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.

An Update on The Early Adventures of El Borak

Here’s what REH Foundation mover n’ shaker, [redacted], just posted over on the Official Robert E. Howard Forum:

We should start taking pre-orders soon, but I thought folks would want to see the other El Borak cover by the Keegans.

[redacted] also noted that it’s not too late to email the Foundation regarding this volume. The more they hear from fans, the better they’ll be able to determine the size of the print run.

Brian Leno Now Posting at the TGR Blog

A Cimmerian Award-winning Howard scholar is now posting at the TGR blog.  Brian Leno is blogging at Publisher’s Journal, the Official REH: Two-Gun Raconteur Blog.

 From 2006 through 2008, Brian made seven contributions to The Cimmerian, including two of my personal favorites, “Lovecraft’s Southern Vacation” and “Down the Rabbit Hole” (for which he won the First Place  for Outstanding Achievement, Essay).

 Brian is also a regular contributor to REH: Two-Gun Raconteur.  So if you enjoy Brian’s writing as much as I do, mosey on over the Publisher’s Journal blog and check it out.

 Brian just posted a new entry, and here are links to his first two posts.

Leno and Damon Sasser came out of the gate on January 1 firing on all cylinders and have kept the blog entries coming ever since. It’s great to see another REH blog out there and I wish them the best.

My first encounter with REH

I see where in honor of Bob’s birthday people are relating their first encounter with his work. My story is, I think, unique; at least, I’ve never heard a similar one.

I was 14 and had read every Edgar Rice Burroughs story to be found, and a lot of Andre Norton as well. I went to the downtown Sears by bus, to check out their mezzanine bookstore which was the only place I knew that had those Ace paperbacks with the cool Krenkel and Frazetta covers. And my eye was caught by a crudely painted cover with a gory scene of an ape with its arm hacked off and a near-naked hairy guy who was apparently doing the hacking. Apparently Lancer had put out a new printing of the Conan series, but other people had already bought all the Frazetta ones. No matter; this, and the other Duillo-covered one, Conan the Wanderer, looked interesting enough to pick up and take home.

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Jackson Kuhl and “The Obscurity of Clark Ashton Smith”

The 117th anniversary of Clark Ashton Smith’s birth last week was marked by The Cimmerian (here, here, and here), Grognardia, Black Gate, and others with accolades and remembrances. As well it should. Smith, along with Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft, formed the weird fiction triptych of the 1920s and ’30s — and in my opinion, he was the most talented member of a talented group. Yet a recurring question in many of these memorials is why Smith remains uncelebrated in comparison to his partners. This is especially vexing when you consider he outlived the other two by almost a quarter-century.

Blogger Jackson Kuhl (a personage not unknown to long-time TC readers) wrote the above in an entry he posted on Robert E. Howard’s birthday, ironically enough. Kuhl’s article, entitled “The Obscurity of Clark Ashton Smith,” answers the “vexing question” of CAS’ lack of literary prominence by pointing the finger directly at those who control Smith’s estate. Kuhl relates his (ultimately futile) struggles to publish an omnibus gathering together all of the Averoigne stories (a collection yours truly has been waiting for these past two decades). It is a disheartening tale, but one that should be read by every fan of the Bard of Auburn.

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An Austin-tacious Birthday Party for REH

As reported last week, Paul Herman and Dennis McHaney organized a birthday celebration in honor of Robert E. Howard at Opal Divine’s in Austin for Saturday, January 23rd. Here’s a post-party summary from Paul courtesy of the Official Robert E. Howard Forum:

It was a beautiful if windy Saturday in Austin. We started on the deck of Opal Divine’s, a nice place with a broad selection of beers and food. 65-70 degrees (welcome to Texas-style winters!), a brisk wind out of the west. After the wind dumped my beer in my lap (if ONLY someone had caught that on video, pretty amazing), we decided to move it inside. Quite the rogues gallery, with Dennis McHaney, [redacted]*, Dave Hardy and better half, Todd Woods, Joe and Ms. Crawford, and a couple other folks who stopped in that I didn’t know. A rousing toast to REH, and the conversation was on. Much brilliant Howard discussion ensued, as well as just catching up with each other. Good food, cold drinks, and a couple hours of fun camraderie. It is so rare to get to sit around with a group and talk REH, especially such a knowledgeable group. Man that was fun! Definitely worth the drive.

