• Jason

1st Annual REH Days Visit

My first Robert E. Howard Days in Cross Plains, Texas. It was a little awkward at first. Then it felt like reuniting with family.

I met lots of folks: people I'd had long online relationships with and people I'd never heard of; people from nearby and some from far away, across country, across the seas, across the globe; people who were first-timers like me to people who'd been attending Howard Days for decades; and people who (like me) knew some about REH to people who knew lots and lots and lots about the man and everything in his life. It was inspiring and intimidating.

REH Days is also not quite like anything I've been to before. It's not a convention per se, though there are panels; it's not a show, for there were no dealers or art and such outside the anticipated items in support of REH Days, the REH Museum, the REH Foundation; it's not even an event or festival or any other term one could conjure for gatherings of speculative fiction folk. It really is like a family reunion. Held in outdoor and borrowed venues in a town without lodging and no real alternatives to hanging out together, that's pretty much what it's all about: spending family time with as many members of the REH clan as one can over discussion, drinks, debates, and dinner.

It's taken me far too long to write of my first visit, and I know I am not relaying all I intended. But I wished to share a bit of my initial reaction to attending 2018 as I gear up for 2019 and all things REH and Conan. Speaking of the big guy, he's making quite the sensation this year, with his return to Marvel ("We're not overdoing it at all!" and "We're bringing him modern--trust us!"). More importantly, he's making a rather impressive appearance over the next several months at Black Gate Magazine. Bob Byrne's "Hither Came Conan" series (running Mondays until complete) is taking a look at what makes each of REH's Conan stories the absolute best one. My thoughts will appear on Monday, January 28th (just after my birthday and the opening of RBE's next 3 anthology calls). Here's a great presentation on Conan's timeline (slides 16-17 give a nice 'written-published-Conan's age' listing of each story) from Mark Hall (though I really would have liked to know which KEW quote he closed with), if you'd like to prepare for the series' arguments of which is best.

I'll be heading to REH Days 2019 (and plan on making it an annual pilgrimage), ready to visit with friends old and new; swap, sell, and steal tall tales and taller plans; share some RBE titles (I think CROSSBONES & CROSSES will be a perfect match); and stand where once roared the towering passionate presence of a great storyteller. I hope to see you there.

#anthologies #KEW #REH #KarlEdwardWagner #Wagner #RobertEHoward #Howard #HowardDays #REHDays #Marvel #Conan #BlackGate #BlackGateMagaine #BobByrne #CrossPlainsTX #CrossbonesandCrosses

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