Category Archives: Robert E Howard

I Made the REH Foundation Awards Prelim List

Howard_FoundationPlaqueVery much to my pleasant surprise, my name has popped up on the preliminary list for the 2017 Robert E. Howard Foundation awards.

The Cimmerian—Outstanding Achievement, Essay (Online)

(Essays must have made their first public published appearance in the previous calendar year and be substantive scholarly essays on the life and/or work of REH. Short blog posts, speeches, reviews, trip reports, and other minor works do not count.)

BYRNE, BOB – “Steve Harrison: REH’s Private Detective” – REH: Two Gun Raconteur Blog

The Venarium — Emerging Scholar

(The following candidates have recently begun making significant contributions to Howard scholarship through publications and/or presentations over the past few years. Previous winners are not eligible)

BYRNE, BOB – Contributed to TGR Blog and organized “Discovering REH” series for Black Gate

I was a Finalist for The Black River – Special Achievement award last year for my efforts in organizing the ‘Discovering REH’ series. As I said all along, the popularity and success of that series was due to the excellent essays being written by our guest posters.

I’m flattered to even be considered for The Venarium and happy that at least a few folks like my Steve Harrison essay. I’m a huge REH fan, and I’m rather critical of his Harrison works, which makes it kind of ironic.

Whether I make it on to the Final List or not, I’m just happy to have my name show up in REH circles. I’m working, as time allows, on an essay that discusses “The God in the Bowl,” which is usually considered one of the weaker Conan stories, as a solid police procedural. The nominations might be the kick in the pants I need to get going on it!

I mostly write about mystery stuff, but I’ve done some pieces on fantasy and sword and sorcery, which I have been reading for going on four decades. And Robert E. Howard is simply the best writer in the genre that I’ve found yet.

Steve Harrison – REH’s PI Gets Mixed Reviews

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 checkHoward_HarrisonCasebooked 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 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.