Phenderson Djèlí Clark details H. P. Lovecraft's racism (earlier version with links to recommended reading/listening). Daniel José Older situates HPL's racism within a more general aesthetics of disgust. Silvia Moreno-Garcia engages with racism in both HPL and Robert E. Howard through work such as co-editing a multicultural issue (pdf) of Innsmouth Magazine (formerly Innsmouth Free Press) and a new Sword & Mythos anthology. Balogun Ojetade explains how confronting racism in HPL and REH spurred his participation in the sub-genre of Sword and Soul.
Before the internet, nerds communicated through Amateur Press Associations (APAs). Members wrote and photocopied their individual 'zines on a subject, then mailed them to a central mailer, who collated and mailed the completed sets to all the members. The earliest APAs were founded by printers and amateur journalists. The National Amateur Press Association is the oldest, founded in 1876. Later APAs were often the province of science fiction and comic book fans. They are still around [pdf]. A lot more inside... [more inside]
The art of monsters with Guy Davis.
Although it's commonplace nowadays to assume that J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings was the primary source of inspiration for Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax when they created the world's first tabletop roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons, a careful examination of the game suggests otherwise... James Maliszewski on The Books That Founded D&D. Some disagreement.
- Robert E. Howard-themed fantasy blog The Cimmerian posts a different take on a holiday classic.
- Mystery Science Theater presents A Child's Christmas in Space, A Patrick Swazye Christmas, Merry Christmas (If That's Okay), a critique of Christmas movies and shows, and a little yuletide hysteria.
- Tom Lehrer: "A Christmas Carol"
- Futurama: The Elves' Christmas Song
- Finally, there's The Colbert Report's book-burning Yule Log, both on the web and downloadable for Windows and Macintosh.
Why Conan the barbarian isn't just some big dumb-dumb.
Sixty-five years ago, Robert E. Howard took his own life. Now, I can't really argue that his stories weren't often sexist, racist, what have you, although I would point out the heroic women who appear in various of his stories and the fact that to Howard, it was what actions you took rather than your birth that made you a person. But no matter what stance you take on his views or politics, I think it's safe to say that the man wrote some of the most ripping yarns ever. In an effort to expose the world to his non-Conan work (which often exceeded in quality the tales of his more famous creation) here and here are some good links, and here is an excellent Kull site that has all sorts of information on Howard's less famous but more textured barbarian king, Kull of Atlantis. I've been a fan of Howard for years now, and while he certainly wasn't a subtle writer, his work has a kind of sledgehammer power I envy. It may not be for everyone, but I think it's certainly worth a look.