The black stranger and other American tales

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University of Nebraska Press, Jan 1, 2005 - Fiction - 351 pages
2 Reviews
Robert E. Howard is celebrated as the founding father of sword-and-sorcery, the creator of Conan of Cimmeria and Kull of Atlantis. The Black Stranger and Other American Tales demonstrates that in some of his most powerful heroic fantasy and horror stories, he also explored a New World older and more haunted than that which we’ve seen in textbooks or museum exhibits. In Howard's Gothic America, dominion goes hand in hand with damnation and the present never ceases to writhe in the grip of the past. "The Black Stranger" spearheads the collection. Located at the extreme edge of Hyborian geography and human ruthlessness, this Conan novella has seldom been available until now. All of the Cimmerian's lethal skills may not be enough inside a stockade that shelters a self-exiled, pirate-plagued count, besieged from without and bedeviled from within. Against the backdrop of a demonically hostile dreadwood, Howard recreates the worst nightmares of the earliest European invaders of North America. In the tales that follow, Howard unearths sinister civilizations that have forgotten the mysteries of their origins on American soil tens of thousands of years ago. That soil is a dark and bloody ground, beneath which the monstrous heirs of ancient wrongs and unsuspected wars wait. A Comanche champion and a lone conquistador stumble upon empires carved out of the primordial Southwest by necromancers. Hot hate given cold flesh lurches on zuvembie legs in "Pigeons from Hell" and lurks in the shuddersome swamps of the Deep South in "Black Canaan." These stories, here refurbished with authoritative, unexpurgated texts, have transcended the Thirties pulps in which they first saw print. With their unflinching focus on original American sin and even more original sinners, some are sure to take their place next to dark classics like "Young Goodman Brown," "Benito Cereno," and "A Rose for Emily."

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User Review  - borumas - LibraryThing

This is perhaps my favorite of the compilations of Howard's works, my favorite story in it is The Marchers of Valhalla- it's the story of a Viking like people who land on the shores of what appears to ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - badgenome - LibraryThing

A thematic collection in which Howard gives voice to all the unspoken fears American settlers might have had about this then-wild, hideously ancient continent. Even though the title story is about ... Read full review


The Black Stranger i
Marchers of Valhalla
The Gods of BalSagoth

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About the author (2005)

Robert E. Howard (1906–36) lived and wrote in Cross Plains, Texas. From 1924 until his death, he sold hundreds of stories to pulp-fiction magazines such as Weird Tales, Argosy, Action Stories, Fight Stories, and Cowboy Stories. As a twentieth-century American master of fantastic adventure, he rivals Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Steven Tompkins contributed to the original manuscript facsimile of "The Black Stranger” and The Illustrated World of Robert E. Howard, both Wandering Star publications. His essays have appeared in The Barbaric Triumph: A Critical Anthology on the Writings of Robert E. Howard and The Dark Man: The Journal of Robert E. Howard Studies.

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