A while ago I mentioned that my good friend Keith West wrote a guest post over at Black Gate as part of the “Hither Came Conan” series that runs every Monday. The series features a different leading Robert E. Howard expert each week, examining one of the original Conan stories, and trying to persuade the reader why the particular story in question is the best Conan story ever told.
I too have been invited to contribute and my essay went live today. While I don’t consider myself a leading expert, I am a longtime fan of Robert E. Howard and his work had a profound effect on me growing up. In today’s essay I look at the ‘most complete, incomplete’ Conan tale from Howards, “Wolves Beyond the Border.”
From the article:
I am to provide proof that “Wolves Beyond the Border” is the greatest Conan story ever told by Robert E. Howard. Except that Conan never appears in the story apart from a mention or two and Howard never completed the story nor was it published in his lifetime. L. Sprague de Camp finished the fragment relying on a one-page outline discovered with the unfinished manuscript that Howard had written in the 1930s. Lancer Books published it in 1967 along with three other stories in Conan the Usurper.
So, as you can see, I find myself in a peculiar situation. A potential dilemma given the awesome essays published so far in this series. The competition for the best Conan story is a fierce one. How, then, do I convince you that this story is the best despite the absence of Conan?
You can read the rest of the essay over on Black Gate. Enjoy!