Andy Serkis: From Gollum to Screwtape












Andy Serkis, the actor whose voice and mannerisms brought to life the character of Gollum in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of Lord of the Rings, has now taken on another unsavory character sprung from the well of imagination that was the Inklings. This time, Serkis is trying his hand at Screwtape, the epistolary demon from C.S. Lewis’ classic, The Screwtape Letters (which book was dedicated to JRRT).

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Original Clark Ashton Smith Art on Ebay



Original Clark Ashton Smith Color Primitive Art Framed

Image area approx 8.75″ x 11″ double matted and framed under glass to approx 14″ x 16.5″ Medium appears to be pencil, crayon & watercolor. While not as rare as Smith’s carvings his color originals, especially larger examples as this one are infrequently offered. Provenance: collection of Lin Carter, obtained from his widow ca. 1992.

That’s what “pulpster,” the purveyor of the painting above, has to say.  The asking  price is $2,800, with both “Buy It Now” and “Make Offer” options available.

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Love(craftian Items) For Sale


Nothing rings in the holiday season like cosmic horror. So, without further ado, let’s look at upcoming publications featuring either the works of the Man From Providence or those of his acolytes, all of which bear some connection (sometimes tenuous) to Our Reason For Being here at The Cimmerian.

Courtesy of Coming Attractions, we find that Girasol Collectables, publishers of several fine facsimile editions of the pulp appearances of Robert E. Howard, is gearing up to present two volumes collecting all the stories of Lovecraft which appeared in Weird Tales. Here’s the blurb:

Girasol Collectables

Coming Spring 2010!

All of Lovecraft’s fiction from the original run of WEIRD TALES, in facsimile form right off the original pulp pages!

Girasol Collectables is pleased to announce their upcoming hardcover project, which will be the Weird Writings of HP Lovecraft.

It’ll be similar in format to their REH books; facsimile scans right from the original pages, with no edits or reset text, containing all of HPL’s material from the original run of WEIRD TALES.

A 2 volume set, with one oversized volume to cover the bedsheet issues from 1923 and 1924, and a smaller 7×10 sized volume for the standard sized issues.

Limited Edition of 200 copies.
Pre-release price of $150 + $10 s&h
until Jan. 15, 2010 (Save $25)
(within North America)
After 1/15/2010: $175

We’ll do our best to match existing numbers for REH buyers, but can’t guarantee it; get in early for the best chance at that.
Due out Spring of 2010.

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Skulls and Dust… (Egypt’s curse is a deathly thing.)

The Persian slaughtered the Apis Bull;
(Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
And the brain fermented beneath his skull.
(Egypt’s curse is a deathly thing.)

He rode on the desert raider’s track;
(Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
No man of his gleaming hosts came back,
And the dust winds drifted sombre and black.
(Egypt’s curse is a deathly thing.)

The eons passed on the desert land;
(Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
And a stranger trod the shifting sand.
(Egypt’s curse is a deathly thing.)

His idle hand disturbed the dead;
(Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
Til he found Cambysses’ skull of dread
Whence the frenzied brain so long had fled,
That once held terrible visions red.
(Egypt’s curse is a deathly thing.)

And an asp crawled from the dust inside
(Ammon-Ra is a darksome king.)
And the stranger fell and gibbered and died.
(Egypt’s curse is a deathly thing.)

“Skulls and Dust,” by Robert E. Howard

“No man of his gleaming hosts came back.” Indeed. What REH (and Herodotus) said. Verification of Herodotus’ tale concerning Cambyses’ lost army has been a long time coming (sort of like what Howard said about the Picts and the Basques). The archaeological findings of twin Italian brothers in the sands of the eastern Sahara might finally solve a millennia-old mystery. Naysayers have scoffed at the veracity of the Man From Halicarnassus, but they may have to rearrange their paradigms now.

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Tolkien News (to me)


If one judged by recent posts, it might be hard to tell that The Cimmerian is a “website and shieldwall” for Robert E. Howard and J.R.R. Tolkien. The Man From Cross Plains has dominated our recent blog activity, but never think we’ve forgotten Tollers. The Cimmerian will be giving the Loremaster of Middle-earth his due in the coming weeks and months. I stumbled upon a couple of news items relating to John Ronald Reuel yesterday. While both concerned revelations that are weeks old (at least), I hadn’t known about either of them and I assume that both articles would be news to many others.

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Reasoner and Jones: Two Howard-heads Make Good

Hunt at the Well of Eternity

November has started off with a bang. Two scribes of proven talent and solid credentials vis á vis Robert E. Howard have something to crow about.

