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Robert E. Howard

Robert E. Howard(1906-1936)
Robert E. Howard was a writer for the pulp magazine Weird Tales during the American depression. Besides fantasy and horror, he wrote historical, westerns, and crime novels. He created the character of Conan the Cimmerian (Conan the Barbarian) and the genre of sword & sorcery. He committed suicide at age 30. Here is the official Robert E. Howard website.

Almuric: Overwhelming storytelling gusto

Almuric by Robert E. Howard

It is truly remarkable how much work pulp author Robert E. Howard managed to accomplish during his brief 30 years of life. Indeed, a look at his bibliography, on a certain Wiki site, should surely flabbergast any reader who knows the Texan writer only as the creator of Conan the Cimmerian, King Kull, Bran Mak Morn, Solomon Kane and, essentially, the entire genre known as Sword & Sorcery. Hundreds upon hundreds of titles can be found there, in such variegated categories as boxing, Westerns, Oriental exoticism, sword & sorcery (natch), horror, fantasy, crime, historical tales, detective stories, adventure … even comedy, “spicy stories,” essays and poetry. But of all these myriad story types, one salient fact emerges: Most of them are just that — short stories. Howard, despite his superhuman output, wrote very few (f... Read More

King Kull: The Sword & Sorcery genre begins here

King Kull by Robert E. Howard & Lin Carter

There’s a reason why I never lend out books anymore, even to my closest friends; namely, the fact that when I used to loan them out, I never got them back in the same good condition, or, even worse, never got them back at all. Cases in point: three paperbacks from one of my old favorite writers, Texas-born Robert E. Howard. Back in the mid-‘60s, Lancer Books released all of Howard’s Conan the Barbarian stories in a now-classic series of 12 paperbacks, as well as a beautiful paperback of another legendary Howard character, King Kull. I owned all 13 of those wonderful volumes, and made the big mistake of lending the first two Conan books out (both featuring gorgeous cover artwork by Frank Frazetta), as well as the Kull (featuring ... Read More

Three-Bladed Doom: Howard’s only El Borak novel

Three-Bladed Doom by Robert E. Howard

Even those readers who have previously thrilled to the exploits of such Robert E. Howard characters as Conan the Barbarian, King Kull of Valusia, the Puritan fighter of evil Solomon Kane, the Pictish king Bran Mak Morn, the piratical Cormac Mac Art, and boxer Steve Costigan might still be unfamiliar with the author’s El Borak. And, I suppose, there may be good reason for that. Howard only managed to sell five stories featuring the character before his suicide death, at age 30 in 1936, although 11 more would surface in later years. Of those 16 tales, only one was of a full novel length: Three-Bladed Doom. Like many other fans, this decades-long Howard buff had never run across this character before, and so, when I spotted the 1979 Ace edition of the Three-Bladed Doom Read More

The Bloody Crown of Conan: Nobody can touch R.E.H

The Bloody Crown of Conan by Robert E. Howard

Nobody can touch Robert E. Howard when he was at the top-of-his-game. The three stories in The Bloody Crown of Conan are not only some of his best, they are some of his best Conan stories and Conan was his greatest creation. Howard was the father of Sword & Sorcery and next only to J.R.R. Tolkien in being the largest influence of fantasy today. His stories have stark imagery that’s nothing short of amazing. The action moves at break-neck speed, and despite that they were written as pure adventure “pulps,” there’s harsh reality that lying just beneath the surface.

In "The People of the Black Circle", a princess and her kingdom are the target of an elite group of evil sorcerers, the Black Circle. Onl... Read More

The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane: Check yourself for wounds

The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane by Robert E. Howard

Dressed in black with the tall slouch-hat typical of Puritan fashion, and armed with sword, flint-locks, and, later, an ancient carved staff, Solomon Kane stalks the 16th century world from the remote reaches of Europe to the bloody decks of the high seas, and into the deepest, darkest African jungles. Whether it be a witch-cursed monstrosity, hell-spawned vampire, mutant throwback, or just a wicked wretch of humankind, Solomon Kane will fight with equal determination and enthusiasm to see good triumph.

