Remembrance The Dream Snake Sea Ghost The Moor Ghost Moon Mockery The Little People Dead Man's Hate The Tavern Rattle of Bones The Fear That Follows The Spirit of Tom Molyneaux Cassonetto's Last Song The Touch of Death Out of the Deep A Legend of Faring Town Restless Waters The Shadow of the Beast The Dead Slaver's Tale Dermod's Bane The Hills of the Dead Dig Me No Grave The Song of a Mad Minster The Children of the Night Musings The Black Stone The Thing on the Roof The Dweller in Dark Valley The Horror from the Mo A Dull Sound as of Knock People of the Dark Delenda Est The Cairn on the Headland Worms of the Earth ...Four The Symbol The Valley of the Lost The Hoofed Thing The Noiseless Terror The Dweller Under The An Open Window Whether the Cavern The Man on the Ground Old Garfield's Ghost Kelly the Conjure-Man Black Canaan My Agitation To A Woman One Who Comes at Eventite The Haunter of the Ring Pigeons From Hell The Snake's Bro The Dead Remember The Fire of Asshurbanipal Spectres in the Dark The House (hide spoiler)
I will probably try to run this book down and add it to my collection. We see mentions of dark and evil books, ones we're aware of (if we've read others, like Lovecraft) and a couple of Howard's own imagining. We find stories of evil and even redemption...so, four stars. Not a good thing, but a product of its time.
Howards original Conan stories. I really want to get to the Bran Mak Morn stories, and I have a collection of Howards Breckinridge Elkins stories. Howard might be the best volume to pick up after your first introduction to Robert E. The stories tend toward the short end of the scale; this is an ideal book to pick up in the evening after each day of work as All Hallows Eve approaches, the bite of the coming winter begins to infiltrate the autumn air, and the onset of darkness encroaches a little further each night. You can see H.P. Lovecrafts influence over Howard in these stories, as you would expect. (From the Sea Curse.) Howard isnt just writing Lovecraftian fiction, mind you. The ghost stories are a good reminder that Howard was as inspired or more by Texas folklore as by Lovecraft. (And remind me that Weird Tales also published stuff like the Silver John stories.) The Dream Snake and The Shadow of the Beast would fit in some of the volumes off my shelves (and my parents shelves before that, and my grandparents shelves before that). There are two Solomon Kane stories in the selection I readRattle of Bones and The Hills of the Dead. I am a big fan of both, so I see the collected Solomon Kane stories in my near future. In case youre wondering who Howards horror influences are, he gives us a pretty good clue when a character identifies Lovecrafts Call of Cthulhu, Poes The Fall of the House of Usher, and Machens Black Seal as master horror tales. (And in Howards world, erudite men dont blush at serious discussion of horror in the salon.) A character called Conan of the reavers appears in the (excellent) People of the Dark. There are two stories in particular from this chunk of the book that are worth discussing: Worms of the Earth and The Valley of the Lost. Before picking this collection up for a little HallowRead, my intuition was to go from Conan to Bran Mak Morn. Bran Mak Morn is a Pict king during the twilight of his people, fighting the encroachment of the Roman Empire. I always loved Howards depiction of the Picts in his Conan stories. Ive seen Howard crowned the king and inventor of the Weird Western, and after reading The Valley of the Lost, I know why. The Valley of the Lost is just about a perfect story in every way (although the prose is a little pedestrian for Howard). It is a very personal story, both in how it ends, the setting, and lines like this: John Reynolds was a man of the outlands and the waste places. This section also contains a story, The Hoofed Thing, that, like his Conan story Beyond the Black River, gives a prominent role to a heroic dog. Much more jarring is the language that Howard uses in some of the earlier stories in the collectionlanguage more likely to reflect Howards own views. Howard is masterful at slowly ratcheting up the tension throughout the story. As the blogger noted, the role of race in the story makes it more effective as horror, not less, and the entire thing is delightfully creepy. Howards horror measure up? I particularly loved Howards weird westerns, and introductions to Solomon Kane and Bran Mak Morn have me excited to grab those collections. None of these alone will supplant Conan for me (yet), but this collection shows Howard undeniably had serious range as a writer. As with their other Howard collections, the good people at Del Rey packed The Horror of Robert E.
"Black Canaan", while quite effective as a horror story, and "Kelly the Conjure-Man" are probably the worst offenders in that regard. As per the title, these are all horror stories of one stripe or another; mostly with contemporary settings (rural Texas or Louisiana in the 1920s, plus one haunted boxing ring), but also with some historical settings -- a fair number of "gothic" tales on the moors of the British Isles, one or two Westerns (an era which, at the time of Howard's writing, was much less removed than it is now), and a few medieval or even ancient stories. My favorite new-to-me story in this book was probably "The House of Arabu", a horror story set in ancient Sumeria.
One thing this collestion makes clear is that Howard's particular style of purple prose is best suited for the genre he created, that peculiar mix of fantasy, adventure and horror that came to be called swords & sorcery. Sadly, good horror is too often best when presented in a setting very close to the real world.
Among the stronger stories are "Rattle of Bones" (in which Solomon Kane meets a notorious brigand, a deranged inn keeper, and a sorcerer's skeleton), "The Horror from the Mound" (in which an ancient vampire invades the western genre), "Worms of the Earth" (in which devolved, serpentine "little people" play a key roll in a Pictish revenge plot against Roman occupiers), "The Hoofed Thing" (in which pets and people go missing after a reclusive researcher moves into the neighborhood), "Black Canaan" (in which sexy skull dances and scary zombie magic make the white ruling class nervous in the swampy south), and "Pigeons from Hell" (in which Howard achieves an American gothic masterpiece with an interesting play on race and place). Because Howard's horror loses potency once the horrible being or secret or artifact is described or revealed or used, the unfinished miscellanea that conclude the collection are among its strongest pieces.
He can make you see and feel what it is he's writing about. He was a prolific author, and the stories in this collection range from amazing to downright boring.
Howard's horror spans the gaps between ghosts, werewolves, ancient haunted tombs, eerie pine lands, and many more.