The other day, I was ribbing my friend TomatoMan that there are other fantasy authors out there besides "Tolkien": and all of the folks that are... attempting to follow in his footsteps, to put it charitably. Over the last year or two, I've been making a conscious effort to acquaint myself with more of these authors (as well as their science fiction counterparts). Such luminaries as Lovecraft (of whom I've been a fan for years), Moorcock, Lieber, Zelazny, Burroughs, and Howard. I've got a lot of stuff still to plow throw, but it's been a blast. (Lieber, especially, in an absolute gem!) "Robert E. Howard":, and his Conan stories in particular, have been something of a sticking point. I've read all kinds of things about how his work has been edited, rewritten, "pastiched":, folded, spindled and mutilated over the years. Mostly by well-meaning friends, but mutilated all the same. I'd heard good things about his material, though, and have wanted to read some of the Conan stuff for ages. This morning, I discovered that "Del Rey": books is actually publishing the original, unadulterated tales here in the US. Until December of last year, when volume one was published, you could only read that material -- restored to its original form -- in "British": "editions": In fact, I had those books in my shopping cart at before I discovered "the Del Rey edition": had come out. So when we went to the mall today to run a couple of errands, I bought it. It's a 496-page trade paperback. So far I've just read the introduction. But I'm really looking forward to diving in. (And "volume two": comes out in November. Which will give me something to read while I continue to wait for the next George RR Martin book....)