Beyond the Black River

Overview

"Beyond the Black River" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine, v. 25, nos. 5-6, May-June 1935. The story was republished in the collections King Conan (Gnome Press, 1953) and Conan the Warrior (Lancer Books, 1967). It has more recently been published in the anthology The Mighty Swordsmen (Lancer Books, 1970), and the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Three ...
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Beyond The Black River (Illustrated)

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Overview

"Beyond the Black River" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine, v. 25, nos. 5-6, May-June 1935. The story was republished in the collections King Conan (Gnome Press, 1953) and Conan the Warrior (Lancer Books, 1967). It has more recently been published in the anthology The Mighty Swordsmen (Lancer Books, 1970), and the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Three (1935-1936) (Del Rey, 2005). It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan fighting the savage Hyborian Picts in the unsettled lands beyond the infamous Black River. Due to its unique elements and atypical frontier setting, the story is considered an undisputed classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his best tales.

Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 - June 11, 1936) was an American author who wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. He is well known for his character Conan the Barbarian and is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre.

Howard was born and raised in the state of Texas. He spent most of his life in the town of Cross Plains with some time spent in nearby Brownwood. A bookish and intellectual child, he was also a fan of boxing and spent some time in his late teens bodybuilding, eventually taking up amateur boxing. From the age of nine he dreamed of becoming a writer of adventure fiction but did not have real success until he was 23. Thereafter, until his death at the age of 30 by suicide, Howard's writings were published in a wide selection of magazines, journals, and newspapers, and he had become successful in several genres. Although a Conan novel was nearly published into a book in 1934, his stories never appeared in book form during his lifetime. The main outlet for his stories was in the pulp magazine Weird Tales.

Howard's suicide and the circumstances surrounding it have led to varied speculation about his mental health. His mother had been ill with tuberculosis his entire life, and upon learning that she had entered a coma from which she was not expected to wake, he walked out to his car and shot himself in the head. In the pages of the Depression-era pulp magazine Weird Tales, Howard created Conan the Barbarian, a character whose cultural impact has been compared to such icons as Tarzan, Count Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Batman, and James Bond. With Conan and his other heroes, Howard created the genre now known as sword and sorcery, spawning many imitators and giving him a large influence in the fantasy field. Howard remains a highly read author, with his best works still reprinted.

Howard spent his late teens working odd jobs around Cross Plains; all of which he hated. In 1924, Howard returned to Brownwood to take a stenography course at Howard Payne College, this time boarding with his friend Lindsey Tyson instead of his mother. Howard would have preferred a literary course but was not allowed to take one for some reason. Biographer Mark Finn suggests that his father refused to pay for such a non-vocational education. In the week of Thanksgiving that year, and after years of rejection slips and near acceptances, he finally sold a short caveman tale titled "Spear and Fang", which netted him the sum of $16 and introduced him to the readers of a struggling pulp called Weird Tales.

Now that his career in fiction had begun, Howard dropped out of Howard Payne College at the end of the semester and returned to Cross Plains. Shortly afterwards, he received notice that another story, "The Hyena," had been accepted by Weird Tales. During the same period, Howard made his first attempt to write a novel, a loosely autobiographical book modeled on Jack London's Martin Eden and titled Post Oaks & Sand Roughs.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781500658557
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/26/2014
  • Pages: 108
  • Product dimensions: 5.06 (w) x 7.81 (h) x 0.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936) was an American author who wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. He is well known for his character Conan the Barbarian and is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre.

Howard was born and raised in the state of Texas. He spent most of his life in the town of Cross Plains with some time spent in nearby Brownwood. A bookish and intellectual child, he was also a fan of boxing and spent some time in his late teens bodybuilding, eventually taking up amateur boxing. From the age of nine he dreamed of becoming a writer of adventure fiction but did not have real success until he was 23. Thereafter, until his death at the age of 30 by suicide, Howard's writings were published in a wide selection of magazines, journals, and newspapers, and he had become successful in several genres. Although a Conan novel was nearly published into a book in 1934, his stories never appeared in book form during his lifetime. The main outlet for his stories was in the pulp magazine Weird Tales.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 20, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    ROBERT E. HOWARD = THE BEST STORY TELLER EVER!!!

