'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.'

-Robert E. Howard
Beyond The Black River

Monday, January 22, 2018

Happy Birthday to Robert E Howard.

On this day, January 22, in the year 1906 a man was born. This man, Robert E Howard, became one of the best known pulp authors of his, or any, time. He was published in numerous pulp magazines, selling many different stories, across numerous genres. Of course his most famous character is Conan, a barbarian from a forgotten time. Conan is the personification of the struggle of the barbaric man vs civilization.

Howard is credited as being the father of "Sword & Sorcery", and was a contemporary of HP Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. These three are often referred to when people speak of the three big writers of pulp fiction.

He was much more than simply the writer of Conan. Howard was a man that loved history and tried to work it into his stories whenever he could. Many of his yarns take place around historical events, where he tells the stories of people intertwined with them. His writing and characters were expansive ranging from King Kull of Atlantis, through to his modern age. Many of his stories speak of everyone living in a connected universe. Kull to Conan, Kull to Brank Mak Morn. Conan to the modern age.

Kull, Solomon Kane, Conan, Breckenrdige Elkins, El Borak, Sailor Steve Costigan, Brank Mak Morn, Dark Agnes and the list goes on. Many of his characters and stories have been adapted to the television and movie screen to varying degrees of success.

Both a man of his time and a man ahead of his time, he has influenced many people and many elements of fantasy.

Today I raise my glass in salute to a great writer.

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