At the 2006 World Fantasy Con, I sat on a REH panel with Glenn Lord and Steven Gould, who is the author of the original novel Jumper on which the movie is based. The guy who was supposed to host the panel never showed up, and Steven was called in at the last minute as a substitute moderator. In the end this was fortuitous, for although he confessed to knowing next to nothing about Robert E. Howard, Steven had taken the logical step of reading Howard’s Wikipedia entry before heading up on stage, which allowed him to ask decent questions and otherwise do a good job. He also demonstrated a general sympathy and interest towards the subject that was well received by the audience (in contrast, several other popular authors embarrassed themselves on Howard panels by their boorish statements).
If you’re familiar with the World Fantasy Convention, you know how rare considerate panel behavior can sometimes be. In the worst cases you’re apt to meet panelists who proudly know nothing about the subject they’ve been assigned to discuss, and who then proceed to drown the audience in ignorance and self-appreciation. I was profoundly grateful that I had lucked into such a stellar moderator that day, and it’s nice to see the karmic circle now completing with the recent success of the movie version of his book. If you read Steven’s blog, you can tell how much of a wild head-trip his Hollyweird experience has been, and doubtless that initial break will further his life and career in ways he had never dreamed of. Like he says in one post of his blog, it was like winning the lottery. Good for him.