration for Holdstock here.

 From all accounts, Robert Holdstock was a man who loved life and lived it to the fullest.

Of Buffalos and Women-Warriors: CRS’ brand new blog


Gbo (or close enough)


Charles R. Saunders has posted a very helpful blog entry for the bovinically-challenged on his website. Saunder’s utterly bad-ass Sword-and-Sorcery dossouye-coldheroine, Dossouye, is partnered in her exploits by an equally deadly “side-kick” named Gbo. Gbo is not to be trifled with, nor is he an Asian water buffalo. Mr. Saunders sets the record straight.

I first read about Dossouye and Gbo in Amazons! around 1980 (the story in question was “Agbewe’s Sword”). At the time, I was struck by how unique CRS’ pairing of warrior and bull was in fantasy fiction. Unique, but not unlikely. Having grown up around cattle all my life, it seemed far more probable that a (woman-) warrior would bestride such a steed than, say, a dragon. Bovines, even domesticated ones, are formidable beasts. Generally speaking, for any herd animal to survive, it must possess one of two traits: speed or lethality. Bovines aren’t renowned for their speed. There is a perfectly logical reason why the very capable predators of sub-Saharan Africa have never wiped out the Cape buffalo. Cape buffalos are bad news.

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Robert E. Howard: Selected Poems now available from



REHupan (and Professor) Frank Coffman now has his Robert E. Howard: Selected Poems ready for online purchase at Here’s the info…

Ships in 3–5 business days
A large and representative selection of the poetic work of Robert E. Howard, with a general introductory essay, 30 chapter introductions, and commentary by Prof. Frank Coffman, one of the foremost authorities on Howard’s verse and “ways with words.”

Three indexes add to the value of this ample selection: by title, by first lines, and a “Form Finder” index to allow quick access to Howard’s work with the ballad, the sonnet, blank verse, free verse and other forms and techniques.

Well over half of Howard’s more than 700 poems are included in this text, set in a text size and format for presentation that enhances readability and enjoyment. For those who are familiar with Howard’s prose fictional works, but who remain uninitiated in the many qualities and nuances of Howard’s verse, this compilation and commentary will offer insights into the complexity, quality and breadth of his work. For those who believe they know Howard’s poetic work, some new perspectives will broaden their appreciation.

Afrikaaner Bob


In the latest The Dark Man, Charles Hoffman’s “Elements of Sadomasochism in the Fiction and Poetry of Robert E. Howard” has some interesting comments on The Hyena“, a very early Howard story written while Howard was still in his teens.
It is interesting to find that he also used this setting with two other tales, “The Slayer“, and The Wings of the Bat“, both unprinted until The Last of The Trunk. Both tales also involve Ju-Ju men, or witch-doctors, plotting mayhem against the whites. One would conclude that The Slayer is a direct sequel to The Hyena“, as the narrator refers to having killed Senecoza previously. But we are told by Hoffman that The Hyena was written in 1924, and the editor of Trunk tells us the other stories are “pre-1924”. So either Howard wrote the sequel first, or more likely someone is in error. In a homage to the Alan Quatermain stories, the king of the Zulus in Bat is named Umslopogas. It still amazes me that out of all the material available to him, August Derleth included “Hyena in the second Howard collection, The Dark Man and Others.

DEUCE ADDS: A couple years ago, over at, Patrice Louinet had this to say about “The Slayer”:

REH actually began a sort of sequel to the story, featuring the same hero and mentioning Senecoza. This fragment, tentatively titled “The Slayer” by Glenn Lord, will be included in The Last of the Trunk, the book collecting the immense majority of as-yet-unpublished Howard fiction, forthcoming from the Robert E. Howard Foundation.

“The Wings of the Bat,” to my ear, definitely sounds like it was partially a riff on Sax Rohmer’s Bat-Wing, a book we know REH read. [redacted] blogged about it [redacted].

As for Derleth selecting “The Hyena” for The Dark Man, I’m not particularly surprised, considering Derleth’s blinkered and untrustworthy taste in regards to REH’s fiction. On the other hand, just before The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard was released, there was a certain REH fan shambling about the blogosphere who practically called Rusty Burke a Howardian anti-christ for leaving “The Hyena” out. He cited Derleth’s unerring judgement for support.

