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Introducing Friends/Family to REH


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#1 Hawkbrother

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 12:18 AM

I have a friend at work who I often discuss books(and everyone else with). Found out he was an avid Lovecraft fan, but had never heard of Howard(or Clark Ashton Smith). Like so many others "Conan" meant "Arnold S." to him. So I decided to introduce him to Howard, not with a Conan , but with a more varied selection.
I have lent him the Bison Books The Black Stranger and Wildside Press's the Shadow Kingdoms. I thought that was a good intro-what do others think? They have some Conan,Kull, and Solomon Kane, but a wide cross-section of his other stuff too. Since he said he liked Lovecraft, I decided to go with the Howard weird stuff rather than historical adventure. I am awaiting his reaction.
Found it interesting though that someone would be familiar with Lovecraft, and not Howard.Btw , this friend is in his 40s, younger than me.

#2 deuce

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 01:30 AM

It's (unfortunately) not that unusual, Hawkbrother. Arnie burned a lot of bridges. I almost always start Howard newbies on something other than the Conan yarns. Either the movie didn't turn them off and they already know about Conan or Arnie/Milius left such a bad taste in their mouth that another angle is called for. About 2/3-3/4 become Howard fans. If I had a dollar for every time somebody brought back a book and said,"I can't believe that this is the guy who wrote "Co-naaan"!" I always say,"Howard pronounced it Co-nun. The movie isn't Robert E. Howard's Conan."
You definitely oughtta loan your buddy Nameless Cults (Chaosium). Pure Howard Mythos fiction.

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#3 Strom

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 03:43 AM

It's (unfortunately) not that unusual, Hawkbrother. Arnie burned a lot of bridges. I almost always start Howard newbies on something other than the Conan yarns. Either the movie didn't turn them off and they already know about Conan or Arnie/Milius left such a bad taste in their mouth that another angle is called for. About 2/3-3/4 become Howard fans. If I had a dollar for every time somebody brought back a book and said,"I can't believe that this is the guy who wrote "Co-naaan"!" I always say,"Howard pronounced it Co-nun. The movie isn't Robert E. Howard's Conan."
You definitely oughtta loan your buddy Nameless Cults (Chaosium). Pure Howard Mythos fiction.



This is total bullcrap hype deuce - I'm calling you out. I bet you could count on one hand - not counting thumbs - how often you have had the Arnie Conan conversation with a fan of S&S. Why? Because I've had it maybe once in my life and I'm older than you and the guy just liked the comics. It happens. Hawkbrother, did the guy like the movie CTB? Had he ever heard of Robert E. Howard?

This attitude that Arnold's performance in a movie in 1982 somehow has cost Robert E. Howard legions of fans since, or that he has prohibited Robert E. Howard books from being printed by publishers, or has somehow cast a false image of negativity and non-legitimacy on a pulp writer from Texas in the 1930's is a bunch of total hogwash and frankly a complete cop out. I'm sorry but I'm not dumb. There is a difference in establishing Howard in the literary circles as an American writer deserving greater respect. But, crediting a movie with why that hurdle hasn't been jumped yet is as ridiculous as saying the Unknown Soldier isn't famous cause no one knows his name. Howard faced legitimacy issues from the beginning within the literary elite - long before the movies. Glen Lord's hard work created the atmosphere where Howard's work was published and made available to the mass audiences. His work also created the atmosphere of the Marvel Conan comic to be published. Then the movie to be made. Success after success - yet somehow it all went wrong? No, success is a good thing. Never bad - especially in the creative arts. When has success ever been bad? Name one thing where a franchise was pissed off it was successful?

I think to much blame is given to a successful comic and movie for any shortfall's in Howard's legitimacy - his work needs no excuses. Cream always rises to the top.

I've been on this board quite a few years and rarely has a member - that I can remember - said the Conan movie is the reason I never read Robert E. Howard. Look at the polls on "what media introduced you to Conan?" and the number one media is the movie. Just remember what Kiss always said deuce - there is no bad press. I believe that wholeheartedly and I consider myself a fan of Robert E. Howard - he is my favorite author. Any positive about his work is a plus - any press. And I just think he would appreciate no excuses. No bullcrap. Let the work stand on it's own - don't hang a pastiche excuse along side it.

