The Return of Howard Days
Jun11

The Return of Howard Days

The yearly pilgrimage to Cross Plains, Texas to celebrate the life and legacy of the pulp era’s two-fisted Bard of the Blade, Robert E. Howard, is back after 2020’s shut down. Always held on the second weekend of June, Howard Days is a chance to trod the ground once walked by this Texas original, see his actual typescripts archived at the local library, and connect with fellow writers, artists, scholars, and uber-fans of...

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Where to Start With American Fantasy Series
May11

Where to Start With American Fantasy Series

Where to Start With American Fantasy Series by Bill Ward While J.R.R. Tolkien may be the most famous and ubiquitous of fantasy writers, introducing generations of readers the world over to fantasy fiction through The Hobbit and influencing the way such stories are forever told with his masterwork, The Lord of the Rings, American letters has perhaps contributed more profoundly to the development of the modern secondary world fantasy...

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Sword and Planet as Blood and Thunder: Robert E. Howard’s Almuric
Feb19

Sword and Planet as Blood and Thunder: Robert E. Howard’s Almuric

Sword and Planet as Blood and Thunder: Robert E. Howard’s Almuric by Bill Ward “’Lead us to Yugga, Esau Ironhand!’ cried Than Swordswinger. ‘Lead us to Yagg, or lead us to Hell! We will stain the waters of Yogh with blood, and the Yagas will speak of us with shudders for ten thousand times a thousand years!’” —Almuric, Robert E. Howard Robert E. Howard is a member of that select group of authors...

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Short Sorcery: Robert E. Howard’s “The Tower of the Elephant”
Jan29

Short Sorcery: Robert E. Howard’s “The Tower of the Elephant”

Short Sorcery: Robert E. Howard’s “The Tower of the Elephant” by Bill Ward “Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.” – Robert E. Howard, “The Tower of the Elephant” The above is one of the most famous lines Robert E. Howard ever wrote, and it occurs as a young, somewhat naive Conan is mocked by a group of city dwellers in the...

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Adventures in Fiction: Robert E. Howard
Jan21

Adventures in Fiction: Robert E. Howard

Our Appendix N Archeology and Adventures in Fiction series are meant to take a look at the writers and creators behind the genre(s) that helped to forge not only our favorite hobby but our lives. We invite you to explore the entirety of the series on our Adventures In Fiction home page. There may not be a more iconic character in fantasy—and particularly sword and sorcery—fiction than Conan the Barbarian. From his first appearance in...

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Hyborian Age World Building
Jan15

Hyborian Age World Building

Hyborian Age World Building by Bill Ward Robert E. Howard, pioneer of sword & sorcery fiction, creator of Conan and Solomon Kane, author of scores of stories across half a dozen genres or more, is rightly praised as a master of pacing, a crafter of visceral action, and a writer of vivid and poetic prose. What often goes unremarked, even among his ardent fans, is Howard’s impressive achievement as a world-builder, namely in the...

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Amra Who? Inside Conan’s Secret Identity
Jan12

Amra Who? Inside Conan’s Secret Identity

Amra Who? Inside Conan’s Secret Identity by Bill Ward Quick trivia question: what is Conan holding in his hand when we are first introduced to the character? It’s not the bloody head of a Stygian priest or the becrimsoned blade that severed it. No, it’s a pen. Or, to be more accurate, a stylus – King Conan is improving the map of his Kingdom of Aquilonia when first we meet him in “The Phoenix on the Sword,” filling...

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Bran Mak Morn, The Doomed King
Jan08

Bran Mak Morn, The Doomed King

Bran Mak Morn, The Doomed King by Bill Ward Most new readers approach the work of Robert E. Howard from the perspective of his most famous creation, Conan. As is only natural, they tend to look at Howard’s other heroes in terms of their relation to the Cimmerian, and look for those elements that later make their way into the much more famous stories of the Hyborian age. Kull is perhaps the most well known ancestor of Conan for, after...

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Where to Start With Robert E. Howard
Jan01

Where to Start With Robert E. Howard

Where to Start With Robert E. Howard by Bill Ward Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) was a giant and a father to giants, his literary creations so potent that they have informed popular culture and permeated mass consciousness down to the present day. But their very ubiquity can obscure and deceive – if two people strike up a conversation about Conan, are they actually talking about the same Conan? What’s going on with all of these...

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Robert E. Howard Deep Cuts
Dec26

Robert E. Howard Deep Cuts

Robert E. Howard Deep Cuts By Howard Andrew Jones Robert E. Howard is justly famous for creating Conan of Cimmeria, probably the best known of all sword-and-sorcery characters. But the best of Robert E. Howard doesn’t begin or end with the world’s most famous barbarian, because there’s an astonishing amount of excellent fiction that the talented Texan created over the course of a few short years. Here’s a quick look at some excellent...

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The Best Of The Conan Pastiche Novels
Nov21

The Best Of The Conan Pastiche Novels

The Best Of The Conan Pastiche Novels By Howard Andrew Jones If I didn’t love the writing of Robert E. Howard I would probably never have bothered with any Conan pastiche. As a matter of fact, those Conan novels on store shelves in the ’70s and ’80s made me so skeptical of Conan that I didn’t try Robert E. Howard’s fiction until years later. I wrongly assumed that because the series looked cheap and...

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Gen Con Videos, Part 1: Gaming in the Spirit of Robert E. Howard
Aug24

Gen Con Videos, Part 1: Gaming in the Spirit of Robert E. Howard

Oh yeah, we’re still talking about Gen Con. And in fact, we’ve got not one, not two, but THREE videos that we’ll be posting today that were taken at Gen Con 2019. We start off with a seminar entitled Gaming Appendix N: Robert E. Howard and Sword and Sorcery. It’s a great chance to see how our adventure authors integrate the works of a great writer into their game designs, and the impact he had on their creative...

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