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The First Assassin by John J. Miller

first_assassin_frontGood friend of The Cimmerian John J. Miller (who has covered Robert E. Howard positively and perceptively in The Wall Street Journal, interviewed Rusty Burke about the Del Rey Conan books for National Review Online, and highlighted Paul Sammon’s Conan the Phenomenon on his Between the Covers podcast) has released his first novel, a thriller set in the early days of the Civil War. Titled The First Assassin, it’s been getting great buzz from people whose opinions I trust in matters literary:

“An excellent book — it’s like The Day of the Jackal set in 1861 Washington.”

— Vince Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pursuit of Honor

“Packed with fascinating information, superb characters, and sublime plot twists, The First Assassin is one of the most exciting thrillers I have read in a long, long time. This is historical fiction at its best and John J. Miller is the hot new author everyone will be talking about.”

— Brad Thor, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Apostle

“The story moves with swift suspense, but Miller’s real achievement is to take us inside a mindset nearly lost to time, and to create identifiable, sympathetic characters on all sides, including those who are willing to do murder to preserve the Confederacy and its ‘peculiar institution.’”

— Andrew Klavan, author of Empire of Lies

The First Assassin knocked me out. Utterly compelling, the novel sweeps the reader along multiple storylines which converge at one point, one moment, where history pivots on its axis. A skilled writer of non-fiction, here Miller uses his knowledge and research to create a powerful thriller that is completely believable. With its accurate period details and pitch-perfect characters — from house slaves to Washington, D.C. careerists to a mysterious hitman — there’s not a false note in the whole book. Read it and tell me I’m wrong.”

— Robert Ferrigno, author of Heart of the Assassin

On his blog John has written a number of posts on the genesis of his book and the choices that went into the editing and publishing of it. I was particularly interested in his thoughts on print-on-demand, a form of publishing that has really come into its own in recent years (witness the large number of POD books in Howard scholarship, most of which sold quite well considering the size of the field and the generally small market for literary criticism). More and more it’s becoming the norm for true book lovers to never set foot in a brick-and-mortar bookstore, places that are quickly becoming glorified coffee shops featuring clueless employees, frustratingly narrow inventories, and obscene prices. They are fast degenerating into the Blockbuster Videos of the publishing world, while online venues like Amazon serve as Netflix. Of course, for the lucky few having a big New York publisher’s marketing muscle behind you is a good thing, but the vast majority of authors can make more money with a lot less hassle by self-publishing. What used to be called the “mid-list” has vanished from the big houses and migrated to POD and smaller presses, to the point where it’s normal to see authors with already substantial careers resorting to POD when the economics make sense. It’s great to see entire genres ignored by the big conglomerates flourishing guerrilla-style like this, especially older stuff by politically-incorrect pulpsters that often are too forgotten or risque for today’s coterie of dainty mainstream editoresses.

The First Assassin is going to be listed on Amazon soon, but John gets more dough if you buy directly from the publisher, so head on over and pick up a copy. At $15 for a trade paperback (Morgan Holmes’ favorite format — not), it’s certainly competitively priced with the product put out by the big New York houses. And if you’re not regularly reading John’s blog, Hey Miller, you should put it into your rotation, both for the new material and for the reprinting of old items about stuff we fantasy fans care about, things like Edgar Allan Poe, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert Heinlein, and of course Conan, Beowulf, and David Gemmell.


Charles Saunders Compares Conan and Jack Reacher

sidebar_author_saundersCharles R. Saunders, legendary Sword-and-Sorcery author and Friend of The Cimmerian, has posted a guest blog over at the Black Gate website. It’s a review of Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher” series. A big reason why it should interest readers of  The Cimmerian (besides the obvious), is that Mr. Saunders compares Child’s peripatetic protagonist to Robert E. Howard’s Conan. (Continue reading this post)

Conversations with the Weird Tales Circle Coming Our Way


Just posted on Bill Thom’s Coming Attractions

Centipede Press: Conversations with the Weird Tales Circle
Now available to order with the majority being released in late November
and early December.

Conversations with the Weird Tales Circle is a massive, oversized celebration of the lives of H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Frank Belknap Long, Seabury Quinn, E. Hoffmann Price, Henry Kuttner, C.L. Moore, Lee Brown Coye, Hannes Bok, August Derleth, Edmond Hamilton, Manly Wade Wellman, Fritz Leiber, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, Donald Wandrei, Mary Elizabeth Counselman, and many others. Each writer has their own section in the book, complete with a custom drawing of the author by noted artist Alex McVey.

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Wagner October Reprise


It has been quite a month for fans of Karl Edward Wagner. For days following the dawn of October 13, there were memorial pieces posted all over the Internet, testifying to KEW’s continuing, vibrant legacy. We here at The Cimmerian did our part.

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