Blood & Thunder: The Life & Art of Robert E. Howard

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Blood & Thunder: The Life & Art of Robert E. Howard
Blood & Thunder.jpg
Cover of 1st edition of Blood & Thunder: The Life & Art of Robert E. Howard
Author Mark Finn
Cover artist John Picacio
Country United States
Language English
Genre Biography
Publisher MonkeyBrain Books
Publication date
2006
Media type Print (Trade paperback)
Pages 264 pp
ISBN 978-1-932265-21-7
OCLC 76742346
Dewey Decimal 813/.52 B 222
LC Class PS3515.O842 Z6155 2006

Blood & Thunder: The Life & Art of Robert E. Howard is a biography of the writer Robert E. Howard by Mark Finn, first published in November 2006 by MonkeyBrain Books. It includes an introduction by suspense writer Joe R. Lansdale.[1]

The work, an examination of the famous fantasy writer and creator of Conan the Barbarian, was the first major biography of Howard since Dark Valley Destiny: the Life of Robert E. Howard (1983) by L. Sprague de Camp, Catherine Crook de Camp and Jane Whittington Griffin. Finn's book was intended as a corrective to both the earlier biography[2] and the various misconceptions about Howard that had accumulated since the writer's death.[3]

Reception[edit]

According to Publishers Weekly, "Finn quietly and expertly demolishes ... misconceptions about Howard [and] discusses Howard in the context of a populist writer whose dyspeptic view of civilization was forged in the corrupt Texas oil boomtowns in which he grew up ... handl[ing] his charged subject in a straightforward, even-handed manner." The reviewer calls the work "a worthy addition to the 100th anniversary of Howard's birth that all readers of fantasy and regional fiction will enjoy."[3]

Brian Murphy writes that "Finn has set the record straight on Howard's character," while finding the book's approach "as a counterpoint to ... Dark Valley Destiny ... "both admirable and, in a few places, limiting." While praising the work overall, he does take issue with a few of Finn's conclusions, "including one of his boldest: that Howard had no choice but to commit suicide." He sees its strength in its portrayal of Howard as "very much a product of his environment," finding "Finn's insights in these chapters are unique and insightful." Another strength, he feels, is that "[i]t opens up the wider world of Howard's books and other material about his life that may not be so widely known." He further notes that the last chapter "provides a great overview of the post-Howard years, including his resurgence in the Lancer paperback series of the 1960's and 70's, the 'Conan the Barbarian' boom sparked by the comic books and the movie of the same name, and the growth of critical studies dedicated to Howard's works." He concludes: "[i]n summary, Blood & Thunder is highly recommended for any Howard fan."[2]

Honors[edit]

Blood & Thunder was a finalist for the 2007 Locus Awards for Best Non-Fiction.[4] For his work on the book, Finn was nominated for the 2007 World Fantasy Award in the Special Award Professional category.[5] Finn won the Emerging Scholar plus the 2007 Awards for Outstanding Achievement, Book By A Single Author for Blood & Thunder.[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Blood & Thunder title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  2. ^ a b Murphy, Brian. "Blood & Thunder: The Life & Art of Robert E. Howard: A review" Oct. 16, 2008
  3. ^ a b Publishers Weekly review, quoted on Amazon.com.
  4. ^ Kelly, Mark R. "2007 Locus Awards". Locus Publications. Retrieved 11 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "2007 World Fantasy Award Winners & Nominees". World Fantasy Convention. Retrieved 11 January 2010. 
  6. ^ Grin, Leo (June 11, 2007). "2007 Cimmerian Awards Results Announced". The Cimmerian. Retrieved 11 January 2010.