Somebody Dies and REH

Craig Clarke, proprieter of the literary blog, Somebody Dies, has been a busy man the last two years. Since the final week of December, 2007, Clarke has posted over two hundred entertaining and insightful reviews of genre novels ranging from westerns to hard-boiled noir to horror.

That was all well and good, but then last May Clarke discovered REH by way of Del Rey’s The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard. Clarke became a born-again, hard-core Howard-head and posted two more REH book reviews in fairly short order. In a mere six months, REH is now lodged in the midst of Clarke’s “Favorite Authors” list, right there amongst Lawrence Block, Ed McBain and Westlake. Clarke has also given Howard due honor by placing REH in his “Favorite Reads of 2009” list.

Here’s what Craig Clarke had to say about Robert E. Howard in his review of Crimson Shadows:

As a final note, I would just like to mention that, before being introduced to the work of Robert E. Howard, I was under the impression that fantasy was a tired genre with nothing to offer me. Also, short stories held no appeal. These two perceptions were turned on their ears upon entering Howard’s world. After only one book, The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard, I was an instant enthusiast, and Crimson Shadows has given me all the more reason to remain that way. It confirms my opinion (formed by the Horror Stories) that Robert E. Howard was a Great Writer and one who deserves to be reevaluated by those who feel that men who do their best communicating with swords, guns, and large fists are not to be taken seriously. This collection strongly suggests otherwise.  

I would welcome Clarke into the fold, but considering he’s now a Howard fan, I’ll just say, “Welcome to the pack.”

Imaro: The Naama War Is Finally Here

Imaro versus Bohu

The Cimmerian just heard the word via the Drums of Nyumbani: the long-awaited fourth novel in Charles R. Saunders’ Imaro series is now available from Imaro: The Naama War brings to a close the epic first chapter in the life of CRS’ iconic Sword-and-Sorcery hero, Imaro.

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Weird Yuletide Tales, Past and Present

Yukon versus the Bumble

Those who hunger for Yultide fables with a different spin can find such here in the archives of The Cimmerian.

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Charles R. Saunders Reviews Wind Follower at Black Gate

Legendary Sword-and-Sorcery author, Charles R. Saunders, has posted another guest blog over at the Black Gate site. In this entry, he looks at Carole McDonnell’s Wind Follower. CRS dubs McDonnell’s particular brand of fantasy “Sword-and-Soul.” Check it out.

Doc versus Bumble! The fate of Christmas hangs in the balance…



I discovered this cover for a Doc novel that “should have been” over at James Reasoner’s most excellent site, Rough Edges. From there, it was but one more click to Kez Wilson’s Doc Savage Fantasy Cover Gallery.

It’s been nearly three decades since I read a Doc Savage book, but I’ve still got a soft spot for the Man of Bronze. Lester Dent, a pulpster from the Midwestern hinterlands, was a man of incredible energy and that often came through in his novels, which he cranked out at a jaw-dropping pace.

Looking over some of Wilson’s other fantasy Doc covers, ones like Devil Doctor reminded me that Doc’s stories were basically “weird menace” tales, tales just like REH’s own “Black Wind Blowing” or “Skull-Face“.

Here’s hoping that Mr. Wilson doesn’t stop with these covers. Merry Christmas.

Notary “Bombshell” at Frazetta Hearing No Surprise Here at TC


Frank Frazetta Jr. outside the Marshalls Creek court office Wednesday.

There was plenty of drama at the Marshalls Creek court office Wednesday. Alfonso Frank Frazetta, also known as Frank Jr., stood before District Judge Brian Germano to answer charges pertaining to his break-in at the Frazetta Museum. Germano, after hearing testimony, reduced Frazetta’s bail from a whopping $500,000 dollars to $50,000. Soon after the ruling, Frank Jr. was released on bail.

Some of the testimony the judge heard came from Adeline Bianco, a notary public. According to what Bianco informed Pocono Record reporters after the hearing, Frank Frazetta Sr., the legendary artist, came to her office on November 30, 2009. In a meeting that lasted nearly an hour, Frank Sr. signed a document authorizing Frank Jr. to secure the artist’s paintings by “by any means necessary,” according to Bianco. She notarized the document and returned it to Frank Sr. Apparently, acting upon Frank’s wishes, she also revoked the power-of-attorney which had been held by Frazetta’s other three children: Bill Frazetta, Holly Taylor and Heidi Gravin. The existence of the notarized document was reported here at The Cimmerian right after the news of the break-in hit the national media.

