REH Days and V5n3

The next issue of The Cimmerian, V5n3 (June 2008), will debut at Howard Days on June 13, and will ship to subscribers soon after.

If you are a subscriber who is attending REH Days, and you intend to buy your issues there (so you can get them signed at the event, etc.), pop me an email and let me know and I’ll make sure not to send you your regular subscription.


A Note About the Free Awards Issue to Contributors

It’s been brought to my attention that in the (still ongoing) struggle to get all of the new issues and slipcases out, it slipped my mind to credit those of you who offered voting comments last year with a free Limited copy of the V4 Awards issue. Therefore, if you receive a package and your discount is not reflected on your invoice the way you think it should be, feel free to deduct $10 from your total. I’ll also be assembling a list and sending out individual e-mails to affected persons about this, but figured I should make a blanket announcement immediately first. If you do end up paying for it when you should have been credited, I’ll apply that $10 towards your next order. Any questions or concerns, feel free to drop me a line.

V5n1 erratum


Just a quick note to those of you digging into the new issue: on page 18 of Steve’s essay appears the following quote from the REH story “Wild Water”:

Now he could see the headlights glinting through the trees like a pair of angry eyes. The eyes of the Law, he thought sardonically, and hugged himself with venomous glee.

Unfortunately Steve’s follow-up line, “The throwback has been thrown forward, into a dispiriting present that barely masks a dystopian future,” was inadvertently formatted to look like a part of the REH quote rather than separate from it. So when you hit that line, make the necessary mental adjustment. “The throwback…” is Steve talking, not REH.

Volume 5 Begins


The February 2008 issue has shipped to subscribers. For a sneak peek at all of the treasures contained within, go here.

Amethyst is the color this year, a sort of royal gemstone purple that shimmers nicely under a reading lamp. Our artist for the forthcoming annum is Ms. Socar Myles of Vancouver, British Columbia, whose macabre talents can be gleaned at her website.

Slipcases for both V4 and V5 will be ready soon (price: $50 ea.), along with much else. Stay tuned to The Cimmerian Blog for details.


Capping Off A Year’s Worth of Celebrating Conan


Those of you who subscribe to The Cimmerian‘s indispensable print journal have been privy to an abundance of material relating to Conan’s seventy-fifth anniversary in 2007.

It all started with the fourth entry in our Cimmerian Library series, Yours for Faster Hippos, which reprinted the historic critical broadside in the battle for Conan’s legacy, Don Herron’s “Conan vs. Conantics,” along with much other primal matter relating to the world’s most famous fictional barbarian.

For those of you who value the work that L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter put into popularizing Howard’s creation, V4n1 of TC presented “The Would-Be Cimmerian,” Ben Indick’s article on de Camp. Meanwhile, Gary Romeo looked at the way REH’s Conan laid the base for the S&S genre in V4n3’s “The Father of Sword-and-Sorcery.”

In V4 numbers 4 and 5 we covered all the major Conan events held this year. There was the Howard Days which featured a guided trip to the birthplace of Cimmeria, Enchanted Rock State Park in Texas. And the Windy City Pulp Con that featured Conan’s seventy-fifth birthday as its theme. PulpCon honored REH legend Glenn Lord as the Guest of Honor. And Gen Con in Indianapolis held a “Robert E. Howard Day” which was overrun with panels, booths, games, and tributes to REH and his irrepressible hero.

In October, we had an interview with one of the premier heirs to Conan’s S&S throne, Charles Saunders, whose Cimmerian-inspired hero Imaro roared back into print last year, and who is planning to get the rest of the series published soon, via print-on-demand if necessary (you heard it in TC first).

Of course, all year The Lion’s Den has presented tens of thousands of words worth of debate on all aspects of Howard’s epic creation, ranging from Darrell Schweitzer’s gutter disdain for Howard’s world-building skills to the Himalayan heights of respect that other fans achieved by leading us on a tour of the realistic realpolitik inherent in the Hyborian Age.

And throughout 2007 the TC blog has been packed with all sorts of posts detailing Conan’s impact, legacy, and mythic resonance in the fantasy field. Check out entries such as:

Uncollected Letter In A Locke-Box?

Which Conan Are We Celebrating, Again?

Lancer or Del Rey

The World of the Lancer Conan Paperbacks

Kavalier (Not Cavalier), Clay, and REH

The Fortress Unvanquishable, Even For Sacnoth

Honoring the Howard Collector

Different On-Ramps To The Road Of Kings

Hearts In Mouths

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe

Conan Movie News

Thoth-Amon, Voldemort, Lord Voldemort, Thoth-Amon

Conan Stalks Into The Hallowed Halls of National Review

Frazetta & Howard, Moorcock & Howard

The Lion In His 75th Winter

Nowhere on the Internet have you read as much in-depth coverage of our favorite Adventurer.

