I had a wee look through the templates, fiddled with the colours, and came up with something I liked. I tried to keep the background colours of the posts so they're like the old style. Let me know if it's easy enough to read. I'm also trying to figure out how to do the "click to read more" bit, though I'm having problems. Any ideas, blogger users? (EDIT: As you can see below, I've figured it out.)
The map background is a placeholder for something else I've been working on... Something rather crazy. Still trying to figure out gadgets and widgets and whosits and wotsits: I want to have a random quote generator with quotes pertinent to the blog (REH, JRRT, SF, fantasy, dinosaurs, Transformers!), as well as a random image generator. That's more phase 3, though.
Anyway, since you're here, how's about this fellow?
Beyond the Black River, by Robert E. Howard
DragonCon involved a lot of waiting in line, and what better way to spend your line-waiting time at a fantasy con than by reading Conan? Howard novels are energetic and short, and filled with vivid descriptions of monsters and magic and cool action scenes, and this one was no exception. Beyond the Black River emphasized more than most, however, the underlying racism of this generation’s fantasy (Robert E. Howard, HP Lovecraft, and Edgar Rice Burroughs), not to mention Howard’s almost neurotic love-hate relationship with barbarism. Civilization is “good” and barbarians are “bad,” except for Conan, who’s always the hero and always embodies the greatest ideals of untamed barbarian freedom…yet always in the service of civilization. It’s an odd mix, but a fascinating one, and if you’ve never read Howard you really should. I don’t know if I’d start with this one, though.
Later, after responding to David J. West's comment:
Howard portrays civilization as inherently corrupt, but barbarism as inherently evil (except for Conan). He hated civilization but could never, in my mind, escape his natural distaste for the “savages” who lived outside of it. Here was a man who could never be happy with what he had.
I must say, this is the first time I've encountered someone who seems to think that Howard was pro-civilization and anti-barbarism, to the point where he thinks Howard viewed barbarism as inherently evil. Weird, and rather interesting at the same time.