Robert E. Howard was born in Texas 101 years ago today, and he killed himself there 30 years later. He never had a book published in his lifetime, but he let loose an avalanche of stories as varied as they are brilliant.
In the 1970s, the book with the Frank Frazetta cover shown above was displayed in the window of a bookshop in a Glasgow slum. A little boy looked in the window, saw it, and realized that there might be other stories than the ones he had been told, other worlds than the one he had been born into. So he went into the store and got the book.
More than 40 years later I’m rereading that book, and all the others Howard wrote about Conan, the barbarian from Cimmeria, on a Kindle. A wounded young man in Texas could have had no idea what he was starting.