Adventures in Fiction: Robert E. Howard
Jan22

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...

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Where to Start With Robert E. Howard
Jan14

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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Reading About Robert E. Howard
Jan11

Reading About Robert E. Howard

Reading About Robert E. Howard by Bill Ward It’s safe to say Robert E. Howard has passionate fans. And this passion goes beyond buying stacks of books and old comics and limited edition resin sculptures, beyond pilgrimages to Cross Plains or Valeria cosplay, beyond, even, mimeographing ‘zines in their basement or writing fiction inspired by Howard’s example. For you see, Howard’s fans have dared to set their...

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The Cosmic Horror of Sword & Sorcery
Oct19

The Cosmic Horror of Sword & Sorcery

The Cosmic Horror of Sword & Sorcery by Bill Ward The bones of sword & sorcery lie close to the skin, and one sure blade-stroke is enough to lay them bare for all to see. There is plot-driven pulp action there, at the core, but supporting that is a foundation of swashbuckling historical adventure, and expectations of encounters of the picaresque and the exotic kind. To be sure we can also see the unsentimentality of the...

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Some of My Favorite Sword-and-Sorcery Monsters
Oct12

Some of My Favorite Sword-and-Sorcery Monsters

Some of My Favorite Sword-and-Sorcery Monsters by Bill Ward Where would hulking barbarians and fantastic swordsmen be without monsters to pit their steel against? Sword-and-sorcery, that delicious combination of adventure fiction and supernatural horror, is as famed for its weird foes as it is for its self-reliant protagonists. And while it isn’t locked into strict adherence to formula, every writer of sword-and-sorcery since...

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Dehumanizing Violence and Compassion in Robert E. Howard’s “Red Nails”
Aug24

Dehumanizing Violence and Compassion in Robert E. Howard’s “Red Nails”

Dehumanizing Violence and Compassion in Robert E. Howard’s “Red Nails” by Jason Ray Carney Robert E. Howard’s sword and sorcery tale “Red Nails,” published as a three-part serial in Weird Tales in 1936, tells the story of the city of Xuchotl, the enduring, blood-soaked war between the Tecuhltli and the Xotalanc, and the dehumanizing effect of sustained hatred and violence. “Red Nails”...

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