- House of Book: Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard


Title : Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E.Howard.
Author: Mark Finn.
Publisher: MonkeyBrain Books

This book explores the life and times of one of the most famous writers ever to come out of the state of Texas. During his brief writing career in the 1920s and 1930s, Robert E. Howard did a lot more for imaginative literature than simply create the character of Conan the Cimmerian.

In the early 1900s, Texas was experiencing an oil boom. Practically overnight, a town would spring up around oil wells, bringing all sorts of people, from roughnecks to work the wells, to barkeepers to prostitutes. They would stay until the oil ran out, then move on to the next boom town. Howard grew up in one boom town after another; Isaac, his father, was a frontier doctor, so they also followed the oil. Howard got to see, up close and personal, the dark underside of civilization, and it disgusted him. Finally settling in Cross Plains, he was a voracious reader who hated the regimentation of school. He lived on pulp magazines, like Weird Tales, available at the local general store. Howard was the shy, quiet kid in town with no interest in joining the oil boom.

A major influence on Howard’s development as a writer was the Texas tradition of telling tall tales. Isaac was an expert spinner of tales, and in her own way, Hester, his mother and an Irish immigrant, was pretty good at it, too. Hester had tuberculosis for most of Robert’s life, which forced him to stay home and help take care of her, because Isaac was frequently gone for days on his "rounds." After he became a published author, Howard was one of the mainstays at Weird Tales. He sent them all sorts of stories, usually set in the distant past, showing civilizations that had already degraded into barbarism (like Texas of the early 20th Century). In those days, pulp magazines usually paid half a cent to one cent per word, payment was usually on publication, which could be several months after acceptance, and even then, payment was sporadic. Howard spent hours a day at his typewriter, writing boxing stories (a huge interest of his), poetry and westerns, along with tales of Conan, his most famous creation.

Anyone who has ever picked up a pulp magazine, or who knows REH as more than just the creator of Conan, will love this book, as I did. While Howard’s books are still in print, Howard’s life has fallen into obscurity. This book does a really good job of remedying that situation.

Source : http://www.bookreview.com/$spindb.query.listreview2.booknew.17299


Post a Comment

Live Traffic

Search This Blog




House of Book. Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved Revolution Two Church theme by Brian Gardner Converted into Blogger Template by Bloganol dot com