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#4 Kane

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 06:43 AM

Hawkbrother, if your friend is a fan of HPL and enjoys the material that you've loaned him so far, you might want to let him know about the collection, Nameless Cults.
It is a collection of Howard's own supernatural stories. A number of them have some connection to the Lovecraft's style and form.
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#5 deuce

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 08:49 AM

It's (unfortunately) not that unusual, Hawkbrother. Arnie burned a lot of bridges. I almost always start Howard newbies on something other than the Conan yarns. Either the movie didn't turn them off and they already know about Conan or Arnie/Milius left such a bad taste in their mouth that another angle is called for. About 2/3-3/4 become Howard fans. If I had a dollar for every time somebody brought back a book and said,"I can't believe that this is the guy who wrote "Co-naaan"!" I always say,"Howard pronounced it Co-nun. The movie isn't Robert E. Howard's Conan."
You definitely oughtta loan your buddy Nameless Cults (Chaosium). Pure Howard Mythos fiction.



This is total bullcrap hype deuce - I'm calling you out. I bet you could count on one hand - not counting thumbs - how often you have had the Arnie Conan conversation with a fan of S&S. Why? Because I've had it maybe once in my life and I'm older than you and the guy just liked the comics. It happens. Hawkbrother, did the guy like the movie CTB? Had he ever heard of Robert E. Howard?

This attitude that Arnold's performance in a movie in 1982 somehow has cost Robert E. Howard legions of fans since, or that he has prohibited Robert E. Howard books from being printed by publishers, or has somehow cast a false image of negativity and non-legitimacy on a pulp writer from Texas in the 1930's is a bunch of total hogwash and frankly a complete cop out. I'm sorry but I'm not dumb. There is a difference in establishing Howard in the literary circles as an American writer deserving greater respect. But, crediting a movie with why that hurdle hasn't been jumped yet is as ridiculous as saying the Unknown Soldier isn't famous cause no one knows his name. Howard faced legitimacy issues from the beginning within the literary elite - long before the movies. Glen Lord's hard work created the atmosphere where Howard's work was published and made available to the mass audiences. His work also created the atmosphere of the Marvel Conan comic to be published. Then the movie to be made. Success after success - yet somehow it all went wrong? No, success is a good thing. Never bad - especially in the creative arts. When has success ever been bad? Name one thing where a franchise was pissed off it was successful?

I think to much blame is given to a successful comic and movie for any shortfall's in Howard's legitimacy - his work needs no excuses. Cream always rises to the top.

I've been on this board quite a few years and rarely has a member - that I can remember - said the Conan movie is the reason I never read Robert E. Howard. Look at the polls on "what media introduced you to Conan?" and the number one media is the movie. Just remember what Kiss always said deuce - there is no bad press. I believe that wholeheartedly and I consider myself a fan of Robert E. Howard - he is my favorite author. Any positive about his work is a plus - any press. And I just think he would appreciate no excuses. No bullcrap. Let the work stand on it's own - don't hang a pastiche excuse along side it.



No hyperbole, Strom (or bullcrap). First off, I never said anything about any "S&S fans". Conan is (and has always been) the "flagship" hero of S&S. If someone is already an "S&S fan", then I'm probably preaching to the choir.
When did I say anything about "literary legitimacy"? My point, and (I believe?) Hawkbrother's point, is all about bringing new blood to Robert E. Howard fandom. Before they became REH fans, my friends were ERB fans, "Western" fans, historical adventure fans, horror fans and "general fantasy/scifi" fans. None of them, before or after, were CtB fans. Some were Arnie fans. Some were fans of Milius' other projects. None were (or became) CtB fans. I know Painbrush did a post about similar experiences with his buddies. Ask him about it (I believe one of their taunts was,"Yew kilt my mattah!!!").
My goal is to create more REH fans (which I have). If they become Conan fans (or even CtB fans) as well, it's really beside the point. :)

Edited by deuce, 21 January 2007 - 09:15 AM.

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#6 Hawkbrother

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 04:06 PM

Like I said, my friend was not familiar with Howard, and he was not impressed with CtB. But once I explained that Howard's Conan was not the movie Conan, and that being a Lovecraft fan, he might like Howard, he was interested.
I don't think the movie keeps people from reading Howard either. The problem is that there are people who don't read ,period. And availability of howard books is another issue. Neither Waldenbooks or Barnes and Noble where I live carry much Howard, other than the Del Rey books. And I suspect the earlier paperbacks are long out of print.
The way I look at it , the best course of action for us Howard fans is to introduce new people to Howard, from among our friends and associates. Some will like what he wrote, some won't, same as with anything else.

