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Fritz Leiber: World-Class Fantasist & REH Fan


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#1 Cormac

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 08:33 AM

I just finished the first of the Fafhnr and the Grey Mouser books, "Swords and Deviltry."

Let me say: I am impressed. While not as dynamic or personally violent as REH, Leiber has a gripping style, filled with detailed emotions and interesting characters. The two main characters are very human, with flaws and weaknesses, while still being powerful heroes in their own right. These guys are not as huge as REH's characters personality-wise, but they bring something to the table all their own. They are a strange but effective team. Great individuals, but together they are fantastic. Funny, sexy, and plenty of action.

Fritz Leiber is yet another underappreciated master of heroic fantasy.

I'm hooked. B)

Edited by Cormac, 16 September 2005 - 08:38 AM.

"His time was past," The Gael said. Perhaps he saw that too. But we'll carry his body to his people and tell them he died a hero, surrounded by slaughtered Picts." -Tigers of the Sea, REH

#2 Kortoso

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 04:55 PM

Yeah, I'd say that Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are second to Conan. The tales are not as dark, but they're fun, and in fact have some good humor in them.

Did you read the tale of "Issek of the Rack"? I laughed out loud. :)

#3 El Borak's Li'l Brother

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 05:31 PM

Double thumbs up, Cormac. I've read the entire series (years ago), plus Leiber's last original book, The Knight and Nave of Swords, plus the pastiche written by Leiber's chosen writer to continue the series. I enjoyed it all.
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#4 Valin

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 06:14 PM

Double thumbs up, Cormac. I've read the entire series (years ago), plus Leiber's last original book,  The Knight and Nave of Swords, plus the pastiche written by Leiber's chosen writer to continue the series. I enjoyed it all.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I thought I read all of their adventures, but I didn't know that there was a pastiche. Who wrote it and how did it compare to Leiber's works?
"He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." ... Rafael Sabatini

#5 El Borak's Li'l Brother

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 06:51 PM

Double thumbs up, Cormac. I've read the entire series (years ago), plus Leiber's last original book,? The Knight and Nave of Swords, plus the pastiche written by Leiber's chosen writer to continue the series. I enjoyed it all.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I thought I read all of their adventures, but I didn't know that there was a pastiche. Who wrote it and how did it compare to Leiber's works?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Swords Against the Shadowlands by Robin Wayne Bailey was published in 1998 and reissued in 2004. How does it compare to Leiber? Well, it's been a few years since I read it, but while I personally think Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, like Conan, work best in novella form, Bailey pulled a book-sized story off pretty good.

The story is Leiber picked Bailey to continue the series and it and future works will be written from Leiber notes. Two titles have been "forthcoming" since 1998, so who knows if there'll ever be another pastiche.
Crom!

#6 Taranaich

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 07:29 PM

It's really frustrating, but I just can't get into any of the Fafhrd/Grey Mouser stories.

I read "The Snow Women" and got through the beginning of "Ill met in Lankhmar", but there's something intangible about the books that I find irritating.

I think it's because the guys are rogues. I can't stand rogues and the weird fascination for them people have, and so I really wished someone would kill them. I always wanted the Sheriff of Nottingham to get Errol Flynn's Robin Hood, the cocky jackass.

It's a shame, because I really like the writing style and there's a lot of wit, but I can't stand the two leads.

Maybe I'm reading the wrong stories...

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#7 Valin

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 07:57 PM

Double thumbs up, Cormac. I've read the entire series (years ago), plus Leiber's last original book,? The Knight and Nave of Swords, plus the pastiche written by Leiber's chosen writer to continue the series. I enjoyed it all.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I thought I read all of their adventures, but I didn't know that there was a pastiche. Who wrote it and how did it compare to Leiber's works?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Swords Against the Shadowlands by Robin Wayne Bailey was published in 1998 and reissued in 2004. How does it compare to Leiber? Well, it's been a few years since I read it, but while I personally think Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, like Conan, work best in novella form, Bailey pulled a book-sized story off pretty good.

