Ben Zoom Strikes Yet Again

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Just when you thought it was safe to dip back into fantasy and literary journals…dumdumdumdumdum…..

This time the joke is on Wormwood, an English journal published by Tartarus Press, one offering “writings about fantasy, supernatural, and decadent literature.” Laudable writers such as Brian Stableford and Doug Anderson regularly grace its pages, so you would think the journal possessed a minimal standard high enough to exclude the Abrasive Aussie. Apparently not.

Ben Szumskyj managed to squeak in with an essay that was previously foisted on REHupa several years back, one now titled “Sally Sells Seashells On The Seash–“…er, I mean “Savage Songs from a Sinful Sea: Robert E. Howard’s Faring Town Trilogy.” Looking back on the REHupa in question, this wasn’t the worst thing Ben ever wrote, but it still featured enough typical abuses of English and grammar to satisfy those who read him for perverse entertainment. So if you collect Ben for that reason snap it up.

I doubt I’ll ever get to see a copy in person, but anyone who scores one be sure to let me know whether the essay still has things like:

It is seen that when Howard was deeply affected by a particular tale, genre, author or theme for an individual month or so, he would convey it into his own words and through his typewriter, create an original piece of fiction (or in some cases, homage).

This tale is a perfect example of how in the face of possible evidence, a crime does not always have had to been committed by the most likely subject. In fact, this story proves that what is considered to be an atrocious crime, can in fact, be saintly compared to an alternative action.

As stated before, the sea is one not to be used unless is has a graver agenda in mind.

Sailors, mariners and pirates may ride her waves and successfully live a life in its domain, but has also consumed many souls, innocent and bloody, for it obeys no laws and resides both in the darkness of night and the light of day.

This poetical quote gives us the clear understanding that, all underwater life both natural and mythical disfavour the mainland’s creatures, as they are the sole dominant king of the world, for in a supernatural sense, he is correct as two third’s of the world is in fact, under the seas.

Perhaps, through studying the geographies and cultures of Howard’s worlds, can those characters we so adore, fit into the puzzle of Howard’s inspirations, sources and influences, so much easier.

This article, of course, will be on the ballot for next year’s Cimmerian Awards.


Ben Zoom Strikes Again