Robert E. Howard’s tales are so alive, you almost have to check yourself for wounds. Between the lines broods an ancient feeling of melancholy that lends such realism to the writing. And the beautiful, sweeping illustrations in this book by the award-winning artist Gary Gianni bring that classical storytelling feel to the forefront.

As with all o... Read More

Kull, Exile of Atlantis: Foundational reading for the sword & sorcery fan

Kull: Exile of Atlantis by Robert E. Howard

* If you're not — or not looking to become — a reader of sword-and-sorcery or fantasy tales, then you can probably skip the rest of this review and move on... unless you might acquire a taste for stories of a philosophical barbarian-king, whose axe or sword slays on-comers as easily as you might mosquitoes... *

OK, now that they're gone: this intriguing compilation probably merits 3-1/2 stars, but I'll give one of the genre's cornerstones the benefit of the doubt. Be warned, though, REH's writing can be quite different from that of modern writers: sometimes brooding, sometimes utterly pulp-ish in its almost garish vividness. Nonetheless, it's that very quality that makes it so fascinating and, at times, as strong and elegant as the axe of the protagonist.

Speaking of whom, he is like Rodin's "Thinker" with larger muscles and longer hair. An Atlantian usurper of the thr... Read More

The Haunter of the Ring & Other Tales: Excellent compendium of a legendary career

The Haunter of the Ring & Other Tales by Robert E. Howard

A very long time ago, when I was still in high school, Texas-born Robert E. Howard was one of my favorite authors, and this reader could not get enough of him, whether it was via such legendary characters as Conan the Cimmerian, King Kull, Solomon Kane or Bran Mak Morn.

Flash forward more years than I’d care to admit, and one day I realized that I hadn’t read a book of Howard’s in all that intervening time. Sure, I’d run across the occasional story of his now and then; when your tastes run to vintage pulp fiction, as do mine, and you read a lot of old anthologies and Best of Weird Tales collections, the man is practically unavoidable. But an entire book devoted to Howard … it had been eons, for me.

Thus, the collection entitled The Haunter of the Ring ... Read More

Conan the Barbarian: The Stories that Inspired the Movie

Conan the Barbarian: The Stories that Inspired the Movie
by Robert E. Howard

Conan the Barbarian is a Conan story collection recently published by Del Rey/Ballantine as a tie-in to the 2011 Conan movie. It has the same title as a story collection published in 1955, a movie novelization by L. Sprague de Camp in 1982, and a movie novelization by Michael A. Stackpole published in 2011 concurrently with the movie.To add to the confusion, Conan the Barbarian is also the title of the Marvel comicof the 1970’s. All of which is to say, if looking for this mass market paperback, make sure you’re getting the right book.

This particular collection contains six of the better original CONAN stories written by Robert E. Howard and published ... Read More

Thriller: One of the scariest TV shows of all time


Viewers who tuned into the new Thriller program on NBC, on the night of September 13, 1960, a Tuesday, could have had little idea that the mildly suspenseful program that they saw that evening — one that concerned a male ad exec being stalked by a female admirer — would soon morph into the show that author Stephen King would later call "the best horror series ever put on TV." The first eight episodes of Thriller came off as hour-long homages to Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which it immediately followed in the 9:00 slot; solid enough episodes of murder, intrigue and suspense, to be sure, with a touch of film noir at their heart. In the face of scathing reviews and poor viewership, however, the program brought in a new production team and drastically rebooted its image, gearing itself now more toward supernatural horror and crime melodramas; indeed, episode... Read More

Weird Tales: 32 Unearthed Terrors

Weird Tales: 32 Unearthed Terrors edited by Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg & Martin Greenberg

