Norris Chambers and the Howard House on Youtube

Here’s a communiqué from REH fan and photographer, Ben Friberg:

Howdy! Ben, warrior photog here. Just wanted to let you know I posted my tour of the Howard house with Norris Chambers on my youtube channel. Leo and I are talking with him about what he remembers of Bob. Mixed in some pictures of the Howards and cutaways of the room and other parts of the house. It’s not as zippy and quick moving as my Cimmeria post, but it’s informative and neat to listen to the last guy who knew Howard talk about the nice, gentle man he was. It will be a part of my overall movie/doc, but I decided I wanted to post it in this form, in order to share with my fellow Howard fans. It would be great to show the room and inside of the house to folks who live all over the world, and who may never get a chance to come out to Cross Plains.

Friberg shot the video in 2007 as part of a bigger REH documentary that he is working on. He and Leo Grin accompanied Norris Chambers in a tour of the Howard House and listened as Chambers reminisced about Robert E. Howard. To my mind, Friberg’s video is one of the best pieces of its type I’ve seen. To hear Mr. Chambers relate his memories of the Howards is just enthralling. Ben’s video can be found here.

A link to Friberg’s “Cimmeria post” can be found here.

More Manly Wade Wellman News Around the Web

As [redacted] noted, Planet Stories will be publishing a collection of Manly Wade Wellman’s “Hok the Mighty” tales in November. However, that isn’t all the MWW news afoot.

In March, Planet Stories is releasing Who Fears the Devil? from Wellman. The protagonist of the book is John the Balladeer, also known as “Silver John.” The Planet Stories edition will collect all the short stories that Wellman wrote about his Appalachian hero and will use the 1963 Arkham House printing as its basis. Thus, the vignettes that MWW wrote especially for that edition to connect all the tales will be included and in their proper place. In addition, two other yarns will be included: namely, “Frogfather” and “Sin’s Doorway.” These tales are thought to be “prequels” to the Silver John saga and have never been collected with the other short stories until now.

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A Gray Misty Realm of Clouds and Icy Winds


Another snowstorm is on the way, and I’m starting to feel like I’m living in Cimmeria.  The last two weeks or so, East Tennessee has been alternating between cold rainy days, cold snowy days, and cold cloudy days, with the sun hardly every to be seen.  The cold rainy days predominate, and those are my least favorite. It reminds me of what Howard, and Lamb before him, wrote about the dark wooded hills of Cimmeria.  The gloomy weather breeds gloomy inhabitants, and I have to wonder if a sort of idea of Seasonal Affective Disorder existed in Howard’s mind long before such a term was ever coined. Texas winters can be harsh, despite its southern latitudes. Thus the dismal religion built around the god Crom, famously described in “Queen of the Black Coast”:

“Their chief is Crom. He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man’s soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?” 
“But what of the worlds beyond the river of death?” she persisted.
“There is no hope here or hereafter in the cult of my people,” answered Conan. “In this world men struggle and suffer vainly, finding pleasure only in the bright madness of battle; dying, their souls enter a gray misty realm of clouds and icy winds, to wander cheerlessly throughout eternity.”

Thus also the comments in “Phoenix on the Sword” about Conan being unlike his fellow Cimmerians in that he can laugh. I also remember a comment in a letter to Lovecraft where Howard suggests the winter weather of New England might have been partly to blame for the dour fanaticism of the Pilgrim colonies. Oh well; at least East Tennessee winters are comparatively short.

John J. Miller Gives Grognardia Its Due

Over at National Review Online, friend of The Cimmerian, John J. Miller, just posted an entry giving props to Grognardia. As some TC readers may already know, James Maliszewski’s web log is perhaps the finest of its kind devoted to role-playing games. Just a few weeks ago, Grognardia received plaudits from The L.A. Times.  Even if you’re not of the role-playing bent, it is still worthwhile checking in on Grognardia from time to time. Maliszewski is a keen student and critic of the the pulp-style adventure we all love and his book reviews are some of the best on the ‘Net, in my opinion.

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.

Blood and Sand

Any of you been watching Starz’s series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand?

It’s kind of rekindled my interest in the man, and I’m reading Howard Fast’s novel and wondering what I did with my copy of the 1960 Kirk Douglas movie based on that book.

As some of you know, Howard was familiar with the story of Spartacus. In his poem, “A Son of Spartacus” he opens with a line from Reverend Elijah Kellogg’s “Spartacus to the Gladiators” speech. In Almuric you can also hear the echoes of this speech.

As someone who grew up in the age of the Comics Code, when censors suppressed Captain Kirk every time he tried to open-mouth kiss an alien girl, it’s kind of startling how much nudity, sex, violence, gore and profanity they cram into each episode. The storyline is interesting, though they’ve totally recreated Spartacus’s origin from previous versions. Although historians differ, it seems their version is more accurate than Fast’s, who has him born into slavery.

Owner of the gladiator school Batiatus is played by John Hannah, from the Mummy movies, and former warrior princess Lucy Loveless plays his scheming sexy wife. Those who want to see Xena naked are prettty much in luck. The other members of the cast are unknown to me, except for Peter Mensah, who was in 300 and Hidalgo. He plays Batiataus’ trainer.
But the acting is good.

Speaking of 300, it seems every fight is inspired by the 300 style; slow/stop/fast followed by a burst of blood, even if the blow struck would not really have produced much blood. It’s like they think 300 is the best movie ever. But I think it’s an enjoyable series so far, though I feel like a decadent Roman while watching it.

“Jane Brown’s Body” and “Undertow”

I just read the newest entry from Ryan Harvey, one of the ace bloggers over at Black Gate. It concerns Cornell Woolrich’s 1938 novella, “Jane Brown’s Body.” From the sound of it, it’s a fine little science-fictional horror tale. The plot can be briefly summarized: a scientist revives the newly-dead body of a beautiful young woman. Later, a young gangster abducts the woman from the scientist who he believes has “enslaved” her. Action and horror ensue.

Now, as someone who has read his share of Karl Edward Wagner’s works, but very little of Woolrich’s, I have to say that the plot outlined by Ryan Harvey seems to possess some likeness to that of KEW’s “Undertow.” That tale is a short story in the “Kane” series written by Wagner in 1977, about forty years after “Jane Brown’s Body.” For those who fear spoilers, my advice would be to stop reading about now.

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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.

Milton Davis: Meji, Changa and Sadatina

A couple of months back, I wrote a blog entry regarding Sword-and-Sorcery author, Milton Davis, and his current and forthcoming projects. I thought that TC readers might like an update.

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