Tag Archives: robert e. howard

Conan the Cimmerian

Conan of Cimmeria is the creation of pulp author Robert E. Howard. Conan was introduced to the world in a short story called “The Phoenix on the Sword” in the December 1932 issue of Weird Tales. Through a series of fortuitous if controversial events in the decades after Howard’s death, the character grew to become a part of American mythology and culture, one of the most well known fictional characters in modern history.

It is best to know Conan as introduced by Robert E. Howard.

Hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black haired, sullen eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet.

Howard wrote less than 30 stories featuring Conan during his lifetime. The number of Howard stories featuring Conan represents just a fraction of Howard’s total output; a prolific author who made his living writing for the pulps in the 1920s and 1930s, Howard wrote somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 stories. The Hour of the Dragon was Howard’s only full-length Conan novel. Stories featuring his other characters were revised or rewritten by L. Sprague de Camp and released as Conan stories long after his death, hence elements of Kull stories in particular came to be associated with Conan lore. The original Conan stories by Robert E. Howard were later curated, restored, and released in modern editions now available from Del Rey. These include The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, The Bloody Crown of Conan, and The Conquering Sword of Conan.

There are Conan purists, and there are Conan fans regardless of creator or medium. Aside from the collected stories, Conan has appeared in novels, comics, movies, live action television series, cartoons, RPGs, and video games. Like many Conan fans from my generation, I came to know of his adventures through the paperback story collections published by Lancer, later reprinted by Ace. The Frank Frazetta covers are iconic representations of Howard’s best known character. These editions spawned myriad pastiches in the sword and sorcery vein.

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright. Please note that Realms of Night has an eBay page with occasional horror auctions. Follow our page and save us as a favorite seller for updates.

Rest In Peace Robert Weinberg (1946-2016)

cowboybobAmerican author, editor, pulp luminary and scholar Robert Weinberg passed away on September 25, 2016. He had been undergoing dialysis for kidney failure. He was 70 years old.

His first story was published in 1967 and launched a career that included 16 novels, over 150 anthologies, magazines, comics, and books that established him as a noted authority on genre fiction. He won World Fantasy Awards in 1978 and 1989 for his books The Weird Tales Story and A Biographical Dictionary of Science Fiction Artists.  Weinberg was a huge collector of classic science fiction art and forged relationships with many artists from the golden age of pulp. His company Weinberg Books was a primary source of collectibles for many years — it’s hard to find a genre magazine from the 1980s that doesn’t carry an advertisement for his company.

Weinberg’s career as a novelist began in 1988 with The Devil’s Auction. It was originally published in hardcover by Owlswick Press, followed by a 1990 paperback edition from Leisure Books, who also published his second novel The Armageddon Box in 1991. Two more occult horror novels followed from Pocket Books in 1991 and 1992, The Black Lodge and Dead Man’s Kiss.  In 1995, Weinberg’s fiction career received a boost when he joined forces with White Wolf to write a trilogy of novels based on their game system Vampire: The Masquerade; three novels which composed The Masquerade of the Red Death were published between 1995 and 1996. Bloodwar, Unholy Allies, and The Unbeholden met with a great deal of popularity and went on to be published in several other countries, reaching a huge audience that remain loyal to the books even today. White Wolf contracted Weinberg to follow up with a second trilogy of books known as The Horizon War. Those books were published between 1996 and 1998.

In the late 1990s, Weinberg was approached by Marvel Comics to write for the X-Men series, Cable, on which worked for 18 issues. After his run on Cable ended, he went on to write Nightside, a original comic title of his own creation, featuring a recurring character, Sydney Taine. Nightside was also published by Marvel and won a Bram Stoker Award for Best Horror Comic in 2002. During this time, Bob had begun to buy short stories by Lois Gresh for many of the anthologies he had been editing. This led to a collaboration between the two authors on The Termination Node, a cyber-thriller that was published by Del Rey in 1999. This began a long time partnership with Gresh that extended to a series of pseudoscience books based on worlds of fiction.

I met Bob in person once, over a decade ago, when he was Guest of Honor at Robert E. Howard Days in 2004. I had joined the Horror Writers Association in early 2003 and knew Bob’s name since he was active on the message boards and gave a lot of advice to new writers. When I introduced myself to him in Cross Plains, he was cordial and happy to discuss everything from pulp fiction to the Texas heat. I had no way of knowing then that he would emerge as an guiding light in my wife’s fiction career. He mentored her, gave her valuable business advice, and worked with her on multiple pieces of fiction. He read our 2007 novella Blood Coven and was able to spot my own writing style as it blended with Angeline’s, and gave me some specific tips for improving my prose and overall approach to story. These were valuable contributions to our progress. We traded books over the intervening years. Angeline and I have much of Bob’s work in our collection personally inscribed.

Bob’s reach and accomplishments is long and varied. He posted a Biography on his website a few years ago which is not only a wealth of information on the man and his history in genre fiction, but the rest of his site serves as a valuable resource to those looking for images of rare books and general information on pulps and pulp writers. There are photographs on the site proving that Bob was not only associated with some of the greatest genre fiction creators and artists of the modern era, but also a fan devoted to preserving and documenting the history of the genre for generations to come.

Bob received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the HWA in 2007. He became editor at the legendary Arkham House publishing company late in life, after the death of April Derleth in 2011. Bob died on September 25, 2016 in Oak Forest, Illinois after several years of battling complicated illness.

To browse the list of Robert Weinberg titles currently available, click here. Anyone interested in the topics discussed in this article are encouraged to visit Bob’s official website here.

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright and Angeline Hawkes.