Triple Play


At long last, we have some new Cimmerians. The November (V3n11), December (V3n12), and Awards issues have all been shipped to subscribers, and are now available for general purchase. With the minor exceptions of the Deluxe Index issue and the slipcases, Volume 3 is now complete. But there’s no rest for the wicked — Volume 4 is ramping up for a February debut, sporting a new color, new artist, and lots of new REH content. Until then, you have a whole lot of reading to enjoy. These three issues are all jam-packed with tens of thousands of words of text. A massive WFC trip report, numerous REH articles, Howardian poetry, lots of Lion’s Den red meat — it’s all on its way to your door. For those who can’t wait, take a peek at the Issues For Sale page and read the posted excerpts.

Thanks for making Volume 3 such a memorable success.

Happy New Year Update

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and is set for a spectacular 2007. The Howard centennial leaves us Howard fans out of breath but with a sizable achievement to our everlasting credit. This year will be hard for future generations to top.

The attempt to get a Cimmerian out every month in 2006 failed — too many real-life responsibilities got in the way down the home stretch for me to make it happen. Nevertheless, I’m committed to getting out the remaining 2006 issues necessary to make Volume 3 a complete set. I’m going to attempt finishing the November, December, and Awards issues during the next few weeks, and will start work on the V3 Index soon. Volume 3 slipcases will also be coming sometime this spring.

If all goes as planned, Volume 4 will start with a February issue, and we’ll try for a bimonthly schedule going forward. Also keep a lookout for the 2007 Awards ballot, which will appear on this website soon. And as Rob points out in the last post, there is much in store for Howard fans in the coming year. The Complete Letters, the Del Rey Best of REH set, and much more. Just because the centennial is over doesn’t mean that we’re due for a Howard drought.

I’ll post here when the rest of the 2006 Cimmerians ship.

The Home Stretch

Back from Austin, where after the World Fantasy Convention I stayed an extra few days and did some exploring through the L. Sprague de Camp papers at the Harry Ransom Center. I only got through a single box of correspondence, but what I saw convinced me that I’ll have to set aside a few weeks sometime to go through far more of it. Lots of interesting things to be gleaned in those files, much of it never revealed before in any venue of which I am aware. Some of the best Howard information can sometimes be found in letters that on the surface have no Howard content at all.

I caught a cold in Austin due to lack of sleep, and between that and fighting to get the October issue shipped the last few days have been busy. And after that there is no rest for the wicked: as soon as October ships it’s time to prepare the November issue with all of the World Fantasy Convention coverage. Lots of interesting things happened down there, enough to fill as many pages as the Howard Days trip report usually does.

Unfortunately TC failed in its quest to take home a trophy at the awards, but the experience of being nominated and performing readings and panels at the convention was a lot of fun. I was surprised at how many otherwise knowledgeable fantasy fans knew next to nothing about Howard, but heartened at how many wanted to learn more. There definitely is a prejudice against Howard among certain factions of the Old Guard of fantasy/sci-fi, a cliquish group who fancies themselves as intellectual and progressive, people far above slumming with pulp authors. But I got the feeling that, in addition to being out of touch, those people are fading from the scene just a bit more with each passing year, and that the younger generation is far more amendable to listing Howard among the giants of fantasy. I left feeling very optimistic about Howard’s long-term prospects among the movers and shakers of the fantasy publishing world.

Only two more issues (plus the Awards and Index) to go, and the centennial volume of The Cimmerian will be complete. The year has been everything I thought it would be, both in terms of work and of fun.

October issue of TC now available


It’s all printed and ready to go, but it’s looking as if I won’t have the time to pack and ship them before my flight to the World Fantasy Convention on Tuesday. Lots of goodies to look forward to, however — head on over to the Issues for Sale page and click on the October link to read all about it and savor some excerpts.

Speaking of the Con, those of you unable to go will get complete coverage of the festivities in our November issue, which I’ll start working on as soon as I get back. Should be a lot of fun, with lots of Howard fans present, a trip to Cross Plains, tons of late-night conversation, and a chance for The Cimmerian to take home a World Fantasy Award. I wish I could live-blog direct from the Con, but I’m not quite setup to do that yet. Maybe next year.

Since I’ll be at the Con, don’t be surprised if e-mails and orders go unanswered for the next week or so. The Awards issue is still being put together, but it will be out soon and it’s looking like a real fun read. If you are one of the people still waiting for your article to get through the editing gauntlet (or for a cheque and contract to make its way into your mailbox) thank you for your patience, I’ll be getting caught up on all of that when I return.

Hopefully after this arduous year is over, I’ll be able to get firmly back on top of things again. Coming out once a month has been a thrilling experience, and I’m sure later I will look back on it fondly, but right now a part of me is praying for this year to finally be over. When I glance back through all of the 2006 issues and review how much great stuff has appeared, I find it rather astounding that all of that was edited and published in just a few short months. Wow.

The Cimmerian Library #3


When I announced the September issue of TC a few weeks ago, I plum forgot to alert you all to another item that appeared at the same time. The third volume of The Cimmerian Library is now available, one that begins a branching out for this series of books, drifting from Robert E. Howard into related subjects.

Arkham House expert John Haefele has given us the first of what will be many chapbooks dealing with the publishing achievement of August Derleth. The tome is titled A Bibliography of Books and Articles Written By August W. Derleth, Concerning Derleth and The Weird Tale and Arkham House, and it forms the most complete bibliographical record ever compiled about Derleth on these subjects. The book contains a wealth of information on Robert E. Howard and dozens of related authors, listing where you can find Derleth discussing each. Also included is an excellent introduction by Haefele detailing the efforts various people have made to compile this information in the past, a story which in itself is a real education for the weird fiction fan.

