Savage Scrolls: Scholarship From the Hyborian Age, Volume One - Fred Blosser
Back in the Seventies, when I was reading Marvel's black-and-white magazine THE SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN and the color CONAN THE BARBARIAN comic book, I always enjoyed Fred Blosser's articles and essays about various aspects of Robert E. Howard's life and work. These pieces popped up from time to time and were favorites of mine. I had no idea who Fred Blosser was, but the guy knew his stuff. Well, forty years or so have passed and Fred Blosser is a friend of mine and also a top-notch novelist I've been pleased to publish, and when it comes to Robert E. Howard . . . the guy still knows his stuff. SAVAGE SCROLLS: SCHOLARSHIP FROM THE HYBORIAN AGE, VOLUME ONE features revised and expanded versions of some of those essays from the Seventies, along with a great deal of new material. In an earlier book, Blosser tackled REH's Lovecraftian fiction. About half of this one is devoted to Howard's best-known creation, Conan the Cimmerian, and the Hyborian Age in which he lives. It's an in-depth look at the characters and settings to be found in the stories, and if you want to know anything about Hyborian geography, weapons, government and legal systems, flora and fauna, etc., it's here, presented in a lively, informative, and entertaining style. The rest of this volume takes the same approach to Howard's other series characters and his ventures into genres other than sword-and-sorcery. Blosser doesn't cover Howard's comedy Westerns, his boxing stories, and most of his horror stories. I assume they'll be the subjects of future volumes. This is a wonderful book, very enjoyable, and the only bad part about it is that it makes me want to reread a bunch of Robert E. Howard stories. Of course, now that I think about it, maybe that's not such a bad thing . . .