“Hither came Conan…” The world’s most famous barbarian comes to The Appendix N Podcast to tread the works of lesser fantasy authors beneath his sandled feet. We are talking about the earliest Conan stories written by Robert E. Howard, though not necessarily the first published.
Robert E. Howard
born 1906, died 1936
Born in Texas, the only son of a traveling country physician. Traveling with his father exposed him to firsthand tales of violence that would influence his writing, and like many people of the time he was greatly interested in the sport of boxing. Howard’s love of poetry and literature came from his mother, Hester. His earliest stories were historical fiction about Vikings, Arabs and lots of violence. His earliest influences were Jack London, Rudyard Kipling and Thomas Bullfinch.
In August 1930, Howard wrote to Weird Tales in praise “The Rats in the Walls” by H. P. Lovecraft. The letter was forwarded to Lovecraft and the two authors became friends. Howard is considered to have contributed to the Lovecraft Mythos. The correspondence between Howard and Lovecraft contained a lengthy discussion on a frequent element in Howard’s writing, civilization versus barbarism. Howard held that civilization was inherently corrupt and fragile.
Howard wrote his first Conan story in 1932, adapting an unpublished story “By This Axe I Rule!” featuring one of Howard’s other protagonists, Kull the Conqueror. Conan would go on to become Howard’s most enduring character.
Howard sadly committed suicide in 1936 upon learning that his mother was dying of tuberculosis.
“The Phoenix on the Sword” first published in Weird Tales, December
“The Frost Giant’s Daughter” first published as “The Gods of the North” in Weird Tales, 1932
“The God in the Bowl” reject by Weird Tales, published posthumously in Space Science Fiction, September 1952
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