The story is Leiber picked Bailey to continue the series and it and future works will be written from Leiber notes. Two titles have been "forthcoming" since 1998, so who knows if there'll ever be another pastiche.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Thanks for the info. I'll have to find a copy.
I wonder if it sold well enough to warrant future books. Unless you're Gemmell or George R.R. Martin, it's probably difficult to sell fantasy novels without elves and dwarves in them nowadays.
"He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." ... Rafael Sabatini

#8 Sharn

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 11:20 PM

Fafhrd and Mouser are two of my personal faves. I've not read a consonant nor a vowel of Fritz's other works. His lankhmar stuff is great IMO. To be quite frank, I find these to more real and earthy than any character that REH wrote (albiet I've not read all of his stuff, but Conan, Solomon Kane, and Bran Mak Morn). They're more believable for me I guess.

BTW, Faf and Mouser are no more "rogues" as you call it, Taranaich, than Conan is. Or Conan is as much a "rogue" as Faf and Mouser are. Certainly the Mouser is more specialized at thieving than most other things, He also dabbles in the occult, drinks profusely, is an excellent swordsman and dirksman. Fafhrd and Conan share many of the same qualities. Fafhrds a "barbarian" if you will. Extremely strong and large. Actually sports facial hair! An excellent climber (of mountains in particular), as well, is the mouser. Though of more urban skill. Excellent swordsman, brawler, archer, axeman. I guess you need to read more. Or less.
Too each his own. I'd say there is a more playful attitude to Fritz's stuff. Perhaps these stories tempo isn't as grim as you'd like?
- A long bow and a strong bow, and let the sky grow dark!
The cord to the nock, the shaft to the ear, and the king of
Koth for a mark -
- I remember, The dark woods, masking slopes of sombre
hills;
The grey clouds' leaden everlasting arch;
The dusky streams that flowed without a sound,
And the lone winds that whispered down the passes. -
(Cimmeria, REH)
- Every hour harms, it's the last one that kills -

#9 PainBrush

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 01:22 AM

It's really frustrating, but I just can't get into any of the Fafhrd/Grey Mouser stories.
I read "The Snow Women" and got through the beginning of "Ill met in Lankhmar", but there's something intangible about the books that I find irritating.
I think it's because the guys are rogues.? I can't stand rogues and the weird fascination for them people have, and so I really wished someone would kill them.? I always wanted the Sheriff of Nottingham to get Errol Flynn's Robin Hood, the cocky jackass.
It's a shame, because I really like the writing style and there's a lot of wit, but I can't stand the two leads.
Maybe I'm reading the wrong stories...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hahaha , that's funny stuff Mr.T. I think I get where you're coming from even tho I kind of like their stories for the most part .
What's your opinion of the indifferent , occasionally murderous , maybe insane , drug-addicted & demon-possessed Elric of Melnibone ?

Edited by PAINBRUSH, 17 September 2005 - 01:24 AM.

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#10 Hawklord

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 01:36 AM

It's really frustrating, but I just can't get into any of the Fafhrd/Grey Mouser stories.
I read "The Snow Women" and got through the beginning of "Ill met in Lankhmar", but there's something intangible about the books that I find irritating.
I think it's because the guys are rogues.? I can't stand rogues and the weird fascination for them people have, and so I really wished someone would kill them.? I always wanted the Sheriff of Nottingham to get Errol Flynn's Robin Hood, the cocky jackass.
It's a shame, because I really like the writing style and there's a lot of wit, but I can't stand the two leads.
Maybe I'm reading the wrong stories...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hahaha , that's funny stuff Mr.T. I think I get where you're coming from even tho I kind of like their stories for the most part .
What's your opinion of the indifferent , occasionally murderous , maybe insane , drug-addicted & demon-possessed Elric of Melnibone ?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>




I feel the same way about Lovecraft.

I've heard people rave about his stuff. I've read some of his work and I find most of it boring.

Like what you like, read what you like, and don't feel bad about what you don't like reading (for whatever reason).

As for Elric . . . I love the books! I can't wait for the movie to come out!!!!

#11 Taranaich

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 02:38 AM

BTW, Faf and Mouser are no more "rogues" as you call it, Taranaich, than Conan is. Or Conan is as much a "rogue" as Faf and Mouser are. Certainly the Mouser is more specialized at thieving than most other things, He also dabbles in the occult, drinks profusely, is an excellent swordsman and dirksman. Fafhrd and Conan share many of the same qualities. Fafhrds a "barbarian" if you will. Extremely strong and large. Actually sports facial hair! An excellent climber (of mountains in particular), as well, is the mouser. Though of more urban skill. Excellent swordsman, brawler, archer, axeman. I guess you need to read more. Or less.
Too each his own. I'd say there is a more playful attitude to Fritz's stuff. Perhaps these stories tempo isn't as grim as you'd like?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I think the essential difference is that Conan was not just a rogue, he was a thief/barbarian/reaver/mercenary etc etc etc. Also I think I agree with you on it not being grim and dark enough for my liking. If there's a (relatively) dark and serious Lankhmar tale I'd quite like to read it. I'm going to try the one about the rats (forget it's name), see if that hooks me.

