Robert E. Howard - the OTHER Stuff!
Join LibraryThing to post.
As I noted in the gigantic CONAN thread, I thought it might be a good idea to open a separate discussion of some of Howard's lesser known works, too. The westerns, the boxing tales, the horror stories, the tales set in Arabia. I have a fondness for Skull-Face, with its opium-addicted hero, Steve Costigan. Violent and delirious, and featuring a great Oriental villain akin to Fu Manchu (but better!).
I might just delve into some El Borak in the near future.
Pigeon From Hell - Anyone who hasn't read it should. I thought it was very, very creepy.
I have the Del Rey El Borak and other Desert Adventures but I have not dug into it yet.
Pigeons from Hell is one of the all-time great works of short horror fiction. It still works. I dig it out every now and then for a read. Joe Lansdale did a comic book sequel a couple of years back that was interesting, although ultimately not very successful.
Howard was in top form when emulating his idol Harold Lamb. The Sowers of the Thunder is a great sotry and fine collection of this material. Gotta reread this now that I've got some of Lamb's Khlit the Cossack adventures under my belt.
I've gone back to Necronimon Press' "Robert E. Howards' Fight Magazine" a number of times. Is it great literature? Probably not. But, It is a lot of fun. Sailor Steve Costigan (Different character than mentioned above) gets into fistfights at various ports. I've never read it, But, I think The Adventures of Dennis Dorgan is along similar lines.
Hell Yes, Harold Lamb! I have all 4 reprint volumes of his Cossack Stories, and a further 4 reprint volumes of his other pulp Adventure stories. The man could write. Well worth checking out his stories, available from Bison Books/University of Nebraska Press. The set also looks great on the shelf which doesn't hurt :-)
#4 & 5
Thanks for bringing up the Lamb "Cossack" stories - these sound really good! Will sample the first volume soon.
As for Solomon Kane I've only read Skulls in the Stars, The Right Hand of Doom and Red Shadows. I would like to return to him though.
Has anyone seen the film? I have not had a chance to see it as it has not had US distribution yet. I've heard it is not a faithful adaption but that is was pretty good none the less.
I just read The Black Stone. Pretty good mythos story that describes a pretty horrific ritual. On Brian Lumsley's Wikipedia page he has this listed as one of his favorite horror stories.
I am pretty sure the black stone is based on the Muslim relic.
Well thinking on it maybe not but it seemed like too coincidental. What do y'all think? Is that where he got the idea for it?
I went ahead and read The Thing on the Roof as well. Not as effective as The Black Stone but a pretty cool Mythos story anyhow. REH seems to do pretty good at the Mythos stuff.
Interestingly, the ratings page for REH gives The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane as the most reviewed Howard work on LT (although The Coming of Conan is the most rated). The highest rated is the Kull story By This Axe I Rule. As I mentioned on the Conan thread, though, the work combinations for REH are a royal mess, so the aggregate data is likely to have some problems. In particular, the "work" records for short stories (not published separately) are problematic here.
I've not read much - just some pieces in The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard. I agree that "Pigeons from Hell" is the best of the lot and that "The Black Stone" is the best of the mythos stuff.
I also really liked "Worms of the Earth" which stars Bran Mak Morn, another of REH's recurring protagonists.
If you haven't come across it yet I've seen people label "The Hoofed Thing" as a mythos tale. I don't think it's as a good as the Black Stone but it's worth a read. I think it makes a nice contrast to what an HPL character would do in the same situation.
I have (and have read and reviewed here) the old Baen REH collection Cthulhu: The Mythos and Kindred Horrors. It's been more than a decade, but The Black Stone (which I thought was inspired by Stonehenge, but memory is so vague), The Thing on the Roof and (of course) Pigeons From Hell are memorable.
I do remember over-all enjoying Howard's horror stories more than Lovecraft's. I know that is sacrilege, but there it is.
I've also picked up all of the Baen Robert E Howard Library volumes, the Cosmos 'condensed' versions of The Weird Works of Robert E. Howard and have started picking up the Del Rey Fully Illustrated Robert E. Howard Library. I have six of the eleven available books.
Basically, any time an inexpensive paperback REH collection is released, I'll pick it up, even if it duplicates stories I already have.
Your probably right about The Black Stone being inspired by stone circles. It was the name itself that made me think of the relic.
Just thought I'd mention that LT has a "Legacy Author" page dedicated to REH. If you click on "catalog", you'll be taken to his collection.
I finally got around to watching the 1996 film THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD with Vincent D'Onofrio as Robert E. Howard and Rene Zellweger as Novalyne Price. Not bad, despite some overly-maudlin moments at the end. I could tell that it was probably based on Novalyne's book, which was confirmed during the credits. I didn't quite get an idea of the incredible depth of REH's historical knowledge from the film, or his obsession with racial memory, but a least it acknowledged the fact that he wrote other kinds of stories besides Conan. It was fun to hear both Farnsworth Wright and H.P. Lovecraft referenced, and it's one of those rare films about a writer in which the subject actually seems to write!
REH recently came up in a discussion and I was reminded of a FB post I made a couple of months back featuring this:
Check out the website's blog, too. There is a lot there that is of interest to this group!
I remember "Pigeons from Hell" with great fondness - I terrified the pants off myself reading it at the age of around 10 or 11 in my brother's copy of Weird Tales. I had nightmares about it for years. I'd love the chance to read and discuss it here but I suppose it's been done?
I listened to "The Man on the Ground" but wasn't too impressed with it. It was a neat idea, but wasn't really sure I liked how the ending worked out. It might have felt different on reading, rather than listening because the narrator will likely have some influence.
PS: I guess I should give props though, since it's the first time I've encountered a weird western, or something that I would call such.