More Sneak Peeks From Black Gate, Including John C. Hocking

As [redacted] reported earlier this month, the release of Black Gate #14 is imminent. Whilst copies of the new issue, like unto blood-mad dogs of war, await release from the loving clutches of the printer, publisher John O’Neill has been providing previews of some of the stories.

(Continue reading this post)

Sentiment: An Olio Is Gone, But Not For Good

[redacted] just posted this over at the Robert E. Howard Foundation site:

Sentiment: An Olio of Rarer Works is officially Sold Out. We have at least one copy with a dirty thumbprint on the page edges, and perhaps one more clean copy held back in case the postal service lost or damaged a book.  Anyone interested in the ”dirty book,” or in being placed on a wait list for the other and/or future printings, should contact us:

Not to worry, gentle readers. Paul Herman informed the denizens of the Official Robert E. Howard Forum that a second edition of Sentiment is definitely in the cards.

The Third Printing of Collected Poetry Is Almost Gone…

According to [redacted] over at the Robert E. Howard Foundation, there are less than ten copies of The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard left unsold. Rob also said that there are no plans at present to produce a fourth printing. I cannot stress enough what a fine collection this is. Both Leo Grin and myself (and others) have sung its praises. Ordering information can be found here.

Spartacus Redux

Howard Fast’s book Spartacus is a kind of paradox; a book about the spirit of freedom written by an avowed Communist.  There are suggestions that the free slaves will share the wealth, but the main idea of the book is that all people must be free. It is subversive in a way, even today.  Howard Fast, like the screen-writer for the movie, Dalton Trumble, was jailed by the House UnAmerican Activies Committee for refusing to name names. He later renounced Communism after learning of Stalin’s crimes against his own countrymen and the repression of Hungary in 1956. But Spartacus had been written in 1951, while Fast believed in Communism. Because of the political climate of the time, he had to publish it himself, with the help of friends and fans who gave him money in advance.

For an account of how he came to write Spartacus, go here.

(Continue reading this post)

Norris Chambers and the Howard House on Youtube

Here’s a communiqué from REH fan and photographer, Ben Friberg:

Howdy! Ben, warrior photog here. Just wanted to let you know I posted my tour of the Howard house with Norris Chambers on my youtube channel. Leo and I are talking with him about what he remembers of Bob. Mixed in some pictures of the Howards and cutaways of the room and other parts of the house. It’s not as zippy and quick moving as my Cimmeria post, but it’s informative and neat to listen to the last guy who knew Howard talk about the nice, gentle man he was. It will be a part of my overall movie/doc, but I decided I wanted to post it in this form, in order to share with my fellow Howard fans. It would be great to show the room and inside of the house to folks who live all over the world, and who may never get a chance to come out to Cross Plains.

Friberg shot the video in 2007 as part of a bigger REH documentary that he is working on. He and Leo Grin accompanied Norris Chambers in a tour of the Howard House and listened as Chambers reminisced about Robert E. Howard. To my mind, Friberg’s video is one of the best pieces of its type I’ve seen. To hear Mr. Chambers relate his memories of the Howards is just enthralling. Ben’s video can be found here.

A link to Friberg’s “Cimmeria post” can be found here.

More Manly Wade Wellman News Around the Web

As [redacted] noted, Planet Stories will be publishing a collection of Manly Wade Wellman’s “Hok the Mighty” tales in November. However, that isn’t all the MWW news afoot.

In March, Planet Stories is releasing Who Fears the Devil? from Wellman. The protagonist of the book is John the Balladeer, also known as “Silver John.” The Planet Stories edition will collect all the short stories that Wellman wrote about his Appalachian hero and will use the 1963 Arkham House printing as its basis. Thus, the vignettes that MWW wrote especially for that edition to connect all the tales will be included and in their proper place. In addition, two other yarns will be included: namely, “Frogfather” and “Sin’s Doorway.” These tales are thought to be “prequels” to the Silver John saga and have never been collected with the other short stories until now.

(Continue reading this post)

A Gray Misty Realm of Clouds and Icy Winds


Another snowstorm is on the way, and I’m starting to feel like I’m living in Cimmeria.  The last two weeks or so, East Tennessee has been alternating between cold rainy days, cold snowy days, and cold cloudy days, with the sun hardly every to be seen.  The cold rainy days predominate, and those are my least favorite. It reminds me of what Howard, and Lamb before him, wrote about the dark wooded hills of Cimmeria.  The gloomy weather breeds gloomy inhabitants, and I have to wonder if a sort of idea of Seasonal Affective Disorder existed in Howard’s mind long before such a term was ever coined. Texas winters can be harsh, despite its southern latitudes. Thus the dismal religion built around the god Crom, famously described in “Queen of the Black Coast”:

“Their chief is Crom. He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man’s soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?” 
“But what of the worlds beyond the river of death?” she persisted.
“There is no hope here or hereafter in the cult of my people,” answered Conan. “In this world men struggle and suffer vainly, finding pleasure only in the bright madness of battle; dying, their souls enter a gray misty realm of clouds and icy winds, to wander cheerlessly throughout eternity.”

