Saturday, July 3, 2010

El Borak

I just started reading a collection of some of Robert E.Howard's lesser known adventure stories, El Borak and Other Desert Adventure Tales. El Borak is the name the locals gave to the hero of the majority of the stories, Francis Xavier Gordon, a Texas gunslinger who finds himself in the wilds of Afghanistan.

So far, the stories are very good. I had always avoided Howard's 'lesser' works, assuming they weren't as good as the Conan or Solomon Kane stories, but his writing is actually very consistent in quality. I think a lot of his creations fell by the wayside since they were based on standard pulp tropes (explorers, sailors, boxers, cowboys, etc.) that are considered dated by today's standards, and not because they were poorly written.


Taranaich said...

Believe me, many of Howard's best stories are only "lesser" in popularity, not quality. It's possible one might consider some of the stories dated, but I'd also suggest that it's because they aren't Sword-and-Sorcery. Apart from Conan, the most famous Howard creations are Kane, Kull and Bran Mak Morn - S&S characters. A shame, since there's a lot of gold to be found.

For a good cross-section of the best Howard stories, I reccommend the two "Best of Robert E. Howard" volumes from Del Rey, "Crimson Shadows" and "Grim Lands." They feature pretty much all the essential Howard tales, and are an excellent starting point into others.

Pav said...

Thanks for stopping by.

I definitely plan on picking up more of the Del Rey REH collections - the ones I have are very well done.