The Cimmerian V5n1 — February 2008


Edited by Leo Grin | Illustrated by Socar Myles
40 pages

This issue was printed in two editions. The deluxe edition, numbered 1–75, uses a black linen cover with foil-stamped amethyst text. The limited edition, numbered 76–225, uses an amethyst cover with solid black text.



Features a tour de force essay on REH’s “newer barbarians,” an article on Howard’s physical conception of barbarians, an enlightening textual analysis of one of Howard’s Conan stories, coverage of January’s REH Birthday Bash in Cross Plains, a poem by Cimmerian favorite Richard Tierney, The Lion’s Den, and more.


Unfair head start or not, the most perceptive of all Howardists was Robert E. Howard himself, never more so than in this admission to H. P. Lovecraft in a letter dated August 9, 1932: “My study of history has been a continual search for newer barbarians, from age to age.” A striking observation, deservedly quoted in the supplementary material of both The Barbaric Triumph and The Bloody Crown of Conan, and one that might tempt some of us to speculate — suppose the continual search had continued? Where would Howard have found those newer barbarians had he persevered into the postwar era, or turned his attention to the ages that will follow ours?

— from “Newer Barbarians” by Steven Tompkins

A student of history like REH no doubt had read of ancient strongmen such as Milo of Crotona (who could lift a full-grown bull), Bibon (who lifted a 315 lb. sandstone above his head) and Peter the Great, the bloody Russian tyrant who wielded a 20 lb. ceremonial bearing sword as a combat weapon and who could roll up a steel plate with his fingers. This would prove to him that his viewpoint about the possibility of a Conan or a Kull in the past performing difficult feats of strength was not beyond the realm of possibility.

When one reads the descriptions REH gives of his thick thewed barbarian heroes can there be any doubt as to what type of physique Howard endowed his heroes with?

— from “How To Build a Better Barbarian” by Big Jim Charles

As I said earlier, the analogy that came to my mind was bricks and mortar — the bricks do the structural work but the mortar holds them together. Not a perfectly apt analogy, I admit. But most of the real work of telling the story, I submit, is done by those words that occur between one and five times. Those are the idea words, and the action words, and the color words. The rest, the real bulk of the total wordcount, is just the glue, or mortar — the matrix that holds it all together.

— from “A Statistical Analysis of REH’s Vocabulary” by Rusty Burke


I don’t understand how Mr. Schweitzer can claim Howard was “making it up as he went along” when it is clearly shown in “Hyborian Genesis” that Howard wrote “The Hyborian Age” essay after he finished the third Conan story. Even the first Conan story has many of the nations already named and in some instances described. Howard’s own introduction to the essay clearly states he wrote it “when I began the Conan stories” not at some later date, as Mr. Schweitzer would have us believe. The remainder of the Conan stories, some fifteen of them if I recall — with the notable exception of the Hour of the Dragon project aimed at a foreign market — remained true to “The Hyborian Age” rather than straying from it.

— Steve Trout, writing in The Lion’s Den