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 04:51 PM

Like I said, my friend was not familiar with Howard, and he was not impressed with CtB. But once I explained that Howard's Conan was not the movie Conan, and that being a Lovecraft fan, he might like Howard, he was interested.
I don't think the movie keeps people from reading Howard either. The problem is that there are people who don't read ,period. And availability of howard books is another issue. Neither Waldenbooks or Barnes and Noble where I live carry much Howard, other than the Del Rey books. And I suspect the earlier paperbacks are long out of print.
The way I look at it , the best course of action for us Howard fans is to introduce new people to Howard, from among our friends and associates. Some will like what he wrote, some won't, same as with anything else.


Greetings!
Hawkbrother,has you friend read REH by now? I am very interested to what he/she thought of him as a writer,a teller of tales,...
That said,if they like HPL,then maybe the -weird- tales might suit his or hers taste,but still,throwing them a *classic* REH yarn might make them see how vast his talent is,...
Also,go to a used book store,I always find old paperbacks of REH there,.......keep us posted! Pun intended :P


Tu

p.s. Hey Strom! Good post also,but when has success been bad? How is Ms. Lohan doing in rehab? ;)

Edited by Tu for Kull, 21 January 2007 - 04:59 PM.


#8 Strom

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 06:51 PM

No hyperbole, Strom (or bullcrap). First off, I never said anything about any "S&S fans". Conan is (and has always been) the "flagship" hero of S&S. If someone is already an "S&S fan", then I'm probably preaching to the choir.
When did I say anything about "literary legitimacy"? My point, and (I believe?) Hawkbrother's point, is all about bringing new blood to Robert E. Howard fandom. Before they became REH fans, my friends were ERB fans, "Western" fans, historical adventure fans, horror fans and "general fantasy/scifi" fans. None of them, before or after, were CtB fans. Some were Arnie fans. Some were fans of Milius' other projects. None were (or became) CtB fans. I know Painbrush did a post about similar experiences with his buddies. Ask him about it (I believe one of their taunts was,"Yew kilt my mattah!!!").
My goal is to create more REH fans (which I have). If they become Conan fans (or even CtB fans) as well, it's really beside the point. :)



Lost me deuce - what does the movie Conan the Barbarian have to do with 'burning bridges' to REH from fans of different genres like westerns, ERB, historical adventure or horror fans? Your words were that Arnold 'burnt bridges' - and now your implying those bridges were burnt to fans of other genres as well as S & S? Powerful movie that CTB. If only the material was strong enough or good enough so regardless of pastiche it could be recognized for superb quality and immense talent!

But, Arnold had an accent and read his lines with words like "Mudda and Fadda" so REH just has to wait until others deem it worthy. Nevermind the audacity that a Hollywood movie could impact literary acceptance - do the two even know the other exist?

Never will I understand logic that inane from such extremely smart people like yourself and Painbrush and other REH scholars. It blows my mind.

Hey Strom! Good post also,but when has success been bad? How is Ms. Lohan doing in rehab?

Excellent personal example of success gone bad Tu. But I was asking for franchise success. Although, Lohan is almost a franchise.... :P

Hawkbrother Posted Today, 10:06 AM
Like I said, my friend was not familiar with Howard, and he was not impressed with CtB. But once I explained that Howard's Conan was not the movie Conan, and that being a Lovecraft fan, he might like Howard, he was interested.
I don't think the movie keeps people from reading Howard either. The problem is that there are people who don't read ,period. And availability of howard books is another issue. Neither Waldenbooks or Barnes and Noble where I live carry much Howard, other than the Del Rey books. And I suspect the earlier paperbacks are long out of print.
The way I look at it , the best course of action for us Howard fans is to introduce new people to Howard, from among our friends and associates. Some will like what he wrote, some won't, same as with anything else.


Well said Hawkbrother - and your action deserves praise. You made a person aware of REH and the incredible adventures he has to look forward probably ensures he will thank you later. A success like CTB in comics and the first movie does the same on a larger scale IMO, because Conan is the gateway to Howard's other genres. So, I haven't really taken this topic off-topic to much but I apologize if it appears that way. Thanks HB.

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#9 PainBrush

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 10:42 PM

Never will I understand logic that inane from such extremely smart people like yourself and Painbrush and other REH scholars.

