Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936) was a prolific American author and poet. He wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres and is today most famous for the creation of the character of Conan the Cimmerian.
It may sound fantastic to link the term "realism" with Conan; but as a matter of fact - his supernatural adventures aside - he is the most realistic character I ever evolved. He is simply a combination of a number of men I have known, and I think that's why he seemed to step full-grown into my consciousness when I wrote the first yarn of the series. Some mechanism in my sub-consciousness took the dominant characteristics of various prize-fighters, gunmen, bootleggers, oil field bullies, gamblers, and honest workmen I had come in contact with, and combining them all, produced the amalgamation I call Conan the Cimmerian.
The Hyborian Age is a fictional time period created by Howard as a setting for his Conan the Cimmerian stories. After writing three Conan stories, and selling the first, he created the essay The Hyborian Age in order to properly define the world and its history. The age is in prehistory, before the Ice Age that would shape the modern world and after a great cataclysm that caused the sinking of Atlantis and other disasters. The name comes from the Hyborian people, the dominant race of the time who, according to the essay, would be almost wiped out by the coming of the Ice Age. Howard used the period, both as a setting and by reference, in his other stories and it has been referenced in works by other authors, such as H.P. Lovecraft.
Cover of Weird Tales (August 1934, vol. 24, no. 2) featuring the Conan story The Devil in Iron. The picture depicts Conan fighting a giant, and supposedly extinct, snake while the escaped slave Octavia kneels, recoiling in horror, in the foreground. Art by Margaret Brundage.