I was about ten years old when I read my first Robert E. Howard story. It was about a stern, grim and very determined man named Solomon Kane. He was awsome! Rescuing girls and fighting vampires, ghosts and evil witch-doctors. Okay, so the stories aren’t great literature but for a child facinated by vampires and such they were magical.
Robert E. Howard was the author behind Conan the Barbarian and wrote several short stories and novellas for magazines such as Weird Tales. The Solomon Kane stories were written between 1929 to 1931 and they often took place in Africa. Now, Howard’s portrayal of the African people Kane meets is, frankly, racist. They are often described as unintelligent savage brutes. It’s horrible and I suspect Howard never sat foot in Africa himself.
But aside from Howard’s narrow-minded view of the African people the stories does have some quality to it, though it is hard to pinpoint what it is. They often lack an overall plot but Howard’s strength is his language – the way he describes the landscape Solomon Kane traverses… It’s quite beautifully written.
Not surprising Solomon Kane has been turned into a movie, with the amazing James Purfoy as Kane. And man, he brings the character to life! The movie has the same eerie quality and beauty that the stories have and it gives a more indeepth look at Kane and his past. I adore it :) It made me re-read the old Solomon Kane stories and it has inspired me to try and write one myself.
If you haven’t seen the Solomon Kane movie then DO IT!!! :)