“The Fire of Asshurbanipal” was originally written early in the 1930’s like a straight adventure story. There is no record of where this version of the story was submitted. REH later revised the story to have a supernatural ending. The version with the supernatural ending was submitted to WEIRD TALES after Howard’s death by his father. Glenn Lord discovered the original (straight adventure story) version of the story in a trunk and it was first published in THE HOWARD COLLECTOR #16, Spring 1972.

“The Fire of Asshurbanipal” was first published in Weird Tales in December 1936, almost six months after Howard’s death. It is one of three completed stories that the author’s father, Isaac Howard, submitted to Weird Tales after his son’s death (this is according to a letter he sent to Howard’s literary agent, Otis Adelbert Kline). The other two stories are “Dig Me No Grave,” and “The Black Hound of Death.” All saw print in the Weird Tales in late 1936 and early 1937. However, “The Fire of Asshurbanipal” may have been written earlier, possibly around the time of “The Black Stone” in late 1930 (both reference the name ‘Xuthltan’) when Howard was experimenting with H. P. Lovecraft’s themes and concepts. A second, non-fantasy version of the story exists, which suggests to me that Howard was considering selling it to Adventure or a similar magazine.

Considered part of the Cthulhu Mythos.

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Sources and links:

The First time I met Robert E. Howard by Ryan Harvey published on Black Gate. Howard Works.

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