Happy Birthday, Robert E. Howard

Robert E. HowardI haven’t yet dedicated a proper blog post to celebrate the birthday of one of my literary heroes, Robert E. Howard. I’m not sure I can do a better job than what other fans have done and because I’m late, it somehow feels disrespectful to now all of a sudden attempt something grand.

I can, however, quickly share why Howard stayed with me. Why his stories carried me through difficult and often embarrassing teenage years. When I read Howard’s stories I traveled to an ancient age where both light and darkness wrestled each other in a uniquely visible way. Where demons and monsters pitted the landscape and warriors with a code and broadsword could carve out a destiny in fortune and riches and become legend, and growing up that attracted me–and still does–like an ant to sugar. I wanted to be like Conan and I wanted to write like Howard. During dark days these twin fantasies carried me. I can probably write at length about my fascination with heroic fantasy and specifically Howard’s Conan. I won’t now. Let’s reserve that for another day.

So, out of respect to Howard and because Keith writes a better tribute than I do and does so without fail year after year, I’m reblogging his post over on Adventures Fantastic.

It’s Howard’s eleventy-first birthday.  I’ve been writing these tribute posts for a few years now, and I’m at the point I’m about to start repeating myself if I haven’t already.

So for those of you who may have stumbled in here from someplace else and aren’t quite sure what’s going on, Robert E. Howard was born on January 22, 1906.  He was  one of the greatest and most influential writers of fantasy and horror of the 20th Century, although those genres constituted only a small portion of his writings.

Rather than regurgitate biographical details or wax eloquent about his greatness, I’m going to pay tribute by looking at one of his works.  This is a practice I’ll be engaging in for other writers about whom I regularly read and blog.

Today I want to discuss “Wings in the Night”.  There will be spoilers.  It’s one of the Solomon Kane stories.  I haven’t heard much about Kane in the last few years.  In fact, there are still some Kane stories I’ve not read, and the ones I have read, I’ve only read once.  There just doesn’t seem to be as much interest in Solomon Kane as there currently is in Conan or Bran Mak Morn.  I’m not sure why that it.  Or even if it really is.  Maybe I’ve just been missing some discussions.

You can read the rest of his post here.

A Belated Happy Birthday, Robert E. Howard!

Woelf

 

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3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Robert E. Howard

  1. Thanks for the kind words. And better late than never. Don’t ever let that stop you. My tribute to A. Merritt was late; it still needed to be written.

  2. Well, Woelf, I’m ever later than you are…

    Howard is one of my favourite authors too. I think he’s widely underratted, and not because of his actual work, but because people normally judge him by the work of his imitators. That’s particularly unfair, becuase so many authors who imitated him weren’t anywhere as skillful as he was.

    I do think Conan’s stories are his most mature work (the first time I read them I was shocked by how good they are, because… you know… I too had judged him by his imitators’ stories). I love Bran Mak Morn and Turlogh O’Brien stories, but my favourites have always been Solomon Kane’s, I’m not even sure why, since I do think they sounds more jouvanile then the others. But… I don’t know, there is a passion that I don’t find in the other stories.

    Thanks for sharing this. I loved Keith’s post 🙂

    1. He is one of my favourite authors. I grew up reading his stories and consider them part of the fabric of my education. I like his other characters, too, but Conan is my favorite. But then, I have a soft spot for heroic fiction and sword-and-sandal/sword-and-sorcery. Howard died very young and yet his writing impacted many and continues to do so today.

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