Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Howard Home and Ingress

At this year's REH Days in Cross Plains, Texas, I met several people from California who had developed a multi-player online video game called Ingress. In fact, my friend David and I were sitting in one of the two chairs directly behind the Howard home when one of the Ingress developers approached us and asked, "Are you guys part of the resistance?" I really wanted to reply, "Resistance is futile," just to joke around with him, but since I did not know the guy I replied, "I'm not sure what you're talking about." He then explained to us that the game app marks various different spots across the country/world. These places give off a certain energy force that cause people to be drawn to them. They can be physical locations, monuments, structures, etc. Some have been built by human hands, others purely natural.

There are several teams that wander to these various places to visit. Most have been chosen due to various factors, the main factor being that these locales are where, through the years, people have gathered to visit, watch, see things, etc.

The Robert E. Howard home was chosen as a locale because of REH Days and the number of people who come to visit the house from all around the world. At the official Ingress website there is a brief video that explains the game (see the above video).

The overall concept looks very interesting. Apparently there are a group of people called The Resistance whose sole aim is to debunk the game's theory/concept about these places. Each player can go to the chosen key places that are considered possible portals and visit. So if you choose to play the game it can take you all across the country. I thought it was pretty cool that the Howard home was chosen as one of the portals. And found the whole concept quite interesting, to say the least. Wiki has a whole article on the game if you're interested.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Spoils from the REH Days Silent Auction

At Friday night's REH Days auction and dinner I fought hard for several items. Most of the items I bid on were won by deeper pockets than mine. And I actually mourned the loss of a few of those items. Nonetheless, I did manage to walk away from the auction with these . . .

A collection of Leo Grin's The Cimmerian. The set I won was from 2005 (an early set); Vol 2. Nos. 1-6 plus the Cimmerian awards issue for 2005. If you're not familiar with Grin's Cimmerian scholarly fanzine then let me explain why I am so excited about getting these issues. First, Leo Grin is a first rate Howard Head. His blog, The Cimmerian, which ended it's tenure on June 11th, 2010 was one of the best REH blogs on the internet. I was sad to see it end. If you have never seen the blog, then let me be the first to tell you that spending an entire day perusing it's contents is a day well spent. Second, The Cimmerian booklets contain some of the best earlier secondary writings from Howard scholars and fans (e.g. Rob Roehm, Gary Romeo, Steven Tompkins, Don Herron, Rusty Burke, Chris Gruber, Mark Finn, Leo Grin, Charles Hoffman, Bill Cavalier, etc.), along with excellent pictures, illustrations, poetry, prose, and maps. The books themselves are bound and printed on first rate paper along with excellent typeset. They are a fine addition to any Howard fan's collection. So, despite the fact that I lost other items, these did a fine job of making up for those losses. I'm very pleased to add these to my Howard collection.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936)

Today marks the 77th anniversary of the death of Robert E. Howard. 

I raise my glass to REH a wonderful writer of prose and poetry. Cheers!

Monday, June 10, 2013

REH Days 2013

My second year at REH Days in Cross Plains, Texas was, I think, better than last year's event. Tim Truman was the guest of honor. While all the panels were good, I enjoyed the ones with Tim the best (esp. REH in the Comics).

I've been a fan of Truman's work for some time now, especially his art work on Grim Jack. I also had several opportunities to chat with him about various influential authors. Aside from Robert E. Howard, I discovered that Samuel R. Delaney and George R.R. Martin were two other authors Tim told me had a pretty big influence on his work over the years. We discussed Samuel R. Delaney at some length. I had read Delaney's work titled Dhalgren back around 1978/79. I loved that particular work. Tim recommended The Einstein Intersection; a book I own but have not read. I have since picked it up and begun reading it.

Joe R. Lansdale was a surprise visitor to this year's REH Days. He declared he was there because of his old friend Tim Truman. I am only familiar with some of Lansdale's comic book work—I've never actually read any of his novels/fiction. It was interesting to hear his various views—he has a lot of them—on Robert E. Howard and other authors, comic books, etc.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. I met a few new people, made a few new friends, saw some people I knew from last year's event, ate some great food, and listened to some excellent discussions. Below are some pictures I took while there. If you've never been to REH Days in Cross Plains, you should attend next year; especially if you are a Howard fan. It is well worth the time and money spent.

Above is Robert E. Howard's bedroom and work space.

A front view of the REH Home and Museum

The pavilion next to the REH House and Museum

The first panel discussion on Friday, June 7th. (left to right: Tim Truman, Al Harron, Jeff Shanks, and Mark Finn)

Joe Lansdale & Tim Truman

A Dark Horse Comics promotional poster that was up for auction at the Celebration Dinner & Silent Auction Friday evening June 7th.

Another Dark Horse Comics promotional poster.

Inside the Howard home.

Inside the Cross Plains Public Library.

Tim Truman speaking at Friday night's Celebration Dinner & Silent Auction.

The sunset BBQ at the Caddo Peak Ranch.