Second Time’s A Charm

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Locus Online just announced the nominees for the 2007 World Fantasy Awards, and The Cimmerian has officially made the cut for the second year in a row. Assuming that the 2007 judges possess similar sensibilities to last year’s august crew, it’s clear that this nomination came about for one reason only: grass roots support from a silent horde of individual Howard fans lurking out there in the dark corners of the field.

You guys.

I’m grateful to every reader who took the time to send in a vote for TC. Not only that, but you guys also helped a few other Howard-related projects get on the ballot:


[redacted]’s biography, Blood & Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard, was nominated for a “Special Award, Professional.” This comes on the heels of the nomination he received for a Locus Award, as well as the winning of a Centennial Cimmerian Award for the book. In addition, the tome published to coincide with Howard being the theme of the 2006 World Fantasy Convention, Cross Plains Universe: Texans Celebrate Robert E. Howard (edited by Scott Cupp and Joe Lansdale), is nominated in the Anthology category. That gives us three categories to get shut out in this year. Good jobs all around.

A World Fantasy nomination carries a magical aura with it that tends to sparkle and glimmer around a project for a lifetime and beyond. Whispers. Carcosa. Ash-Tree. Night Shade. Nyctalops. These are names that send us scurrying for our checkbooks each time a new Coming Attractions is posted, and that lure us into logging countless hours of primo fantasy reading decade after decade. Granted, TC will probably never win. Howard continues to rise in the estimation of knowledgeable fantasy enthusiasts, and someday he may become the same kind of World Fantasy darling that Lovecraft and his modern-day ilk are. But by the time the new generation of fans comes of age and infiltrates the field deep enough to make that happen, The Cimmerian will likely be long gone.

Nevertheless, such nominations help legitimize this strange, often lonely passion we share for the work of a long-dead Texan fantasist. Just like articles in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, they serve as useful benchmarks to mark the road toward a new level of maturity in Howard studies. Small, fleeting totems — and yet each provides a little boost to his critical reputation. Over time, they add up.

I’m proud to have such loyal and thoughtful readers, and I hope to keep on delivering REH criticism and scholarship to you for as long as I am able. Thanks, guys.

MARK ADDS: I too would like to thank everyone who wrote in Blood & Thunder and I’d particularly like to thank those of you on the various lists who rallied the troops to make that happen. I’m flattered and touched that the book made it this far. Sarcasm above aside, it IS an honor to be nominated; it makes you more visible within the professional community and it ensures that other like-minded people are aware of your efforts. So, thank you folks, and here’s hoping that the awards banquet will be fruitful for all!