The existence of that notarized letter, which Frank Frazetta apparently mailed to his son, Frank Jr., may be critical in establishing  Frank Jr.’s innocence. If Frank Jr. believed that he was acting according to his father’s wishes, then there was no criminal intent. It appears possible that the existence of the letter was what prompted the other three Frazetta siblings to begin making noises about possible extra-legal reconciliation with their brother.

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Solomon Kane — the Movie

I’ve been reading up on the Solomon Kane movie, and watched the trailer.

From Moviephone:

Based on the character created by Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian), Captain Solomon Kane is a brutally efficient 16th Century killing machine. Armed with his signature pistols, cutlass and rapier, he and his men unleash their bloodlust as they fight for England in war after war on all continents.

His men?


“Solomon Kane” – The movie “Solomon Kane” tells the origins of Solomon Kane and is hoped to be the first of a trilogy of movies. When the story opens Kane is a mercenary of Queen Elizabeth I fighting in Africa, but after an encounter with a demon, The Reaper, he realizes he must seek redemption or have his soul damned to Hell. He returns to Engand and lives a life of peace, converting to puritanism, but soon the doings of an evil sorceror upset his plans and he must take up arms again. James Purefoy stars as puritan swordsman “Solomon Kane”. “Solomon Kane” is a 16th century soldier who learns that his brutal and cruel actions have damned him but is determined to redeem himself by living peaceably. But he finds himself dragged out of retirement for a fight against evil.

You know, it might be a pretty good sword & sorcery flick, and it has a nice grim feel to it.  Too bad they only took the look and the name of Solomon Kane, and basically made their own character.  Damned instead of pious, bloodthirsty instead of on a mission, the Robert E. Howard they call “legendary” in the trailer would have a hard time recognizing this as his creation.

Time to Saddle Up, Howard Fans

Maggie Van Ostrand

EDIT: Thanks to Howard fans coming together and forming a determined shieldwall, both Texas Escapes and Fandomania have made adjustments to Ms. Van Ostrand’s article. As [redacted] puts it: “Texas Escapes has pulled the article down and Fandomania has placed enough editorial padding between the piece and the site that there can be no doubt as to the veracity of the piece in question.” Van Ostrand has also apologised for not digging deeper into the research regarding Howard’s life. So, no need to email either site or Van Ostrand.

Also, readers of this blog entry should be aware that its sole purpose was to serve as a call to arms directed specifically at REH fans. In my opinion, its purpose has been served. In no way was it intended to be informative to the general public. Certain basic knowledge was assumed, since it was aimed entirely at active, informed REH fans, as the title should have indicated to any unwary reader. Uncomplimentary language was directed towards Ms. Van Ostrand. This is in no way an apology, simply a preface intended to inform readers of content.

— Deuce Richardson

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More El Borak News


Over at the Official Robert E. Howard Forum, Paradox rep Jay Zetterberg proffered REH fandom the lowdown regarding the final contents of El Borak and Other Desert Adventures. This volume, due out February 2, 2010 from Del Rey/Ballantine, looks like another keeper. For those not willing or able to click over to, I reproduce the table of contents (and submit some random thoughts of my own) below.

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El Borak Reviewed at Publishers Weekly

ElB-finalOver at the Publishers Weekly website, they just posted their newest batch of “Fiction Book Reviews.” The capsule reviews are wide-ranging, covering books in both the ‘mainstream’ and ‘genre’ categories. A review of El Borak and Other Desert Adventures (coming in March from Del Rey) is amongst them.

Considering how small a percentage of eligible books actually get reviewed by Publishers Weekly, this is a nine-day wonder. When one takes into account that El Borak is a collection of previously published stories, the fact that it got reviewed at all is even more startling. PW is a book trade magazine read by booksellers and librarians all over the country. The review definitely ups the chances of REH’s fiction getting a wider distribution in heretofore seldom-seen venues. This is what the unnamed reviewer had to say…

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