Though hardly a runaway success in its day, and a publication that faced financial hardships for much of its existence, the pulp magazine known as Weird Tales is today remembered by fans and collectors alike as one of the most influential and prestigious. Anthologies without number have used stories from its pages, and the roster of authors who got their start therein reads like a "Who's Who" of 20th century horror and fantasy literature. During its 32-year run, from 1923-1954, and in its 279 issues, Weird Tales catered to a select readership that could not help but be impressed by early efforts from the likes of Robert E. Howard, Read More

Weird Tales: The Magazine That Never Dies

Weird Tales: The Magazine that Never Dies edited by Marvin Kaye

Marvin Kaye's Weird Tales: The Magazine That Never Dies anthology from 1988 takes a slightly different tack than its earlier sister volume, Weird Tales: 32 Unearthed Terrors. Whereas the editors of that earlier collection chose to select one story from each year of the magazine's celebrated 32-year run (1923-1954), Kaye has decided here to not just limit himself to the periodical's classic era of 279 issues, but to also include tales from each of the four latter-day incarnations of "The Unique Magazine" (from 1973-87). The result is 45 pieces of generally superb speculative fantasy and horror, including six "Weird Tales Reprints" by such luminaries as Dickens, Poe, Flaubert and Stoker, as well as Otis Adelbert Kline's "Why Weird Tales?," an article that clearly delineated the magazine's goals and intentions in its first anniversary issue, the one dated May/June/July... Read More

Rivals of Weird Tales: Nary a clinker in the bunch!

Rivals of Weird Tales edited by Robert Weinberg, Stefan R. Dziemianowicz & Martin H. Greenberg

From 1923 – ’54, over the course of 279 issues, the pulp publication known as Weird Tales helped to popularize macabre fantasy and outré horror fiction, ultimately becoming one of the most influential and anthologized magazines of the century, and introducing readers to a “Who’s Who” of American authors. I had previously read and reviewed no fewer than six large collections of tales culled from the pages of “the Unique Magazine,” and had loved them all. But Weird Tales, of course, was far from being the only pulp periodical on the newsstands back when, as amply demonstrated in the appropriately titled, 500-page anthology Rivals of Weird Tales. In this wonderfully entertaining, generous collection, editors Robert Weinberg, Stefan R. Dziemianowicz and Martin H. Greenberg (who had put... Read More

Weird Tales: Seven Decades of Terror: Another wonderful collection from “The Unique Magazine”

Weird Tales: Seven Decades of Terror edited by John Betancourt & Robert Weinberg

This is the seventh anthology that I have reviewed that has been drawn from the pages of Weird Tales, one of the most famous pulp magazines in publishing history. Each of the previous collections had employed its own modus operandi in presenting its gathered stories. Weird Tales (1964) and Worlds of Weird (1965) had been slim paperbacks featuring previously uncollected stories. The Best of Weird Tales: 1923 (1997) had spotlighted tales solely from WT’s very first year. Weird Tales: A Selection In Facsimile (1990) was a generous hardcover offering photocopied pages from the original magazine. Weird Tales: 32 Unearthed Terror... Read More

Fantasy Super Pack #1: Something for everyone

Fantastic Stories Presents: Fantasy Super Pack #1 edited by Warren Lapine

Fantasy Super Pack #1 , which is available for 99c in Kindle format, is an enormous collection of 34 stories presumably showcasing the taste of the editor of Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, an online magazine. As I'm interested in submitting to the magazine, I picked it up, and thoroughly enjoyed most of the stories, none of which I remembered reading before though I'd heard of several of them.

I like stories that have a narrative arc, that build tension and then resolve it at the end, more than the currently-fashionable type of story that just stops at a thematic moment (or, I often suspect, when the author runs out of ideas). Based on this collection, Lapine also likes the narrative-arc kind of story. Some of the stories had fairly predi... Read More

Conan the Barbarian: The film

Conan the Barbarian (the film)

The latest Hollywood adaption of Robert E. Howard’s legendary hero seems to be taking an especially tough beating. Speaking as a life-long CONAN and Robert E. Howard fan, by Crom, I don’t hate. I saw the film on a Sunday afternoon – and yes, I got suckered into paying for 3-D. I’ll be the first to admit my disappointment, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the rants imply. In fact, there is much in Conan the Barbarian that can be commended.

