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Red Shadows - Not Robert E. Howard's Title?


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#1 Strom

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 05:11 AM

Finishing up The Saga of Solomon Kane Dark Horse trade I read with great interest the Glen Lord penned essay "Solomon Kane - A Publishing History." In his essay, Glen relates the publishing history of Robert E. Howard's first Solomon Kane story:

The first Kane story, originally titled simply "Solomon Kane" was written in 1927 and submitted to Argosy All-Story


Glen then relates how the story was rejected and why the editor did not like certain aspects while he did enjoy the action sequences.

Later Glen quotes REH in a 1928 letter to his friend Tevis Clyde Smith about the story "Solomon Kane:"

"... Weird Tales took that ms. the Argosy editor commented upon, offering me $80. The Weird Tales editor took it in its original form, for I didn't change it any, in spite of the defects pointed out by the Argosy editor, and says that he thinks he'll give me a front page and cover illustration. He asks me to change the title "Solomon Kane" however and I can't seem to think of a good title."


Glen then adds:

The story appeared in the August 1928 Weird Tales under the title "Red Shadows," and as promised, was given the cover illustration.


Very interesting. I have a few questions that maybe Rusty or others will enlighten us on.

Do we know for sure that Robert came up with the title Red Shadows?

Was there ever any consideration to publishing the story under it's original title "Solomon Kane?"

I know some of the Conan story titles that had editors change their name - a la Xuthal at Dusk/The Slithering Shadow - were published in the Del Rey trades with REH's original titles.

Personally, I find the story title "Solomon Kane" more powerful and effective then the out-of-the-blue Red Shadows title, especially when you consider both that many fans consider Red Shadows the best Solomon Kane story and it is the first Solomon Kane story. Regardless, REH originally titled the story 'Solomon Kane" and I'm interested in why the Del Rey unedited trade kept the Red Shadows title?

I'm assuming that we know REH came up with the Red Shadows title - or maybe Tevis suggested it?

Still the question of presenting unedited manuscripts - such as the Del Rey trade - begs the question why not use the original title REH created since the above quote illustrates the title change is only made at the request of the WT editor?

*** I am shocked that we do not have a Red Shadows/Solomon Kane topic! All discussion pertaining to RS/SK should go here.

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#2 Patrice Louinet

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 09:29 AM

Strom,

we don't know who came up with the title "Red Shadows"; has a certain REH flavor to it but in a letter to Clyde Smith, Howard states that Farsnworth Wright asked him for another title than "Solomon Kane" and REH writes that he can't think of one...

The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane was the first Wandering Star book, and has some presentation differences with the ulterior volumes of the library. When I translated/edited this book for the French market, I made quite a number of changes (such as relegating the unfinished stuff at the end, adding some unpublished/alternative stuff, arranging the stories following the writing chronology and writing an essay, "Hyborian Genesis"-like, at the end.) One of the changes I introduced was to have "Red Shadows" changed to "Solomon Kane", whose terseness I also like a lot, and which is much more indicative of what (actually who) the story is about.
As I was finishing work on the French volume, I suggested to Rusty and to Paradox that we update the American volume to include these changes and reflect the presentation of the other volumes of the library. As the movie was supposed to come out soon (yeah, I know...), I felt the timing was good. Rusty and Jay liked the idea and were all for it, but this got nixed by Del Rey.

Patrice

Edited by Patrice Louinet, 21 October 2009 - 05:23 PM.


#3 crossplain pilgrim

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 11:41 AM

Thank you Strom and Patrice for throwing some light on a subject that has pricked my curiosity for some time. "Red Shadows" is the only one of the titles for the Kane stories that does not allude in some specific way to the subject matter of the story. "Hills of the Dead," "The Footfalls Within," "The Moon of Skulls," etc., all connect directly to a story element, but "Red Shadows" is more generic and certainly less analogous. One could apply "Red Shadows" to just about any sword and sorcery story ever written and it would rest comfortably. For my money it was probably the editor(s) at Weird Tales who made the switch.
A wild moon rode in the wild white clouds,
the waves their white crests showed
When Solomon Kane went forth again,
and no man knew his road.

"Solomon Kane's Homecoming"

#4 deuce

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 02:54 PM

Thanks for stopping by, Patrice. Hopefully, we will someday see a "French-style" edition of The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane here in the States.

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#5 godzilladude

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 03:45 PM

Thank you Strom and Patrice for throwing some light on a subject that has pricked my curiosity for some time. "Red Shadows" is the only one of the titles for the Kane stories that does not allude in some specific way to the subject matter of the story. "Hills of the Dead," "The Footfalls Within," "The Moon of Skulls," etc., all connect directly to a story story element, but "Red Shadows" is more generic and certainly less analogous. One could apply "Red Shadows" to just about any sword and sorcery story ever written and it would rest comfortably. For my money it was probably the editor(s) at Weird Tales who made the switch.


See, and that is one of the problems the editors face all the time, is who came up with a title, or the changes in the text, and quite often there is no way to tell. So, they go with what they think, HOPEFULLY pointing out it's just an educated guess and certainly not definitive, and go on. What fun.

#6 Strom

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 03:09 AM

Strom,

we don't know who came up with the title "Red Shadows"; has a certain REH flavor to it but in a letter to Clyde Smith, Howard states that Farsnworth Wright asked him for another title than "Solomon Kane" and REH writes that he can't think of one...

