Greg Manchess, who came across so personably as both a panelist and an informal conversationalist during the recent World Fantasy Convention in Austin, will do his part and then some to ensure the success of the 2007 Howard Days as Guest of Honor. And yet his selection, through no fault of his, makes me want to recite Ossianic verses or intravenously inject peat whiskey or do something else expressive of Gaelic melancholia. Can’t help recalling the testimonials in Exorcisms and Ecstasies and reflecting what a Guest of Honor to End All Guests of Honor Karl Edward Wagner would have made, especially in advance of his Long Goodbye phase. Gary Romeo might have felt duty-bound to boycott the festivities and establish a rival or schismatic Howard Days, the equivalent of an Avignon papacy, outside a certain former residence in Plano, but most celebrants would have come away with anecdotes to be prized like amulets.
KEW is in no position to serve as Guest of Honor, unless we figure out how to work the Orastes/Valerius/Tarascus/Amalric trick. But with all due respect for the carnosaur-sized footprints the two current frontrunners have left all over Howard studies, he does belong on the Black Circle ballot as much as anyone save Novalyne Price Ellis herself (Leo asked for suggestions, and I can’t believe I spaced; guess I’m an imperfect Wagnerite). I went on and on in the Lion’s Den this past year about Wagner’s credentials as an REH editor and exponent, and will refrain from flogging that dead destrier here. Perhaps the thing to do is to add his name next year; for de Camp to beat KEW into the Black Circle would be a justice-miscarriage of Shub-Niggurathian proportions.
Sorry, Karl. Won’t happen again.
LEO ADDS: I put him on the list. No big deal, anyone who has voted and wants to change their vote before March 1 is welcome to. There’s probably a lot of others we could add to that list, but I figure we might as well wait until someone raises a stink about them.