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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A last! A big book of REH horror!
Here, at last, is a hefty trade edition containing the bulk of Robert E. Howard's horror stories. Best known as an author of heroic fantasy, Howard was also a most able practitioner in the horror genre. The stories assembled here have heretofore been scattered about in a number of mass market paperbacks over the last forty years--two or three stories here, a half dozen...
Published on November 2, 2008 by Charles Hoffman

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Howardian Horror - The Good and the Bad
Before I begin this review, I want to note that I have enjoyed Robert E. Howard's fiction for a number of years, first discovering the old Ace Conan paperbacks (with the Frazetta covers) back in high school. With that said, The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard is a grand showcase of Howard's prowess at writing a scary tale, though the quality of the stories featured...
Published on October 26, 2009 by CB


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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A last! A big book of REH horror!, November 2, 2008
Here, at last, is a hefty trade edition containing the bulk of Robert E. Howard's horror stories. Best known as an author of heroic fantasy, Howard was also a most able practitioner in the horror genre. The stories assembled here have heretofore been scattered about in a number of mass market paperbacks over the last forty years--two or three stories here, a half dozen or so there. It is indeed a blessing to get them all between two covers in a quality edition. Here is a volume that belongs in the core collection of every serious horror enthusiast.

Howard's horror stories fall roughly into several categories based on theme and setting. There are those with a regional southwestern setting ("The Horror from the Mound," "Old Garfield's Heart") as well as others set in the haunted piney woods region of the deep South ("Pigeons from Hell," "Black Canaan"). Memorable stories with a Celtic backdrop include "The Cairn on the Headland" and "Dermod's Bane." We also find tales of the horrid "little people" that abound in Celtic lore. Stories utilizing Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos include the memorable "The Black Stone" and adventures of occult researchers Conrad and Kirowan. Sometimes these categories overlap: "The Valley of the Lost" is a little people story with a US southwestern setting, for example.

Howard enthusiasts will debate, as we are wont to do, some of the inclusions and omissions to this volume. "Worms of the Earth" has already appeared in TWO other Del Rey Howard volumes. But then it is arguably Howard's finest story, and I dare say as good as any story written. It deserves to be as well known as "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Dunwich Horror." I wish I could get as excited over "Rattle of Bones," however.

STORIES I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE SEEN INCLUDED: "The Hyena" was the first horror story Howard sold to Weird Tales (the first horror story he sold anywhere, for that matter). It forshadows the controversial "Black Canaan" in the sense that supernatural horrors reflect racial and sexual tensions. "The Moon of Zembabwei" and "Black Hound of Death" are two good "piney woods" stories that were left out, but the "piney woods" story is still well represented here. "Black Wind Blowing" was one of Howard's contributions to the "weird menace" or "shudder" pulps; the plot is outlandish, but the atmosphere of horror and impending doom is impressive. "The People of the Black Coast" is Howard's most Lovecraftian tale in some respects. Note that I said "Lovecraftian", NOT "Cthuloid." There's no Von Juntz, no Nameless Cults, none of the Mythos trappings, just a stark depiction of hapless humans as the prey of utterly alien but superior beings. "The People of the Black Coast is as much science fiction as horror, but then so is Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness."