Now that the end of Conan’s Semisesquicentennial is upon us, The Cimmerian is bringing the curtain down on this important milestone with an appropriate panoply of items. December’s V4n6 is now available, and it features a full-bore Conan at 75 Symposium. History, scholarship, collecting, comics, poetry — it’s all there. Readers will be treated to a great verse written especially for the occasion by Fred Phillips, the unveiling of a newly discovered Conan typescript that is bound to cause a bit of revision to the Wandering Star/Del Rey Conan series, an essay that provides an engrossing front-row seat at the genesis of Conan in the pages of Weird Tales, another essay that brings to light the little-known first authorized appearance of Conan in comics, and much more. It’s our way of putting a towering exclamation point on a full year’s worth of anniversary memorialization among Howard’s vast readership.


I’ve also finished at long last the Index issue for V3. Once you take a look at it you’ll see why it took so long. The breadth of subjects covered by our twelve-issue Centennial blowout is scarcely to be believed. If you missed out on that Volume, you are light-years behind the rest of the crowd in terms of knowledge about REH, period. This is evidenced online on a daily basis, as various fans ask questions or make speculations about things that have long ago been methodically detailed in the pages of The Cimmerian. Thirty issues in four years — that’s 1200 pages of Howardian research and scholarship that the fence-sitters and wallflowers have missed out on. There’s only a couple dozen copies of V1n1 and V1n2 left, and once they trickle away, acquiring a complete set of TC becomes a whole new ballgame. I’d hate to be one of the guys a couple years down the road, finally figuring out what he missed and desperately looking to play catch up. Belatedly getting with the program will soon become an extraordinarily expensive endeavor.

And although we’ve sometimes staggered and swayed during that time, we’re not done yet. Volume 5 is ramping up as I write this — coming soon: new TC issues, new Cimmerian Library chapbooks, and the ballots for the fourth annual Cimmerian Awards. Let’s make 2008 another great year to be a Howard fan.

TC V4n5 debuts


Just about ready to start shipping these out, so I thought I’d announce it. Check out all the details here. It’s a pretty text-heavy issue, with lots of Deep Thinking about REH and Sword-and-Sorcery in general.

Coming soon: a slam-bang December issue featuring a first-look at a rare-as-hell Christmas-themed Howard collectible that to my knowledge has never been published before. I’m also putting the finishing touches on the V3 Index, and hope to have at least the V4 Awards ish finished in time for a December release, and perhaps the V4 Index and/or a Cimmerian Library booklet as well. Lots to do, but until then you can look forward to digging into the latest issue during your Thanksgiving break.

A new TC staggers into the fray


Just in time for Halloween (in hindsight, how apropos) The Cimmerian presents its annual Robert E. Howard Days review issue. The trip report this time was written by Brian Leno, who had an interesting perspective on the event — his first journey was made to Cross Plains in 1967, forty years ago. Comparing the town as it was then to as it is now was an interesting exercise for him. There’s also a nice recounting of the field trip to Fort McKavett and Enchanted Rock, with lots of details about those sites that haven’t been covered in a trip report before.

In this same ish there’s also overviews of the two summer pulp shows that prominently honored Robert E. Howard, the Windy City Pulp Show and PulpCon. Toss in a fun Sailor Steve poem by Amy Kerr and the usual Cryer art and Lion’s Den, and it’s a meaty issue. Subscriptions went out on Thursday afternoon, so expect your packages soon.

Coming soon: the October issue — in October, if we’re lucky! — with lots more Cimmerian goodness. Stay tuned.

On a shipping note, the recent increases in postage combined with new rules at the post office auto-serve kiosk have prompted me to make a change, to wit: I’m not going to use Delivery Confirmation anymore, except on very expensive items. The logic being that this will allow me to refrain from raising shipping rates, and that Delivery Confirmation is not nearly as necessary or useful now that everyone is using First Class or better shipping as opposed to Media Mail (which took weeks and had people wondering where their package was). It will also save a lot of time when packing and mailing, as I won’t have to make the labels and the postal workers won’t have to scan them. Rest assured that if your package ever gets lost in the mail, I’ll send you a replacement free of charge and make it right, as usual.

Leon Nielsen, R.I.P.


John Haefele just sent me grim tidings from Wisconsin: his friend (and popular Cimmerian contributor) Leon Nielsen has died after a long battle with cancer.