Sounds like a great shindig. All Robert E. Howard fans who were within driving distance and stayed home ([redacted] drove all the way from Vernon) just might hafta hold their manhoods cheap at this point. However, unlike Agincourt, there will be do-overs in the future. A tip of the TC morion to Dennis and Paul for making it all happen.

*Mark hit a deer on the way back from the soiree, by the way. He’s fine, but his car could be better and the deer could be a lot better.

Bradstreet and El Borak

As reported earlier here at The Cimmerian, award-winning artist, Timothy Bradstreet, is the creator behind all of the black-and-white pieces for the upcoming El Borak and Other Desert Adventures from Del Rey. Above is one of his illustrations for that volume (recently posted on the homepage of

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The Were-woman and the Zebra

I first read the name “Robert E. Howard” in the spring of 1975. I had seen a copy of Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian #38 on a spindle-rack in one of those little corner grocery stores whose place has now been taken by stores of convenience in America’s small towns. Having discovered the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs the previous year, I was primed for the sort of adventure the cover seemed to promise. My indulgent and sainted grand-mother, responding as she nearly always did to my boyish entreaties, promptly bought it for me (naked blue chick and all).

Conan #38 was Roy Thomas’ (and John Buscema’s) adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s “The House of Arabu.” Howard’s yarn featured a blonde-haired Argive named Pyrrhas as the protagonist and was set during the twilight years of Sumer. Roy, as he often did with other REH tales, “freely adapted” (his own words, right on the splash page) the yarn as a story of Conan during his time in Turan, which he entitled, “The Warrior and the Were-Woman!”. Over the years, it’s been noted more than once that “Arabu” is one of Howard’s darker tales of high adventure. In my opinion, Thomas managed to convey a lot of that while still toeing the line for the Comics Code.

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Robert E. Howard’s 104th Birthday

There’s all sorts of festivities going on around the web. Go to REHupa to read Indy Cavalier’s little shout-out, then head over to Black Gate for a battery of birthday posts from Howard Jones, Charles Saunders, Ryan Harvey, Bill Ward, and John R. Fultz. Other birthday wishes can be found at Life of a Philippine Gamer, Propheet at the Age of Conan vault, David Smay at HiLoBrow, Tarib at the Age of Conan forums, and The men and women of the official Conan forums.

Since its founding, The Cimmerian has been firmly dedicated to the critical notion that Robert E. Howard and J.R.R. Tolkien stand as equals atop the modern fantasy genre. They are the two impregnable towers of twentieth-century fantasy, the geniuses whose careers serve as wellsprings from which everything else has flowed. Both have seen virtually everything they ever wrote published — drafts, fragments, notes — as fans and scholars dig ever deeper, attempting to understand the spell these men have cast over their literary lives and over the fantasy genre. Over a century after their respective births, neither author looks ready to give up their hold on our imaginations.

On this anniversary of Howard’s birth, think about where he stands critically. His work survives in hundreds of editions — prose, poetry, correspondence, minutiae — running the gamut from the cheapest paperback to deluxe hardcovers costing hundreds of dollars, and from the most unassuming fanzine to Penguin Modern Classics. Movies have been made about his famous fictional characters and about his life. Paintings from the covers of his books have sold for upwards of a million dollars. The house where he lived and wrote is now a museum and an official landmark on the United States Register of Historic Places. Howard endures and thrives even when 99.9% of his era’s authors, including most of the bestsellers of the time, are forgotten. It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that not one author in a million can expect the longevity of reputation that Howard enjoys, and that five hundred years from now, when virtually everything we now revere is lost, some kid on Mars will fire up his star-Kindle, read the words “Know, oh prince. . . ,” and soon go “Wow. . . .”

You of course are at liberty to think that a fanciful, overblown prediction, but Howard has a way of frustrating the low expectations of his critics, and I like his chances. One never knows exactly what will survive the years and for how long, but Howard’s brilliance, accessibility, and pop-culture imprint gives him as good an opportunity as anything else to make it.

Nu Millennium’s “Conan”: Jason Momoa


Read about it here.*

Words fail me. That’s probably best.

*It has been confirmed on the Nu Image/Nu Millennium site here.