The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane was the first Wandering Star book, and has some presentation differences with the ulterior volumes of the library. When I translated/edited this book for the French market, I made quite a number of changes (such as relegating the unfinished stuff at the end, adding some unpublished/alternative stuff, arranging the stories following the writing chronology and writing an essay, "Hyborian Genesis"-like, at the end.) One of the changes I introduced was to have "Red Shadows" changed to "Solomon Kane", whose terseness I also like a lot, and which is much more indicative of what (actually who) the story is about.
As I was finishing work on the French volume, I suggested to Rusty and to Paradox that we update the American volume to include these changes and reflect the presentation of the other volumes of the library. As the movie was supposed to come out soon (yeah, I know...), I felt the timing was good. Rusty and Jay liked the idea and were all for it, but this got nixed by Del Rey.

Patrice


Thanks Patrice - sorry to hear the idea to incorporate the changes you made were nixed by Del Rey. Considering the letter from REH to Tevis Clyde Smith - and your information that it is not known who came up with the title Red Shadows - IMO there is no reason the story should be published in future books as anything other than "Solomon Kane."

Thank you Strom and Patrice for throwing some light on a subject that has pricked my curiosity for some time. "Red Shadows" is the only one of the titles for the Kane stories that does not allude in some specific way to the subject matter of the story. "Hills of the Dead," "The Footfalls Within," "The Moon of Skulls," etc., all connect directly to a story element, but "Red Shadows" is more generic and certainly less analogous. One could apply "Red Shadows" to just about any sword and sorcery story ever written and it would rest comfortably. For my money it was probably the editor(s) at Weird Tales who made the switch.


Your welcome CP - it has been enlightening to me as well. Somewhat hard to say "Solomon kane" isn't generic as a title. Unless you know the character and since this is the first story I understand the editor request for a title change. Interesting also that REH - the wordsmith, the poet, the greatest pulp writer in the whole wide world - was unable to come up with a better title than the one he originally penned. Further evidence that the story should be titled "Solomon Kane" in all future printings - and it sounds like it will be. I wonder why the Best of REH Crimson Shadows did not incorporate the original title?

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#7 Libaax

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 11:43 PM

Heh i just read Red Shadows and thought its really not like REH to call a story Red Shadows and not having red shadows being an important element of the story. Not only compared to other Kane titles but all his other stories i have read.


A great story though, i was surprised by the fact that Solomon Kane was so heroic,justice driven. I mean to chase a brigand for years because he killed an unknown girl.

I'm used to Conan and his selfish ways ;)

#8 deuce

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 06:13 PM

While I think that there are good points against REH coming up with that title, we should also keep in mind that REH wrote a poem (possibly from that same period) entitled "Crimson Shadows".

Just my two Elizabethan pence. :)

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#9 Patrice Louinet

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 07:09 PM

While I think that there are good points against REH coming up with that title, we should also keep in mind that REH wrote a poem (possibly from that same period) entitled "Crimson Shadows".

Just my two Elizabethan pence. :)


Sounds like counterfeit money to me... Where did you get that, Deuce?

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#10 deuce

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:51 PM

Our own James Maliszewski reviews "Red Shadows" here:


http://grognardia.bl...ed-shadows.html

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#11 PaulMc

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 05:55 PM

"Red Shadows" to be included in an upcoming anthology;

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#12 Libaax

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 07:24 PM

I just read this story for the third time and its as powerful as the first time. I could focus on the writing of the supernatural elements and not only on the revenge.

#13 johnnypt

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 05:14 PM

Strom,

we don't know who came up with the title "Red Shadows"; has a certain REH flavor to it but in a letter to Clyde Smith, Howard states that Farsnworth Wright asked him for another title than "Solomon Kane" and REH writes that he can't think of one...

The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane was the first Wandering Star book, and has some presentation differences with the ulterior volumes of the library. When I translated/edited this book for the French market, I made quite a number of changes (such as relegating the unfinished stuff at the end, adding some unpublished/alternative stuff, arranging the stories following the writing chronology and writing an essay, "Hyborian Genesis"-like, at the end.) One of the changes I introduced was to have "Red Shadows" changed to "Solomon Kane", whose terseness I also like a lot, and which is much more indicative of what (actually who) the story is about.
As I was finishing work on the French volume, I suggested to Rusty and to Paradox that we update the American volume to include these changes and reflect the presentation of the other volumes of the library. As the movie was supposed to come out soon (yeah, I know...), I felt the timing was good. Rusty and Jay liked the idea and were all for it, but this got nixed by Del Rey.

Patrice

 

Say Patrice, I know you can't post up all the changes you made to the French version, but can you list the order the stories were written?  Reading all the other editions that way shed new light on the material, so I'd love to do it with SK.  It's a shame Del Rey didn't go ahead with the revised US edition, but seeing the film's complete lack of impact here in the states, I can see their point.  I'd love to have all the other enhancements, but I may just have to buy the French edition and get working with Google translator!  

 

Thanks.



#14 deuce

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:01 AM

While I think that there are good points against REH coming up with that title, we should also keep in mind that REH wrote a poem (possibly from that same period) entitled "Crimson Shadows".

Just my two Elizabethan pence. smile.gif


Sounds like counterfeit money to me... Where did you get that, Deuce?

Patrice

 

What do you mean by "that"?

 

Howard titled a poem "Crimson Shadows", so I proposed it was possible (but by no means assured) REH suggested "Red Shadows" to Wright as an alternative.


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