Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Howard's Horrors: Sea Curse!

"Then the days grew shorter, the nights longer and darker, and the cold grey tides came sweeping along the bleak strands, bearing the rain and sleet of the sharp east breezes." - Robert E. Howard

Hey all, Luke here! Just finished another REH story, Sea Curse, before the Thanksgiving Weekend (and before I jump into Queen of the Black Coast). Have you read Sea Curse? If not, check it out for free on Project Gutenberg

Here's Tim Seeley's interpretation of ol' Moll and her fair niece...

First published in Weird Tales (1928), this is a morality tale that drips with inevitability. The story is all plot; there's no dilly-dallying on any character. In short, there are actions and their are consequences. And good for that, as the main drive of the plot is to see exactly how Kulrek and Lie-Lip will meet their demise. Given this, Sea Curse bears little resemblance to the other horrific stories I've read by REH. There are no Lovecraftian draperies, nor evidence of heroism, just a horrible deed followed by a horrible curse. REH's prose bounces between colloquial sea-faring speech and almost lyrical punctuations of text setting the tone. For me, it was this unsettling tone that carried the story along.

Aside from the aforementioned comic adaptation by Seeley in Robert E. Howard's Savage Sword (by Dark Horse Comics), I've not found much in the way of commentary / criticism regarding this story. Which is a shame, as I heartily recommend this story... Especially if you are looking for a shorter weird tale to rip through. If you've read this story, what did you think? Sound off in the comments section below!

With that, I'll leave you with the cover art of an edition of The Saga of Faring Town (including Sea Curse) published by the REH Foundation back in 2009. Happy Thanksgiving!!!