While I’m a mystery guy, I’ve been reading fantasy since grade school (and that was a LONG time ago now). And though I came to Conan, and then the rest of Robert E. Howard’s works, relatively late, I have tried to make up for lost ground, though.
Being both a fan of Howard and of the hardboiled genre, I checked out his tough as nails detective, Steve Harrison. I was underwhelmed. Harrison is not among Howard’s best known or most popular characters. Conan, Kull, El Borak, Solomon Kane, even Sailor Steve Costigan: they all have higher profiles than Harrison. Heck – Breckenridge Elkins is probably ahead of Harrison on the list (there’s an REH series that I can live without).
William Patrick Maynard is a fellow blogger over at BlackGate.com. He’s currently at work on his third authorized Fu Manchu novel. Bill has a new post up today at THE Robert E. Howard blog, REH: Two Gun Raconteur. It’s Two Gun’s third post this year about Harrison.
2016 kicked off on January 1st with Dierk Guenther’s Gumshoes, Gats and Gals: Robert E. Howard’s Detective and Crime Stories. It covers a lot of ground and looks at the crime and mystery genres, but Harrison is a key part of it.
Some folks say that April 7th was a sign that the quality of the blog is slipping, as my own Steve Harrison: REH’s Private Detective appeared. I think that Howard is the finest writer of fantasy fiction the genre has ever seen. But I’m not as keen on his Harrison stories.
In today’s post, Steve Harrison Reconsidered, Bill offers a more positive view of the stories. He and I have some of the same thoughts, but with different results.
If you’re a fan of the Harrison stories, or even if you’ve never come across them, click on the links above and check out these three essays about one of Robert E. Howard’s characters. As far as I’m concerned, almost any story Howard wrote is worth reading at least once. Though I have to admit, the poetry I’ve not pursued very hard.