    "Beyond the Black River is one of my favorite stories of REH. Scholars say it was orginally written for Kull in By This Axe I rule and modified with Conan later on. As always REH medaphoric stories tell something about him and in this case scholars agree that a young Balthus is REH and a dog he finds along the way Slasher is Patches REH's only dog he ever had. Excerp from the book, A slight sound ahead of him jumped his heart into his throat and Conan's sword gleamed in the air. He lowered it when a dog, a great, gaunt, scared beast, slunk out of the bushes and stood staring at them. 'That dog belonged to a settler who tried to build his cabin on the bank of the river a few miles south of the fort,' grunted Conan. 'The Picts slipped over and killed him of course and burned his cabin. We found him dead among the embers, and the dog lying senseless among three Picts he'd killed. He was almost cut to pieces. We took him to the fort and dressed his wounds, but after he recovered he took to the woods and turned wild. What now, Slasher, are you hunting the men who killed your master?' The massive head swung side to side and his eyes glowed greenly. He did not growl or bark. Silently as a phantom he slid in behind them. 'Let him come,' muttured Conan. 'He can smell the devils before we can see them.' Balthus smiled and laid his hand caressingly on the dog's head. This story is a classic and I believe a movie should be made. It would make movie history. In fact, there are a lot of REH stories that should be made into movies. Enjoy the book and tell other people about REH. You're in for a real treat!<BR/><BR/>Also recommended: One Whole Walked Along by Novalyne Price - REH's girlfrield, Blood & Thunder, The Life & Art of REH by Mark Finn, and The Last of the Trunk and The Never Ending Hunt by Paul Herman, The Beast From The Abyss a story about cats=really good, Selected Letters of REH vol 1-3 and Poetry by Rob Roehm, Two-Gun Bob, Dark Horse Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane, SAvage Sword of Conan, Conan by Roy Thomas and Conan The Phenom, The Dark Barbarian and The Barbaric Triumph by Don Herron; Heck - type Robert E. Howard in Search and get them all. Also, The Star Rover by Jack London and The Wandering Star that has some amazing photographs and art of REH and more."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2008

    Robert E. Howard the Best Storyteller Ever.

    Beyond the Black River is one of my favorite stories of REH. Scholars say it was orginally written for Kull in By This Axe I rule and modified with Conan later on. As always REH medaphoric stories tell something about him and in this case scholars agree that a young Balthus is REH and a dog he finds along the way Slasher is Patches REH's only dog he ever had. Excerp from the book, A slight sound ahead of him jumped his heart into his throat and Conan's sword gleamed in the air. He lowered it when a dog, a great, gaunt, scared beast, slunk out of the bushes and stood staring at them. 'That dog belonged to a settler who tried to build his cabin on the bank of the river a few miles south of the fort,' grunted Conan. 'The Picts slipped over and killed him of course and burned his cabin. We found him dead among the embers, and the dog lying senseless among three Picts he'd killed. He was almost cut to pieces. We took him to the fort and dressed his wounds, but after he recovered he took to the woods and turned wild. What now, Slasher, are you hunting the men who killed your master?' The massive head swung side to side and his eyes glowed greenly. He did not growl or bark. Silently as a phantom he slid in behind them. 'Let him come,' muttured Conan. 'He can smell the devils before we can see them.' Balthus smiled and laid his hand caressingly on the dog's head. This story is a classic and I believe a movie should be made. It would make movie history. In fact, there are a lot of REH stories that should be made into movies. Enjoy the book and tell other people about REH. You're in for a real treat!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted October 10, 2010

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