At $8 the book is a steal, and as the print run on Cimmerian Library editions is only 100 individually-numbered copies, best snap one up before they disappear forever. Haefele promises more booklets related to Derleth and Arkham House, so this will eventually be a part of a series that will form a welcome subset of The Cimmerian Library, filling the gap in weird fiction scholarship left by the decline of Necronomicon Press over the last few years.

So head on over to the Order Page to get this and the other volumes in this series. More are being planned as you read this — stay tuned to this blog for all the details.

September issue is out the door

And man, there’s a lot for Howard fans to savor. Head on over to the Issues for Sale page and click on V3n9 for all the details.

All of you who thrilled at the new discoveries to be found in our August issue will love some of the bombshells revealed this time. Subscriber copies are already on the way, so you won’t have to wait long. Until then, here’s something to whet your appetite:


V3n7 (July 2006) and V3n8 (August 2006) now available

skull_v3n7.jpg  skull_v3n8.jpg
Finally, at long last, I was able to get these out the door. Lots and lots of stuff to savor, including July’s gargantuan Cross Plains trip report by Rick Kelsey — the biggest ever in TC — and August’s symposium of amazing new discoveries regarding the Herbert Jenkins edition of A Gent from Bear Creek. If you simply can’t wait and want to read some excerpts now, head on over to the new Issues for Sale page and click on the July and August issues.

September is already shaping up to be as groundbreaking as August, with more stupefying new Howard discoveries that will rock your world. And the Awards issue is coming together, filled with interviews, voting details, and pictures. It seems every time I think the centennial has delivered all it could, something even more thrilling reveals itself and makes the year that much more special.

Enjoy the issues. It’s back to the salt mines for me….

Fighting through the dog days of summer


“Nature demands compensation,” Robert E. Howard told H. P. Lovecraft in December of 1932, and his sentiment rings just as true now as then. This centennial year has been a blast for me so far, with two Howard-themed trips to Texas, a weird fiction one to San Francisco, and at least two more to make before I’m through. Howard Days seriously rocked, lots of new Howard publications are appearing, this blog has finally turned into a going concern, The Cimmerian website is being revamped, and most importantly the monthly schedule of The Cimmerian has been, against all odds, largely a success.

But even so, nature demands compensation, and my bill came due in July. Throughout June I was feeling the onset of centennial exhaustion, with the telling moment occurring in Cross Plains when I stepped into the gift shop and pulled out the June Cimmerians I had feverishly worked on getting ready in time for the weekend — only to discover that I had put green covers on all of the Limiteds instead of the usual gold! In careless moments I have made such mistakes before, but usually they are caught and corrected forthwith. Never have I slept-walked through the construction of a hundred issues with incorrect covers without ever gleaning my colossal blunder! I had to destroy all of the June Limiteds I brought down to Cross Plains and remake them again when I returned to LA. That should have been a hint that the summer was going to be a rough one, but there was no time for worrying — before I knew it, July was upon me.

In that month, I had the pleasure of hosting TC reader Al Lane while he visited Los Angeles, as well as finally finishing up and releasing a project for REHupa that I had been working on for five years: a complete digital archive of the a.p.a., all 30,000+ pages of its thirty-four-year output, scanned, cleaned, and assembled into hyperlinked PDFs for the membership. I was glad to finally get that done with, but combined with my day job and other assorted duties (not to mention the record-breaking heat that had Los Angeles in a stupor), that left precious little time for anything else. With August closing in, I realized that the July issue wasn’t going to get out by the end of the month.

So, rather than skip an issue and break the monthly cycle, I decided to finish the July ish as soon as I could, hold onto it while doing the August ish, then send them both out together. This would save on shipping for subscribers — and more importantly, it would save the extra few days it would have taken to pack and ship out two separate batches of parcels. With a monthly schedule I find myself increasingly forced to save minutes wherever I can; it’s a primal fight that offers no mercy.

Therefore, for all the readers wondering what the hell happened to their summer Cimmerian reading, know that the usual hermetically sealed packages are just about ready to rocket towards your respective abodes. Sometime next week I expect you to have two mighty issues of The Cimmerian in your grubby little hands, and we’ll be well positioned to make it through the rest of the year and complete the 2006 centennial series. I always thought it would be a miracle if I didn’t have to skip a few issues along the way, but although I’m still wary of burnout settling in, I do believe there is a light at the end of this particular tunnel.

Stay tuned to this blog for breakdowns and excerpts from the July and August issues, which are both jam-packed with things you are bound to find interesting. And thanks for being so patient and supportive throughout the summer.


TC makes the cut


The nominees for the 2006 World Fantasy Awards were announced recently, and The Cimmerian made the ballot, the only Howard-related item to do so. Thanks to all of you who tossed a vote TC‘s way. Very nice to see a magazine dedicated specifically and solely to Robert E. Howard in contention for one of the most prestigious awards in the fantasy field.

With Howard as theme of the Austin convention, it feels as if TC is acting as the hometown underdog of sorts — our fandom’s lone representative among all of the other nominees. It’s all part of the larger fight to get Howard some critical and professional respect in areas where he’s been ignored in the past. Especially in this, his centennial year. Wish us luck heading into November.

Review of Chris Gruber’s Them’s Fightin’ Words


James Reasoner continues to post about his pulp and Howard manias and his writing career at his blog Rough Edges, which just hit its two-year anniversary and its six-hundredth post. Today he weighs in with a review of the latest Cimmerian Library publication, Them’s Fightin’ Words: REH on Boxing by Chris Gruber. Give his review a read, and then pick up a copy of the booklet if you haven’t already.