Waterfront Fists and Others: The Collected Fight Stories of Robert E. Howard

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Their responses—and others on different topics—are published here in alphabetical order.

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We welcome letters to the editor; even ones in response to other letters. Yes, Mr. Blosser has written extensively on Howard and his characters, but is he too close to the subject and the folks contributing to the volume to be truly objective? There seems to have been a litany of complaints on the various Howard e-mail lists against Joshi and what he has written about Howard.

The irate rabble needs to realize though, that in this review, Joshi looks more at how Howard studies are being done and less at Howard himself.


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When was it standard practice to kill the messenger for past messages, and not the current one? Furthermore, Joshi views The Barbaric Triumph from an academic viewpoint, which is fair if that is how the work is intended. But one is forced to ask, if Herron and company have contempt for the academic world and academic standards, why should the academic world care about what they are producing?

Opinions are often stated as fact. His criticism of the literary credentials of the current crowd is also valid. They are hardly realistic, and while adventure may be an element in many of the stories, they are chock full of weird and horror elements.

Waterfront Fists

Which leads me to ask, what is wrong with promoting Howard as a fantasy writer who created the sword and sorcery genre? Critics and fans should give the man his due honors where deserved and quit trying to shoe-horn his output into every other genre. Sure he could be compared to Kipling or London, but these and other classic adventure authors are often seen as being only for children. From his published letters there does not seem to be anything subversive, progressive or liberal in his views concerning non-white ethnic groups and women.

The two examples given by Hall in the review Yasmeena in the El Borak story, and Yasmina in a Conan story are only gussied-up damsels-in-distress—nothing liberated about them. However, they will also work for local independent bookstores, although you may have to modify a tactic or two. Howard is on the shelves.

The problem is these books are competing with hundreds of other, bigger books.

Howard and Jordan are pretty close together on the bookshelves. At most stores, all that the employees care about is putting the books out. Displays are never an option. So, what can you do? Well, for starters, you can do their job for them. Face Outs You see this tactic all the time; stacks of books are stacked, face out in front, rather than shelved with the spines facing out on the shelves.

This is done for two reasons. Three or more books stacked out take up less space on the shelf than if they were spined out. Also, faced out books sell better. People can see the cover art. If they can see the cover, they will be more inclined to pick the book up and thumb through it. Make it a nice display, with spined books on either side of the faced out books.

Unless the store has a science fiction person actively working the shelves, it will take a long time before they notice. More customers will see the Howard books by sheer accident. Order Some Books On a corporate level, special orders are only noticed by people in the middle of the chain. It means that you really should. If Borders sees that on a given week, they received over two hundred orders for a book from Bison Press, all across the country, someone will snap to the fact that they need to have that book in their store. Hey, I understand, your funds are limited.

Many times, those stores will keep special orders in their system, particularly after several repeat special orders on the same book. Well, go for it!

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Use your best handwriting or type it up and make it look really nice. Keep it simple and catchy. Most independent bookstores are grateful for any feedback they get. The worst they can say is no. Optionally, see if your local indy bookstore has an online website, or better yet, a newsletter that they print and distribute.

Ask them if you can write a short essay on Robert E.

Waterfront Fists And Others HC DJ Robert E Howard

Howard, his books, or anything of that nature. Play dumb! Can you get them? If anyone is going to carry them, it should be YOU guys! I mean, you carry everything! Do Some Decorating Do you know what a shelf talker is? Shelf talkers draw attention to the book because a not every book gets a shelf talker, and b the books that usually do are the books that a publisher is trying to promote. You should also try to drum up interest whenever you can. The right kind of attention, that is Spread the Books Around When The Coming of Conan hit the shelves, everyone did a great job of buying copies to give away as presents.

Keep it! Take it to the most popular Half-Price or used bookstore in the city not bad 3. Doing this puts a book into their system that they do not have.

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When the book is sold, it generates a report. That report becomes a reorder. Sometimes robots can come in really handy.

Start a Book Group With the above idea in mind, you can start a book group. These are all the rage—if Oprah is doing it again, there must be something to it! The essays are great points of discussion, too. Go to the Library Does your local library have copies of the current Robert E. Howard titles on their shelves?

Why not? If you live in a city with any kind of medium- or large-sized college or university, cruise their selections and make similar recommendations when you see a deficiency. His stuff is ripe for po- mo studies, gender studies, lit crit, masculinities, and all manner of major themes. Howard was into a lot of things, most of which found their way into his work. Talk to the Press David Burton recently got in his local paper because of his artwork. While it was more of a piece on David, he certainly managed to work Howard and Conan into the mix. How many of you have legendary pulp collections?

Rooms full of collectibles? Man, I was once interviewed in Waco, Texas, during a slow news day, because I was a pulp enthusiast—not a collector—just an enthusiast. That ended up being a feature, for crying out loud. Odds are you are the local expert on Robert E. Remember, the person writing the entry in the Encyclopedia of Fantasy or whatever is not out to get you, me, or the fans of Robert E. Howard I hope!