I thought the books illustrations were very nice, and as always Rusty Burke provides an informative introduction. In a world where contemporary horror is presently dominated by chicks' overheated erotic fantasies about their imaginary vampire boyfriends, The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard is like a Godsend.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scary, October 29, 2008
By 
Jay "SarahsJay" (Douglasville, GA, USA) - See all my reviews
For the first time I'm aware of, a systematic effort has been made to collect the majority of R E Howard's work in the horror genre. Surprisingly given the sheer number of stories and poems here, the overall quality of the volume is quite high. Of course there are a few surprising omissions here. Skullface, Valley of the Worm, Cobra in the Dream, and Grisly Horror are unaccountably absent, as is Queen of the Black Coast, one of the more horrifying entries in the Conan series. I guess these were probably omitted because the book is rather lengthy although as above noted, the quality of the stories is quite high. Standouts here are Wolfshead, Black Canaan, Hoofed Thing, Thing on the Roof, Hills of the Dead, and Pigeons from Hell. The poems tend to have even greater moody atmospherics than the stories--not surprising given Howard's brilliance as a poet. Even the artwork is superb. Here though I have a major quibble. There simply isn't enough of it. While the previous entries in the ongoing Del Rey series of Howard's work were laden with artwork, this has one illustration at the beginning of each story and in some a full-page plate. While the artwork is beautiful and magnificently captures the spirit of the stories, several key scenes are missing although what we are presented with is simply amazing. (Personally I would have liked to see the artist's representation of that savage beauty, the Bride of Damballah, from Black Canaan.) Nonetheless despite my wish for more in this current volume, the book is well done and shows a broad swath of Howard's ability as a horror writer. I hope more are to come in this remarkable series of books.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Howardian Horror - The Good and the Bad, October 26, 2009
Before I begin this review, I want to note that I have enjoyed Robert E. Howard's fiction for a number of years, first discovering the old Ace Conan paperbacks (with the Frazetta covers) back in high school. With that said, The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard is a grand showcase of Howard's prowess at writing a scary tale, though the quality of the stories featured herein varies from one extreme (fantastic) to the other (downright awful).

Here you will find a large number of tales, poems, and story fragments (only a few of the latter) in which Howard writes of werewolves, vampires, Lovecraftian horrors, sorcery, lost and abominable civilizations still grasping for life, and even traditional ghost and revenant yarns. It, however, is a mixed bag at best; included are two Solomon Kane tales, the most famous of the Bran Mak Morn stories ("Worms of the Earth"), his best-known horror tale ("Pigeons from Hell"), and many more. While it is not made clear by the book, careful readers will no doubt find that the stories are placed in this book as they were originally published - the quality of the writing, pacing, and action increases the further into the book you get.

It has been said that Howard's writing was often formulaic, and indeed you'll find this is the case with about 55% of the stories here; with some of them (most notably "The Hoofed Thing" and "The Noseless Thing") you can figure out the plot from the first couple of paragraphs. However, other stories ("Delenda Est," "The Thing from the Mound," for instance) are expertly written and showcase Howard's deep interest in history, both ancient and local. Howard's writing really shows a spark when he includes locales familiar to him, such as the swamps bordering Louisiana and the rocky lands of his native Texas - here his stories take on a truer, more visceral cast that really sets them apart. His poetry is also exceptional - dark and atmospheric, with visions and literary combinations that will remain with you. Cthulhu Mithos fans will not be disappointed, either, as such Lovecraft-inspired stories as "The Thing on the Roof" and "The Black Stone" are also included. I would recommend this book for the fan of horror, but most especially for those interested in Howard's writing beyond Conan, etc.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE SCARIEST BOOK YOU'LL EVER READ!!!, December 19, 2008
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This book is outstanding has more than 50 hair raising stories and 523 pages of pure terror! Robert E. Howard is best known for writing Conan, Kull, Bran Mak Morn, Solomon Kane and other famous characters. I was elated to get this book as there are some stories I've never read before! The most chilling story that gave me nightmares is Pigeons From Hell. Read it late at night by candlelight and if you here someone whistling - it's too late! The Stranger on the Ground got to me, too. They're all excellent!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Howard Was a Master of Horror as Well!, March 7, 2009
We all know Howard as the creator of Conan, Solomon Kane, King Kull and the virtual creator of Swords & Sorcery. But Howard was also an accomplished horror writer. As a friend of H.P. Lovecraft, Howard created his own Cthuhlu Mythos stories for pure horror tales, and also frequently incorporated the concepts into his fantasy tales as well. Howard's horror tales are usually quite short, 8 - 12 pages and are often told in first-person perspective. Howard's horror tales are remarkably diverse; from gothic European style stories to the dark folklore of the Deep South, and everything in between.

