Today marks the 107th anniversary of the birth of pulp writer Robert E. Howard. It has become a tradition on this date for Howard fans to read a favorite story and raise a toast.
You can't go wrong with any of the stories, and there should be one to suit your preference: sword and sorcery, hard-boiled detectives, weird horror, historical fiction, boxing, westerns, pirates and a sword-wielding puritan. One of my favorites that I often choose for a birthday reading is "Worms of the Earth", a story of Bran Mak Morn, last king of the Picts, and a weapon "to terrible to use, even against Rome". It's available in many publications but I would suggest the text found in Del Rey's Bran Mak Morn: The Last King.
This year I might read one of the stories from Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures.
For more information on his life and career, start with the following sites:
- Robert E. Howard United Press Association
- The Robert E. Howard Foundation
- Howard Works bibliographic database
- The Cimmerian (no longer updated)
I would also recommend Mark Finn's Howard biography, the Locus and World Fantasy Award-nominated Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard. An expanded edition was released last year by the REH Foundation.