As one of Leon’s editors I’ve been prepared for this news for some time, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Leon (1937-2007) was a Renaissance Man: a Catholic immigrant and Ranger/paratrooper from Denmark who distinguished himself in America’s Special Forces during the Vietnam War, then went on to become a well-known wildlife biologist, as well as a collector and appraiser of rare books. He himself wrote many volumes throughout his life — military training manuals, wildlife treatises and reference works, and of course several popular contributions to collecting and fandom. In our arena his standout efforts included two well-received books from McFarland, Arkham House: A Collector’s Guide (2004) and Robert E. Howard: A Collector’s Descriptive Bibliography (2006) — the appearance of the latter was a highlight of the end of Howard’s Centenary.

In the pages of The Cimmerian Leon was one of my most prized contributors. Beginning with a detailed speculation on the real-life underpinnings of Conan’s fictional homeland, “Asgard, Vanaheim, and Cimmeria” (TC V2n5 — October 2005), he went on to write several notable pieces for TC‘s vaunted Centennial run, including “Pseudo Boom” (TC V3n5 — May 2006) and “Legacy” (TC V3n12 — December 2006). He was also a prolific voice in The Cimmerian‘s letter column, The Lion’s Den, penning numerous missives that were virtually essays in themselves. That he managed to be such a force for good in Howard fandom over the last few years, despite battling cancer and undergoing months of debilitating chemotherapy, makes his achievements all the more impressive and appreciated.

The next time a mollycoddled popinjay like S. T. Joshi spouts off something like, “In my judgment, most REH fans, and even scholars, do not appear to have the breadth of knowledge in general literature to make a sound case for REH’s literary standing” (The Lion’s Den, TC V2n2 — February 2005) one need only point to the memory of Leon Nielsen: a globetrotting scholar and adventurer of the first order, one whose numerous triumphs will long outlive the pale bleating of deskbound mandarins.

Howard ended his memorial to his friend Herbert Klatt with the following, and — given Leon’s youth spent in the cradle of historical Cimmeria — I find it particularly appropriate to use it again here:

What shall a man say when a friend has vanished behind the doors of Death? A mere tangle of barren words, only words.

Still, I feel that if there is such a thing as a Hereafter that he will find a place among his fearless ancestors in the high hall of Valhalla and I like to think of him sitting at the right hand of Thor amid the glory of everlasting revel.

Yes, if there is a Hereafter, as Longfellow says,

There from the flowing bowl
Deep drinks the Viking’s soul!
Skoal! To the Northland! Skoal!
Thus the tale ended.

June ish and slipcase update

Just a quick post to let subscribers know that the latest orders are eeking out of Cimmerian central at the rate of four or five per business day, so if you haven’t received yours yet do not despair, it is coming. Now that the Centennial year is nearing its spiritual completion (the V3 Index is the last obligation to meet on that score) I’m going to start emailing confirmation numbers again for every order, so keep an eye in your in-box for that, which will let you know when its on its way.

The perils of running a one-man shop are becoming more apparent as time goes on. Only so many boxes can fit into a car during any one trip, only so many Cimmerian-related hours can be squeezed out of any one week, and only so many new subscribers can be added to the rolls before the task of invoicing/packing/mailing grows to near-insurmountable proportions. This, by the way, is why I don’t take subscriber money up front. Delays aren’t fun, but at least you don’t have $$$ wrapped up in them.

The good news is that those who have seen the slipcases have gone ga-ga over them. Last night the venerable Donald Sidney-Fryer, a man who has seen a lot in his day, declared that they were “among the finest examples of collector packaging I’ve ever seen.” I don’t know about that, but it was sure something to pack one of them full of Deluxe V3 issues and put it up on the shelf next to the first two. Seeing it there taking up so much space brought home how extensive the 2006 Cimmerian achievement had been. That’s a whole lot of writin’ sitting in that slipcase.

The August issue is shaping up nicely, with a Cross Plains trip report unlike any others I’ve printed, written as it is from the vantage point of a new attendee to the event. I’m going to try to get the Awards issue finished in time to mail along with the August issue, but no promises on that score.

A few new Cimmerian library booklets are nearing completion as well, some Howard-related, and some focusing on aspects of legendary genre (and REH) publisher Arkham House. Once those get up to 10 issues or so, I’ll look into making a slipcase for them, too.

On the fantasy scholarship front, check the Black Gate website this Sunday for an article by Ryan Harvey about Poul Anderson’s classic Icelandic saga homage The Broken Sword.

They’re here


At long last, the deluxe slipcases for the Centennial year are in-house. I received word on these being finished last week, so I held off on mailing V4n3 until I got them, so that I can send everything at the same time and save most of you five bucks or so on shipping. I now turn to the process of packing and mailing these out to you, a process that will take a few days and a lot of packing popcorn.

Most of these are already spoken for, but if you want one of the last ones drop me a line and let me know. Check the slipcases page for information on their construction and for pricing.


UPDATE: There’s only eight left. Get ’em while you can.