I was skeptical, especially after first seeing some of the Fabio-ish pictures of Mr. Momoa as Conan, but when I saw the trailers that showed a few elements straight from Two-gun Bob Read More

Other books by Robert E. Howard

Robert E Howard The Dark Man Omnibus: The Dark Man, The Dead Remember
The Dark Man — Robert E Howard The Dark Man Omnibus: The Dark Man, The Dead Remember(1978-1979)
The Dark Man and The Dead Remember are omnibus editions of the Dark Man stories. Publisher: The Dead Remember; People of the Dark; Children of the Night; The Garden of Fear; The Thing on the Roof; The Hyena; Dig Me No Grave; The Dream Snake; Old Garfield’s Heart; The Voice of El-Lil; The Gods of Bal Sagoth; The Man on the Ground; In the Forest of Villefere; The Dark Man.


Cormac Mac Art Robert E Howard Tigers of the SeaCormac Mac Art: Tigers of the Sea — (1975) Publisher: Rampaging through the lands of King Arthur, Cormac Mac Art, a Irish descendant of Kull and Conan, is accompanied by Wulfhere the Skull-Splitter in a fight against the men, monarchs, and monsters of a dark age.

Robert E Howard Bran Mak Morn The Last KingBran Mak Morn: The Last King — (2005) Publisher: From Robert E. Howard’s fertile imagination sprang some of fiction’s greatest heroes, including Conan the Cimmerian, King Kull, and Solomon Kane. But of all Howard’s characters, none embodied his creator’s brooding temperament more than Bran Mak Morn, the last king of a doomed race. In ages past, the Picts ruled all of Europe. But the descendants of those proud conquerors have sunk into barbarism… all save one, Bran Mak Morn, whose bloodline remains unbroken. Threatened by the Celts and the Romans, the Pictish tribes rally under his banner to fight for their very survival, while Bran fights to restore the glory of his race. Lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist Gary Gianni, this collection gathers together all of Howard’s published stories and poems featuring Bran Mak Morn–including the eerie masterpiece “Worms of the Earth” and “Kings of the Night,” in which sorcery summons Kull the conqueror from out of the depths of time to stand with Bran against the Roman invaders. Also included are previously unpublished stories and fragments, reproductions of manuscripts bearing Howard’s handwritten revisions, and much, much more. Special Bonus: a newly discovered adventure by Howard, presented here for the very first time.

The Weird Works of Robert E. Howard — (2004-2007) Publisher: Shadow Kingdoms is the first volume of the Weird Works of Robert E. Howard, presenting all of Howard’s work for the pulp magazine Weird Tales meticulously restored to its original magazine texts. This volume begins with “Spear and Fang,” Howard’s first professional fiction sale, and concludes with “Red Thunder,” a gripping sword & sorcery tale. Series characters present in this volume include King Kull and Solomon Kane. Edited by Paul Herman. Introduction by Mark Finn. Cover by Stephen Fabian.