The Collected Drawings of Robert E. Howard is ready to order



Now, just a little over two years later, this news from [redacted], over at The Robert E. Howard Foundation website…

The Robert E. Howard Foundation is pleased to announce The Collected Drawings of Robert E. Howard. This slim, 42-page volume collects all of the known artwork by our favorite Texan. All of the comics and doodles from his letters and all of the Hyborian Age maps have been collected, but that’s not all. Many previously unpublished maps for stories like “Blood of the Gods” and “Wild Water” have been cleaned up and are presented here for the first time. Also, a fantastic discovery was made in Texas last year: Robert E. Howard’s high school text book. On each of the blank pages within that book, a young Howard doodled characters from his favorite stories in Adventure magazine, 11 characters in all. There was also a loose sheet of paper folded in the book with additional drawings. All are collected here. Order today and, depending on which shipping option is chosen, it might just show up in time for Christmas.

The Collected Drawings is an 8.5 x 11, perfect-bound paperback with an introduction by Bill Cavalier. Prepared for publication by yours truly.

This sounds like a cool little package. Apparently, the REHF is going with a paperback edition from for this volume, just as they did for the first edition of [redacted]’s [redacted]. What has me really fired up are the maps that will be reproduced. We know that REH drafted rough maps (just like Conan) for several yarns, including The Hour of the Dragon. On top of that, several of the drawings I’ve seen are quite good for an untrained artist. For complete information about this REHF project, see here.

Conan’s Brethren In Court


As reported by [redacted], Paradox/CPI is engaged in a trademark dispute with Orion Publishing Group. One of Orion’s imprints is Gollancz, which company was scheduled to release Conan’s Brethren, a collection of Howard’s non-Conan adventure yarns, next month. As just posted by the book’s editor, Stephen Jones, Conan’s Brethren seems to have gotten pulled into the fight as well:

Note: As a result of a threatened lawsuit over trademark infringement, publication was pushed back until 2010. Although the page sheets were printed, only copies of the export trade paperback were bound-up, and these were not commercially distributed.

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The Worlds of Milton Davis


Ndoro and Obaseki

I do think the time is overpast for drawing inspiration from other milieus — Oriental, Near Eastern, North and Black African, Amerindian, Polynesian, an entire world — and am happy to see that several writers have begun doing so.

— Poul Anderson, from his essay, “On Thud and Blunder.”

Over at the Black Gate blog, Charles R. Saunders has logged on and made another (and most welcome) guest appearance. His motivation this time is to promote the work of an up-and-coming fantasy author. Click here and then click back, if you would.

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Remembering Poul Anderson



Poul Anderson would be eighty-three years old today. That means I’ve been reading his fiction for about thirty years now. The realization of that would be even more twinge-inducing if I didn’t constantly remind myself that I was anderson-vault-schomburga mere thirteen years old when I started.

My love for Poul’s writing began when I bought a first-edition copy (1952) of Vault of the Ages from the Oswego Public Library (the same institution from whence I purchased my first Harold Lamb and Merritt books). Alex Schomburg dustjacket/endpapers and everything. All for one shiny quarter (the library ended up rebuying the book in paperback). The second (or first?) Anderson novel ever published.

“Vault” was a pretty good introduction to Poul Anderson for a thirteen year-old. The book was written for the “Young Adult” market, with a certain proportion of the sermonizing that genre usually requires. On the plus side, Poul based his novel around a post-apocalytic setting, provided numerous great combat/battle scenes and featured “northern barbarians” as sympathetic antagonists whose narrative purpose was to give a stagnant culture a shot in the arm.

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Miller Gives Kelton His Due


Some might remember that a while back I blogged about the life and fiction of Elmer Kelton, possibly the greatest Western writer ever. Over at The Wall Street Journal Online, John J. Miller tips his own hat to the legacy of Kelton while also providing a look at Other Men’s HorsesElmer’s posthumous novel and the final installment in his “Texas Rangers” series . Check it out here.