At the feet of a giant
I discovered Harold Lamb pretty late in my life, about ten years ago.
I had retrieved, as a kid, a pair of biographies written by Lamb, I had found in my grandmother’s attic. They were from my mother’s collection of young girl’s reads. I think one was Tamburlane, and the other might have been Theodora.
I don’t know what happened to those books – I guess my mother gave them away. I was not overly interested in historical biographies, at the time I liked dinosaurs.
Only much, much later I found the collections published by Bison Books and edited by Howard Andrew Jones, and it was a delight.
“Who,” my friend Claire asked, “Lamb the one of the Cossack?”
I knew, through my readings, that Harold Lamb was a great author of historical adventure, “always the scholar first, the good fictionist second” as one of his editors said, and I associated his names with Adventure magazine, that to me was possibly more iconic than Weird Tales or Astounding.
Indeed, in Italy as I grew up as a reader it was a lot easier to find information on Weird Tales and Astounding and the authors associated with those magazines, than about Adventure – and Harold Lamb, H. Bedford-Jones and even Talbot Mundy were names one heard mentioned, but rarely had the opportunity to read.
Lamb had been popular as a writer of biographies and history books about ten or fifteen years before I was born, and now was almost completely forgotten.
But in the end, thanks to the web and a growing curiosity, I was able to read these luminaries. And really, when I finally was able to read the man’s work, I must admit that his stories of the Cossack are the ones that I never really got into.
But really, Harold Lamb turned out to be the writer I needed to read in a certain moment in my life.
I am mentioning this because last night I was paid one of the greatest compliments ever when a vignette I wrote on the fly as a test of my skills (if any) for a freelancing job was compared to Lamb’s writing.
Granted, I shared it with my Patrons, and we all know that Patrons are fans, but being compared to Harold Lamb, even if for a 500-words snippet, is something that does good for the soul.
And the sort of thing that gives one ideas.
And so here I am, hard pressed to nail shut AMARNA once and forever, and now I have this idea growing, of doing a sort-of-Lamb thing, expanding that vignette.
Something called She-demon with White Hair or something.
I need to write it, you know…
Don’t you hate it when it happens?