The Weird Works of Robert E. Howard 1. Shadow Kingdoms 2. Moon of Skulls 3. People of the Dark 4. Wings In The Night 5. Valley of the Worm 6. The Garden of Fear 7. Beyond the Black River 9. Black Hounds of DeathThe Weird Works of Robert E. Howard 1. Shadow Kingdoms 2. Moon of Skulls 3. People of the Dark 4. Wings In The Night 5. Valley of the Worm 6. The Garden of Fear 7. Beyond the Black River 9. Black Hounds of DeathThe Weird Works of Robert E. Howard 1. Shadow Kingdoms 2. Moon of Skulls 3. People of the Dark 4. Wings In The Night 5. Valley of the Worm 6. The Garden of Fear 7. Beyond the Black River 9. Black Hounds of DeathThe Weird Works of Robert E. Howard 1. Shadow Kingdoms 2. Moon of Skulls 3. People of the Dark 4. Wings In The Night 5. Valley of the Worm 6. The Garden of Fear 7. Beyond the Black River 9. Black Hounds of DeathThe Weird Works of Robert E. Howard 1. Shadow Kingdoms 2. Moon of Skulls 3. People of the Dark 4. Wings In The Night 5. Valley of the Worm 6. The Garden of Fear 7. Beyond the Black River 9. Black Hounds of DeathThe Weird Works of Robert E. Howard 1. Shadow Kingdoms 2. Moon of Skulls 3. People of the Dark 4. Wings In The Night 5. Valley of the Worm 6. The Garden of Fear 7. Beyond the Black River 9. Black Hounds of DeathThe Weird Works of Robert E. Howard 1. Shadow Kingdoms 2. Moon of Skulls 3. People of the Dark 4. Wings In The Night 5. Valley of the Worm 6. The Garden of Fear 7. Beyond the Black River 9. Black Hounds of DeathThe Weird Works of Robert E. Howard 1. Shadow Kingdoms 2. Moon of Skulls 3. People of the Dark 4. Wings In The Night 5. Valley of the Worm 6. The Garden of Fear 7. Beyond the Black River 9. Black Hounds of Deathfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

The Best of Robert E. Howard 1. Crimson Shadows, 2. Grim LandsThe Best of Robert E. Howard — (2007) The Best of Robert E. Howard 1. Crimson Shadows, 2. Grim LandsPublisher: Robert E. Howard is one of the most famous and influential pulp authors of the twentieth century. Though largely known as the man who invented the sword-and-sorcery genre — and for his iconic hero Conan the Cimmerian — Howard also wrote horror tales, desert adventures, detective yarns, epic poetry, and more. This spectacular volume, gorgeously illustrated by Jim and Ruth Keegan, includes some of his best and most popular works. Inside, readers will discover (or rediscover) such gems as “The Shadow Kingdom,” featuring Kull of Atlantis and considered by many to be the first sword-and-sorcery story; “The Fightin’est Pair,” part of one of Howard’s most successful series, chronicling the travails of Steve Costigan, a merchant seaman with fists of steel and a head of wood; “The Grey God Passes,” a haunting tale about the passing of an age, told against the backdrop of Irish history and legend; “Worms of the Earth,” a brooding narrative featuring Bran Mak Morn, about which H. P. Lovecraft said, “Few readers will ever forget the hideous and compelling power of [this] macabre masterpiece”; a historical poem relating a momentous battle between Cimbri and the legions of Rome; and “Sharp’s Gun Serenade,” one of the last and funniest of the Breckinridge Elkins tales. These thrilling, eerie, compelling, swashbuckling stories and poems have been restored to their original form, presented just as the author intended. There is little doubt that after more than seven decades the voice of Robert E. Howard continues to resonate with readers around the world.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard — (2010) Publisher: Among the great pulp writers whose work continues to enthrall new generations of readers — Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.P. Lovecraft, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler — few were as versatile as Robert E. Howard. Best known as the creator of Conan, Howard also wrote not only of other memorable fantasy characters, such as Puritan swordsman Solomon Kane and Pictish king Bran Mak Morn, but hundreds of stories of boxing, detection, westerns, horror, “weird menace,” desert adventure, lost race, historicals, “spicies”, even “true confessions.” Robert E. Howard is best known as the father of “sword and sorcery” fiction, an exciting blend of swashbuckling action and supernatural horror epitomized by his characters King Kull, barbarian usurper of the throne of fabled Valusia, and Conan, who wanders the Hyborian Age “to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.” But the young Texas author was far more gifted and versatile than many readers know: in a career that lasted only twelve years before his untimely death, he wrote some 300 stories and 800 poems, covering anastonishing variety of subject matter — fantasy, boxing, westerns, horror, adventure, historical, detective, spicy, even confessions — running the gamut from dark fantasy to broad humor, from brooding horror to gentle love story.