Robert E. Howard

Most famous for inventing the modern sword & sorcery tale with his Conan stories, Howard often introduced horror elements as the threat but the evocation of supernatural dread is only incidental in most of his tales; the chronicling of titanic adventure is the primary purpose. When he later switched from fantasy to westerns, Howard made the transition with the tale presented here. Howard’s major horror genre reputation rests with three stories (sadly, all of which are a bit too long for the podcast): “Black Canaan” (Weird Tales, 1936) was praised by Lovecraft for its “genuine, regional background and its compelling picture of the horror that stalks through the moss-hung, shadow-cursed, serpent-ridden swamps of the American far south”; “Pigeons from Hell” (Weird Tales, 1938) was praised by Stephen King as “one of the finest horror stories of our century” and “Worms of the Earth” (Weird Tales, 1932) is thought by many Howard fans to be his best story.

To dive into more of Howard’s impressive oeuvre, consider the Del Rey series of Howard books, which includes Horror, Historical Adventures and Desert Adventures collections, in addition to the “standard” Conan, Kull and Solomon Kane ones.

If you want to know more about Howard, visit the REH Foundation as well as Project Pride, who are the caretakers of the REH House and Museum in Cross Plains, TX.