The Home Stretch

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Back from Austin, where after the World Fantasy Convention I stayed an extra few days and did some exploring through the L. Sprague de Camp papers at the Harry Ransom Center. I only got through a single box of correspondence, but what I saw convinced me that I’ll have to set aside a few weeks sometime to go through far more of it. Lots of interesting things to be gleaned in those files, much of it never revealed before in any venue of which I am aware. Some of the best Howard information can sometimes be found in letters that on the surface have no Howard content at all.

I caught a cold in Austin due to lack of sleep, and between that and fighting to get the October issue shipped the last few days have been busy. And after that there is no rest for the wicked: as soon as October ships it’s time to prepare the November issue with all of the World Fantasy Convention coverage. Lots of interesting things happened down there, enough to fill as many pages as the Howard Days trip report usually does.

Unfortunately TC failed in its quest to take home a trophy at the awards, but the experience of being nominated and performing readings and panels at the convention was a lot of fun. I was surprised at how many otherwise knowledgeable fantasy fans knew next to nothing about Howard, but heartened at how many wanted to learn more. There definitely is a prejudice against Howard among certain factions of the Old Guard of fantasy/sci-fi, a cliquish group who fancies themselves as intellectual and progressive, people far above slumming with pulp authors. But I got the feeling that, in addition to being out of touch, those people are fading from the scene just a bit more with each passing year, and that the younger generation is far more amendable to listing Howard among the giants of fantasy. I left feeling very optimistic about Howard’s long-term prospects among the movers and shakers of the fantasy publishing world.

Only two more issues (plus the Awards and Index) to go, and the centennial volume of The Cimmerian will be complete. The year has been everything I thought it would be, both in terms of work and of fun.