Months ago I thought about mentioning Lee Breakiron’s two part history of the Robert E. Howard zines released by Damon Sasser, but the links weren’t working for me. Now they are, opening up PDFs (give it a moment if you’ve got a slow machine). Part One covers the early years, including the appearance of my essay “Conan vs. Conantics” in the third issue of Two-Gun Raconteur. Shook the Howardian world — but check out what Lee says about it, if you’re interested in that sort of thing. He does a thorough job with the history angle, sourcing every quote. And of course Lee covers the head-to-head debate with L. Sprague de Camp that took place in issue 4, and I believe I even come in for a bit of criticism for my efforts to keep the Howardian litcrit arena free of illiterates. Anyway, read all about it with a click of the mouse.
The second part carries the history through issue 14, published summer 2010, where I contributed a similar accounting of each and every issue of another Howardian fanzine, The Dark Man, up to that moment, in what Lee terms my “wry, freewheeling style.” Thank you, thank you. I’m hoping Lee will open up with more pointed comments on the material in a revision or in future histories — he goes for it now and then, so I know he’s got it in him.
Meanwhile, over on Damon’s Two-Gun Raconteur blog you can find an interview with Mark Finn about the upcoming revision of Blood and Thunder, his biography of REH. I get name-checked in the interview for locating Doc Howard’s medical books (hope that is a transcription error, since I didn’t find medical texts, I found various books, largely religious, from Doc’s personal library — and many bore his extensive doodles, which caused me to think that he may have had TLE, and that his son’s prolific output also may have been spurred by TLE — the same idea that has circulated around other prolific writers such as Virginia Woolf, Philip K. Dick, or H. P. Lovecraft — you get the Temporal Lobe Epilepsy firing in the brain, and out comes a lot of fiction, letters, and journal entries, if you’ve also got talent — or you can doodle like hell — I originally covered that subject in an essay in The Cimmerian v3n9 for September 2006).