Pulp podcast: A Better Robert E Howard story
Waterfront Fists is a gem of a story, all the more because it comes as a surprise from Robert E Howard.
Robert E Howard is mostly famous for his stories about Conan the Barbarian. For some of us, the Conan stories are hard to cope with as the big oaf doesn't seem to realise that if a woman is running away from him she probably doesn't want him. He is a thug of the 'see, want, have' variety. This kind of takes the glamor off his sword and sorcery tales.
"Waterfront Fists" is far more plausible. There's no sword and sorcery. Instead, it's a contemporary (to Howard) story about a sailor, Steve Costigan, who is very good at boxing, (Howard had a passion for boxing) and whose rough diamond instincts get him into trouble. His friends try to warn him how soft he is around girls, but he doesn't believe them.
The narration is superb, with a rough, tough voice that sounds like it's seen the kind of life that Costigan lives. Lines like,'"Your remarks is highly insulting, Bill," I said with my well known quiet dignity,' sounds like the kind of bombast the character is capable of when Jim Philips narrates it.
You can find it at Protecting Project Pulp, which I have a fondness for. Just click here: Waterfront Fists