Hey ! I'm sitting here mawing my oats & couscous & find out i'm causing trouble in a conversation I hadn't even read yet ! haha . As far as what I had ever said about my handful of buddies years ago & me trying to get them to read some Howard - yes they had seen the Conan movie . I did get them to go & see it when it was new at the show , a lot different than getting comic-fan-geeks to actually pick up some books with no pictures & read them ! - I would make fun of the Avengers , X-men & whatever other comic books they collected ( we were only like 14 or 15 or so when C.T.B. came out ) - they made just as much fun of the few comics 'I' collected - only the Conans & few other S.&S. titles . Conan had no superpowers & always wore the fur diaper & was fond of hyperbolic exclamations & chopping people . Easy to see why they weren't interested in the character - no laser-beam eyes , metal skeleton or flight abilities . Seeing C.T.B. didn't win them over . But they were not already S.&S. fans or fantasy fans of any degree at all , or even general 'pulp-fiction' fans of H.P.L. or any others so it wasn't likely that even if C.T.B. was made exactly like the Howard stories that they would have become instant fans anyhow , the movie gave them a bit more ammo in our slur-wars is all . And they still never bothered to even pick up a Conan comic unless it was one on my list & they could make a buck off of me .

Without beating any dead horses , if the movie had been a bit more faithful to the originals - I do think my buddies might have been tempted to pick up the comics at least - & if they did that , that's exactly how I became a major Conan fan - from the comics & the Frazetta paintings to reading Howard & getting blown away with the originals . It had very little to do with Arnolds performance ( even though he didn't come across as the brightest bulb on the tree , or too heroic - we were all major Arnold fans way back then & had just started going crazy on the weights ) , the accent didn't bother me in the least - what the hell would a Cimmerian sound like anyhow ( anyone who says they know positively is full of it - even the 'celtic' 2 thousand years ago {much less in Hyboria} was different than today) & I saw CImmerians as mostly Celt with a bit of the Norse around the edges anyhow , so an Austrian accent was foreign & barbaric good enough . & nobody hoped the movie would kick-a$$ more than me , especially after defending who & what the character was about for a few years already .

But no , my buddies weren't likely to ever become Conan fans of any sort anyhow , one's dead for a little while now , anothers in the Air-Force location unknown ( & what the hell exactly he's doing in the service is mysterious still to this day ) & he's a major religious-kook , I mean a stop you while you're in McDonalds so he can say grace out loud at your table religious kook , not a 'Painbrush' type cynical religious kook who silently thanks God ! ( 'my' God isn't hard of hearing & I think he likes peace & quiet anyhow )& the 3rd of our 4 musketeers is a.w.o.l. from the face of the earth for years - so I can't ask any of them today if they've ever bothered to pick up any of the books - but it definitely isn't likely though . If it was possible , believe me - they would get on here in a heartbeat & flame me big-time & post some of the most inflamatory stuff about the arguements us fan-geeks had when we were young & owned the world & all in it . That's the extent of me getting any converts to barbaric 'literature' , the movie simply didn't make a difference one way or the other though I feel it 'might have' if done a little different , so I'm halfway with Stroms opinion on this & halfway with Deuce . A better movie certainly wouldn't have 'hurt' gaining new fans & converts to S.&.S. , but I don't think it's prevented anyone who would likely ever be a fan from doing so . The average movie-goer even today , much less in 1982 isn't the same species of beast as a book-reader of any degree - simple adventure , or 'literature' especially .

Edited by PAINBRUSH, 21 January 2007 - 10:53 PM.

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#10 tofu

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 06:12 AM

Wow does someone need cheese with their wine? I look at it this way your going to like Howard or not.I think it is great others use more types of literature from howard than Conan.
Is like trying to convert a Muslim to Christianity you would not want to pound him with bible thumping.You would want to Show him how others got healed, or came off drugs, or stopped abuseing his children the changes in someones life over to Positive is how one finds conversion.At least is what made me leave the Bars and start reading the Bible.

Point is useing a variety of sources is good.

Let's please not try and make this a debate room. "I said Arnuld sucked and reason so many people hate Howard, well I debate that and think different. That stuff can be hard on the eyes to read hehehe.
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#11 Mikey_C

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 10:28 AM

My partner's sister looked at my bookshelf recently and said "Oh, Conan...!" in a sneering fashion. When I asked why there was a note of disapproval in her voice, she explained that when she was at college, she had a friend who was a great Arnie fan who used to make them watch CtB over and again. I explained that the books were different to the movie - but she looked decidedly unconvinced.

However, she and her partner are great admirers of Stuart Gordon's Dagon (we had to stop them running off with my dvd and ordered them one from play.com as a present). As a consequence, they were most interested in my H.P. Lovecraft collection. I can see that, if they were ever to get into REH, it would probably be through the horror stories - so movies obviously do make a difference.

