Robert E. Howard and Occam’s Razor.

As I write this, I am troubled by the friction caused by the trailing of my fingers across my chin, reclined rather than… Clined? Quite possibly. Either way, I’m not holding the classic Thinker’s pose, nor am I holding a beard.

Last week was parents’ evening for year seven – a particularly eager year – and so I was driven to shave the “designer stubble” as my girlfriend terms it (or “wizard’s beard” as I’d like it to be retrospectively monickered) and cut my hair.

Despite being better at it than my father, I have never been excessively hirsuit. That being said, I’m finding I have to shave with concerning regularity to retain the James Bond look. And so I think to Conan, and thus comes the Fantasy Conundrum of the Day*:

Fantasy Conundrum of the Day*:
Why does King Conan have a proper King’s beard, and yet Not-yet-King Conan have a smooth jawline? He is never seen to shave, nor grow any hair.

A somewhat silly notion nonetheless, albeit influenced by my current reading** of his creator’s horror stories. Robert E. Howard’s supernatural fiction shows some remove from the explicit fantasy tropes of his Conan or Solomon Kane stories, but the same tangible evil and predation. The stories read closely like his fantasy, but despite their spread across continents and eras, are ‘closer’ to the reader in the manner of their first person recounts.

The stories are good – exciting and unsettling, with a prominence of serpents, and they will put hairs on your chest. Face.

* TM

** Well, not right now. The book itself is at home, on the dining table in my library

Robert E. Howard and Occam’s Razor.

3 thoughts on “Robert E. Howard and Occam’s Razor.

  1. I can get the designer stubble thing down no worries. The beard just won’t happen though. It’s like the hair grows out those first 2-3 days and then stops, some chemical process maybe saying ‘that’s about it mate, that’s about all the beard priveleges we’re allowing you.’ Damn beard priveleges.

    1. archaism says:

      I’m not sure if it’s a secondary, thickening and waiting stage. It’s probably insufficient privileges.

  2. I’ve tried coaxing the hair out also, with the promise of aloe vera face balm. Will it listen? It will not.

    You know Howard didn’t have these kinds of hassles, right? Lovecraft though, I do wonder if he ever could make the five o’clock shadow… he would need to be in the light for that to be noticable though. The whole idea of Lovecraft holding a razor blade, whether to his own or someone else’s face, does send something of a chill down one’s spine…

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