Thus also the comments in “Phoenix on the Sword” about Conan being unlike his fellow Cimmerians in that he can laugh. I also remember a comment in a letter to Lovecraft where Howard suggests the winter weather of New England might have been partly to blame for the dour fanaticism of the Pilgrim colonies. Oh well; at least East Tennessee winters are comparatively short.

John J. Miller Gives Grognardia Its Due

Over at National Review Online, friend of The Cimmerian, John J. Miller, just posted an entry giving props to Grognardia. As some TC readers may already know, James Maliszewski’s web log is perhaps the finest of its kind devoted to role-playing games. Just a few weeks ago, Grognardia received plaudits from The L.A. Times.  Even if you’re not of the role-playing bent, it is still worthwhile checking in on Grognardia from time to time. Maliszewski is a keen student and critic of the the pulp-style adventure we all love and his book reviews are some of the best on the ‘Net, in my opinion.

First Word on a New Edition of Post Oaks and Sand Roughs

Over at The Official Robert E. Howard Forum, [redacted] from the Robert E. Howard Foundation gave frequenters of the forum a sneak peak at the contents of a projected new book from the REHF. This volume will contain Robert E. Howard’s fictionalized autobiographical short novel, Post Oaks and Sand Roughs (the cover from the DMG edition is shown above), along with numerous other works from Howard containing information of a personal and biographical nature. Rob cautions that the whole project is still in development and no firm date whatsoever has been set. The contents, which [redacted] has described as “tentative,” are as follows:

Ambition by Moonlight
An Autobiography
The Galveston Affair
In His Own Image
Ivory Camel, The
Lives and Crimes of Notable Artists
Musings of a Moron
The Paradox
The People of the Winged Skulls
Post Oaks and Sand Roughs – Draft
Post Oaks and Sand Roughs
The Recalcitrant
Some People Who Have Had Influence over Me
Spanish Gold on Devil Horse
The Splendid Brute
Sunday in a Small Town
To a Man Whose Name I Never Knew
A Touch of Trivia
Untitled (“A typical small town drugstore . . .”)
Untitled (“As my dear public . . .”)
Untitled (“Mike Costigan, writer and self-avowed futilist”)
Untitled (“The Seeker thrust . . .”)
Voyages with Villains
The Wandering Years

Rob has also indicated that there might be annotations included as well.

[redacted] has been giving the annotaters a helping hand, it seems. Over at the Two-Gun Raconteur website, [redacted] has posted a guest blog which examines some of the clues provided by Post Oaks and Sand Roughs. He has made, in my opinion, a very strong case as to what real-life football game REH fictionalized at the very start of his short novel. Check it out here.

Blood and Sand

Any of you been watching Starz’s series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand?

It’s kind of rekindled my interest in the man, and I’m reading Howard Fast’s novel and wondering what I did with my copy of the 1960 Kirk Douglas movie based on that book.

As some of you know, Howard was familiar with the story of Spartacus. In his poem, “A Son of Spartacus” he opens with a line from Reverend Elijah Kellogg’s “Spartacus to the Gladiators” speech. In Almuric you can also hear the echoes of this speech.

As someone who grew up in the age of the Comics Code, when censors suppressed Captain Kirk every time he tried to open-mouth kiss an alien girl, it’s kind of startling how much nudity, sex, violence, gore and profanity they cram into each episode. The storyline is interesting, though they’ve totally recreated Spartacus’s origin from previous versions. Although historians differ, it seems their version is more accurate than Fast’s, who has him born into slavery.

Owner of the gladiator school Batiatus is played by John Hannah, from the Mummy movies, and former warrior princess Lucy Loveless plays his scheming sexy wife. Those who want to see Xena naked are prettty much in luck. The other members of the cast are unknown to me, except for Peter Mensah, who was in 300 and Hidalgo. He plays Batiataus’ trainer.
But the acting is good.

Speaking of 300, it seems every fight is inspired by the 300 style; slow/stop/fast followed by a burst of blood, even if the blow struck would not really have produced much blood. It’s like they think 300 is the best movie ever. But I think it’s an enjoyable series so far, though I feel like a decadent Roman while watching it.