Saying that, I suspect that, overall, CtB has turned more people on to Howard than put them off. It's made Conan a household name, to say the least. Part of the problem is that Arnie carries so much baggage, particularly now he's gone into politics. Bad move, in my opinion.
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#12 Cimmerian Wanderer

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 10:59 AM

I've introduced several of my friends to REH. I asked them when they are in a reading mood what do you read? Then I would lend them or outright give them a book by Howard that came closest to their chosen genre. Most if not all liked him but none became true fans except maybe for one, but I can't ask him.
On the other hand I have introduced my Wife and Kid to Conan and REH in general. My son loves REH's poetry, and the Conan stories. Ditto for my wife, but she kind of likes his horror, too. :)

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 10:11 PM

Lending out my REH books?. That?s a hard one. I desperately want to show my friends REH because our small local libraries are complete idiots and don?t carry REH, or HPL either! But, the one time I lent out my Rambo books and a few Tarzan titles, they came back ruined and in tatters. If any of my REH or HPL were returned in a crappy condition, I would probably freak out! My friends will surely love REH and HPL and I want them to discover these guys, but I don?t want my nice books destroyed. Is that too selfish of me? I need your guys? two cents, or else I?ll have to go to the Oprah show, and she is extremely annoying, and Dr. Phil. Pisses me off. (I hate his plug-ins)

P.S. How long does it take for Nameless Cults to come in, usually? I ordered one at borders and its taking Forever to arrive. I usually get books in about a week, but this has been three weeks.

#14 Mikey_C

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 12:07 AM

If you want a book back, don't lend it. I know this from bitter experience. I only lend books I can afford to lose - if there is something I think everyone should read, then I try to get a spare copy. Otherwise, it can ruin friendships - it's not worth the bother. (Another hassle, on the other hand, is people who insist on lending you books you don't have the time or inclination to read, so you have to make the effort of finding something polite to say, to pretend you've read them and they're not moronic rubbish, really. I call it the "Dan Brown" experience :angry:)

Edited by Mikey_C, 23 January 2007 - 12:57 AM.

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#15 deuce

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 12:47 AM

I'm like Mikey. I snag cheap extras to give/lend. Now that the "authoritative" texts are out, I've got plenty of old REH paperbacks to throw around. By-Tor, I got my Nameless Cults from my comic-store buddy as soon as it came out. It seems like Chaosium books take awhile, though.

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#16 Strom

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 01:48 AM

I've used the direct shipping method from internet bookstores for friends and family that are not geographically close. Amazon has all the Del Rey books for just over $10 - a perfect friend/family birthday/what-the-heck gift.

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#17 xardoz

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 09:03 PM

My FIL is a pretty decent guy. He loves to read, mostly Tom Clancy and modern crime/detective type stuff, but used to read sci-fi as a kid. I've recently gotten him hooked on Firefly, and I'm wondering what might be the best book or individual story to introduce him to REH.

So what should use to introduce him to REH?

#18 Mikey_C

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 09:20 PM

I guess the answer is to try the Del Rey "Best Of...s". They're the only books I can think of to cover the whole range of Howard's writing. If nothing in there appeals to him, you might as well give up!
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#19 deuce

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 09:24 PM

My FIL is a pretty decent guy. He loves to read, mostly Tom Clancy and modern crime/detective type stuff, but used to read sci-fi as a kid. I've recently gotten him hooked on Firefly, and I'm wondering what might be the best book or individual story to introduce him to REH.

So what should use to introduce him to REH?


Hey Xardoz! Does he like boxing or Westerns? Several possibilities there. I'm buying my dad Riot at Bucksnort (see "HOLC" board) in an effort to get him to see the light. REH's hard-boiled detective yarns are collected in Graveyard Rats. Good stuff. As for sci-fi, Paizo Books is reissuing Almuric. I'd try one of those angles. Hope that helps. :)

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#20 daknight

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 08:11 PM

Back when I was a kid there used to be a lot of ads for Conan books in the backs of World War II paperbacks, so back in the day they must have thought men's lit of one kind could play off men's lit of another. I know Conan DID have a female fanbase even back then and before though, just using that generalization the way some marketer would is all. Try Howard's westerns would be my first bet, Vultures of Whapeton maybe, then maybe the third volume of Conan where you are getting the good stuff like Red Nails. If it was MY f.i.l though, I think Bran MAk Morn would be the thing to hook him.
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