John Carter of Mars Is Coming to the Silver Screen

[redacted]’s impassioned post regarding Almuric got me to thinking about that novel’s primary inspiration and the fact that The Cimmerian has yet to even mention the forthcoming screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic novel, A Princess of Mars.

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A JRRT Birthday Post From Grognardia

James Maliszewski

Yesterday, James Maliszewski, proprieter of the Grognardia website, as well as a Friend of the Cimmerian, wrote up a thoughtful birthday post regarding Tollers. Primarily, the entry is concerned with the influence of the appendices for The Lord of the Rings upon James’ early role-playing gaming career. It’s a worthy piece and I advise the RPG-inclined to check it out.

However, while not exactly a quibble, I think it worth mentioning that Tolkien did not in reality “box in” or over-explicate his sub-creation of Middle-earth as much as some surmise. If one excludes The Silmarillion and considers only The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, then JRRT left vast areas of his world unexplored and saw fit to let many metaphysical questions remain unanswered. The only region given a thorough going-over was north-western Middle-earth and even that had large areas about which little was revealed, whether in the tales themselves or in the appendices.

In contrast, Robert E. Howard had Conan personally visit many more far-flung regions (though it appears Aragorn came close to matching the Cimmerian in his own wanderings). In Howard’s (barely) post-Hyborian Age yarn, “Marchers of Valhalla,” he had Hialmar’s Æsir war-band nearly circumnavigate the globe on foot. In addition, while no official ‘appendix,’ REH’s “The Hyborian Age” essay goes a long way towards fulfilling that function. 

Just something that occurred to me.

Sasser Revamps REH: Two-Gun Raconteur Website

Damon Sasser has been hard at work bringing a new look to the venerable REH: Two-Gun Raconteur website. Pretty slick. Damon has said that the Van Ostrand affair motivated him to put REH and his life (as opposed to Howard’s literary works) a bit more front-and-center at TGR, which will hopefully forestall similar debacles in the future. Check it all out here.

The Good Old Witch

Steve [Tompkins]once mentioned to me that it is worth considering why there is an almost complete lack of Mother-figures in Howard’s work. Is that big black hole where the hero’s mother should be indicative of some parental neurosis? Perhaps…but examples of stories lacking any mention of the hero’s mother are legion, and — thinking specifically of the pulp jungle — the last thing readers wanted was some old lady taking screen time away from the hero and damsel in distress. Those Brundage covers would start getting pretty scary.
–Leo Grin, In Defense of Hester Jane Ervin Howard

There is one mother figure that does stand out, as if to be the exception that proves the rule.  And that is the old witch Zelata, from The Hour of the Dragon.
True, her “children” are a wolf and an eagle, but her reception of the fugitive king, offering food and shelter (and death to his enemies) is quite motherly. She also shows him visions of things that have happened, and offers sound advice.  She is described as straight and tall, with clear-cut and aquiline features, not those of a common peasant woman. Howard clearly wanted this character to be impressive, and succeeded at making her so. In a fictional world full of sirens and sex toys, voluptuous babes and evil vixens, Zelata definitely stands out.