Howard touches on concepts created by the great Welsh writer Arthur Machen about ancient mythological, long forgotten, in tales like "The Little People" and "People of the Dark". He offers his own take on Lovecraft's Cthulhu Myhos in "The Black Stone", "The Haunter of the Ring", and "The Thing on the Roof". Some of these stories feature his well-known characters such as the Puritan adventurer Solomon Kane who battles voodoo in "The Hills of the Dead".

If you only know Howard as the creator of Conan, you must check this book out to see just how talented a writer he truly was. These are fantastic and underrated horror stories from a master!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for any fans of horror literature..., September 11, 2011
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Robert E. Howard is most often remembered as the father of the Sword and Sorcery genre where he made his legend through the exploits of his seminal creation Conan the Barbarian, and lesser knowns Kull, Brak Mak Morn, and Solomon Kane. But besides being a master of weaving pulse pounding fantasy and adventure stories once found in the pages of the pulps, Howard also conjured dark tales of terror to rival his one-time friend and fellow Weird Tales alum, H.P. Lovecraft. This collection features some of the finest horror tales I have ever read, and I am delighted to say it has become one of my favorite short story collections. And little did I suspect of the scope and magnitude of Howard's talents, for although his life was tragically cut short (he died at the age of thirty from an apparent suicide) he managed to produce a prodigious and versatile body of work of the highest caliber to say the least. Soon after finishing this brilliant collection, I was so hungry for more of Howard's imagination and world weaving, that I took a trip to the local bookstore and picked up another REH collection: The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian. Although I will list my favorites from this collection (and you may comment later if you agree with my selection), I will not spoil your reading by discussing plots elements of any kind or giveaway story details... I dare not rob you of the thrill and excitement of unlocking and discovering the many jewels and hidden gems awaiting you in this vault of treasures. My favorites are: "Wolfshead", "Sea Curse", "The Little People", "Out of the Deep", "Restless Waters", "The Shadow of the Beast", "The Hills of the Dead", "Dig Me No Grave", "The Children of the Night", "The Black Stone", "The Thing on the Roof", "The Horror from the Mound", "People of the Dark", "Delenda Est", "The Cairn on the Headland", "Worms of the Earth", "The Valley of the Lost", "The Hoofed Thing", "The Dwellers Under the Tomb", "The House of Arabu", "The Man on the Ground", "Old Garfield's Heart", "Kelly the Conjure-Man", "Black Canaan", "The Haunter of the Ring", "Pigeons from Hell", "The Dead Remember", and "The Fire of Asshurbanipal".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Howard yarns, July 8, 2009
By 
Steve Missal (Scottsdale, Arizona United States) - See all my reviews
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If you like horror, and you like Howard's writing style, then you'll love this collection of stories. Great fun, especially the Pigeons classic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what it sounds like, April 19, 2009
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You get what you pay for with this good collection of suspenseful and horrifying fictions. R. E. Howard knew precisely how to get one's blood pumping and how to freeze it in the veins.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible - the imagery is amazing!, November 9, 2010
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I happened upon this anthology, and I'm so glad I did! Robert Howard's incredible descriptive detail plays out wonderful, dark images in the reader's mind.

I ate this book up like candy - every horrifying detail is so deliciously and delightfully worded - and I love Howard's ever-brave lead characters.

A MUST for every horror and fantasy buff!! I can't wait to devour more of Howard's books.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just Conan..., May 24, 2009
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Robert E Howard will always be associated with Conan, but he wrote so much more. This book demonstrates that he could pen a pretty damn good horror story, too, and entertain you along the way. Some of the stories are in the same vein as his friend H P Lovecraft, so if you are a Cthuhu fan, you really should look into this book. The price is very reasonable, and the book is a good thick volumn that can travel with you and keep you spellbound for days. Great collection!
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The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard
The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard by Robert E. Howard (Audio CD - March 30, 2010)
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