Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Kindle, a Barbarian, and an Ancient Evil

One of the nice things about owning a Kindle is the tons of pulp-era fiction available at little or no cost. It means I get to regularly re-visit my favorite stories or read stuff I've never run across before. Sometimes, it means I finally get to catch up on reading a story by a favorite author that I've managed to miss in the past.

That just happened with Robert E Howard's "Valley of the Worm." It's actually a fairly well-known story among his fans, so I'm a little embarrassed that I've never read it before. But I finally have and it's a really good one. It's about a prehistoric barbarian and his battle with a huge and immortal monster.  There is a truly epic battle at the tale's climax.

When Howard was at his best, his command of the English language and his ability to find just the right words to carry a story along was almost without peer in the pulp world. This story is indeed one of his best and works quite well as both an adventure tale and a horror tale. H.P. Lovecraft's influence on Howard is really apparent here. In fact, though I don't believe the story was intended to be part of Lovecraft's Cthulu cycle, it could easily be included in it.

For some edge-of-your-seat scares and great action, read the story for yourself:


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