Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Man Called Kharrn

The new anthology SNAFU: Black Ops dropped in Ebook form this Wednesday. It contains 'Black Tide', a story by James A. Moore and me, which features Jim's demon hunter/occult detective Jonathan Crowley teamed up with my character Kharrn. Kharrn is basically a 'Clonan' like Lin Carter's Thongor or Gardner Fox's Kothar. He's just still around.

I get a lot of questions about Kharrn. Mostly people want to know just how old he is. He and Crowley teamed up before in the WHITE NOISE PRESS Chapbook, 'What Rough Beast', which takes place in the Old West, and there were hints in the story that the two men had met before even earlier in the past. The answer to his age is really really old.

In his original conception, Kharrn was a time traveler. I wrote one short story 'The Silent History' which is unpublished, and now no longer canon, in which Kharrn was sent forth in time to the Victorian Age seeking vengeance. Later I wrote a second story, “Sailing to Darkness” which appeared at the late lamented MOORCOCK'S MISCELLANEY in which Kharrn took a trip on Moorcock's 'Ship that sails between worlds' (With Mike's kind permission). That one showed that Kharrn occasionally traveled in other dimensions.

When it came time to use the big warrior in another story, I decided that the time travel element was too hard to keep up with, so I changed Kharrn's origin to make him an immortal. His first published appearance was in Pete Kahle's anthology WIDOWMAKERS where Kharrn teamed up with Carnacki the Ghostfinder in a story called 'The Beautiful Lady Without Pity', a Christmas Country House Ghost Story with a Barbarian. Hey, I write what I like. (It also got me a mention in that year's Year's Best Horror collection.)

Later that year, Kharrn and Crowley ran into some werewolves in 'What Rough Beast'. Jim Moore and I have another crossover in the works called 'The Doll Maker' which sees the boys facing an Eldritch menace in Victorian London.

Oh, the reason Kharrn is spelled with two 'r's is that when I wanted to use the name Kharn for my Lord of the Rings Online avatar, the name was already taken. So I added a second 'r'. I got used to typing it that way and it stuck.

Anyway, 'Black Tide' reveals the most about Kharrn's past of any story so far, so if you're curious about the immortal Barbarian, give it a read.


Keith West said...

I preordered this book, and I see I will need to move it up in the stack.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Thanks, Keith! Hope you like the story.

Anonymous said...

There's something comforting about the fact that there is at least one 'Clonan', "like Lin Carter's Thongor or Gardner Fox's Kothar", still out there with stories being told of his adventures.

More than once I've heard modern fantasy fans lament the presence of barbarian heroes, cluttering up the fantasy landscape with their swashbuckling antics, heroic battles, mighty thews, bloody broadswords, and furry loincloths, but I'm not seeing them at all.
It's been more than three decades since we had Thongor, Kothar, Kyrik, Brak, Ironjaw, the Berserker, and all the others to kick around.

Long may Kharrn tread the page, both paper and digital.


Keith West said...

I agree with John. We need more barbarians.

Paul R. McNamee said...

More barbarians. Check.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Thanks, John, Keith, and Paul. I'll try and keep Kharrn active. I'll mention that another of my 'Clonans' is due for a comeback soon too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Charles,

I don’t know if you’ll remember me. I was Kirowan on MMM. Glad to see you haven’t abandoned Kharrn.

Just want to restate here what I said over at the Miscellany, when it was still active, that I enjoyed reading both The Silent History and Sailing Into Darkness. Hope others will also get a chance to enjoy those yarns.

Did you ever decide to develop the test concept you shared with us for Kharrn where he teamed up with a modern day lady cop? As I said back then, you were building an interesting rapport and dynamic between your two leads. Always thought there was more potential in that team up.

I still think you should try a two-fisted boxing pastiche with Kharrn in it, though I pity the guys that’d have to go against him. Kind of like tussling a larger Tyson on speed or, well, a certain Cimmerian of everyone’s acquaintance.

All best.


Charles R. Rutledge said...

Certainly I remember you, Kirowan. Kharrn and Lady Cop Jennifer Grail appear in a story I just wrote, but can't say where it will appear yet, so yep, that concept is very much alive.

I might get around to an REH style boxing yarn at some point. I recall you did a great job writing one over at the Miscellany.

Glad you found me over here. The Dread Pirate Nat Lamb and I recently reconnected on Facebook.

Anonymous said...

That's great news Charles. Keep us updated.

I thought your previous team ups with Kharrn were cool too, btw.

It's also cool to be able to talk online with you again.

Anonymous said...

Whoops. That was me, Kirowan...