What's your opinion of the indifferent , occasionally murderous , maybe insane , drug-addicted & demon-possessed Elric of Melnibone ?


I can't tell whether Elric is a response to Conan or to Lord of the Rings, it seems like both. Anyway, Elric's one of those characters who annoys the hell out of me, but I actually like that about him. All the annoying traits - his moodiness, his recklessness, the fact that he's too much like an elf - make his character more interesting and unique. I particularly like the fact that he's practically disabled, being short-sighted, sickly and weak, before becoming the crazed killing machine with Stormbringer. I love the ending of Stormbringer in particular, the most downbeat and at the same time uplifting finale in fantasy fiction.

I like the Lovecraft's ideas more than Lovecraft's prose, which is a habit of mine. For instance, Olaf Stapledon's writing style in "Star Maker" is dry and dull and very difficult to read, but is still what I consider to be the single greatest work of imagination in recent times, bar none, due to the awesome proliferation of ideas.

Has anyone ever read "The Challenge From Beyond"? There will never be a more awesome round-robin.

Robert E. Howard, 1906 - 2006

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#12 Cormac

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 03:39 AM

I too, like the Elric stories, but cannot stand the way people talk in them. The dialogue seems very formal, forced even. The stories and characters themselves do seem like the angry response of somebody who's fed up with "heroes" and the usual toe-the-line fantasy works.

-As for Lovecraft, he will always be one of my favorites. I like how he used beautiful words and complicated prose to describe horrible things.

Edited by Cormac, 17 September 2005 - 03:41 AM.

"His time was past," The Gael said. Perhaps he saw that too. But we'll carry his body to his people and tell them he died a hero, surrounded by slaughtered Picts." -Tigers of the Sea, REH

#13 Sharn

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 07:32 AM

I too, like the Elric stories, but cannot stand the way people talk in them.  The dialogue seems very formal, forced even.  The stories and characters themselves do seem like the angry response of somebody who's fed up with "heroes" and the usual toe-the-line fantasy works.

-As for Lovecraft, he will always be one of my favorites.  I like how he used beautiful words and complicated prose to describe horrible things.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



That's the most concise explanation of HP's stuff I've heard yet. I love "Rats' in the Walls". "At the Mountains of Madness" was probably the most painfull read, but it was still good. Definitive Lovecraft. Liked the "Dunwich Horror" and "Darkness Over Innsmouth" too. Stephen King wrote a shorty called "Conqueror Worm" that had alot of that Lovecraft feel. You see the obvious influence. I think it was Nighmares and Dreamscapes or Night Shift. Can't remember which. :blink:

I enjoy Elric's story but I really like Corum, had a rough time with Hawkmoon, though some elements were very entertaining. Like the "immortal Emperor". This giant fetal creature who lives in a "bubble". The fact is, I felt that Elric's tale was more about the sword than Elric in a sense.

Probably the most entertaining read I've had in sometime though is the Death Dealer series. "Prisoner of the Horned Helmet", "Lords of Destruction", "Tooth and Claw", and "Plague of Knives". Anybody else read these?
- A long bow and a strong bow, and let the sky grow dark!
The cord to the nock, the shaft to the ear, and the king of
Koth for a mark -
- I remember, The dark woods, masking slopes of sombre
hills;
The grey clouds' leaden everlasting arch;
The dusky streams that flowed without a sound,
And the lone winds that whispered down the passes. -
(Cimmeria, REH)
- Every hour harms, it's the last one that kills -

#14 Valin

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 03:33 PM

Stephen King wrote a shorty called "Conqueror Worm" that had alot of that Lovecraft feel.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



As does King's short story, "Jerusalem's Lot" (which has nothing to do with the novel "Salem's Lot" outside of the town it takes place in).
"He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." ... Rafael Sabatini

#15 Strom

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 07:38 PM

I tried to read Lieber in my youth and was put off by the comedic aspect of the books. But, I think I'll try them again now that I've added some years to the old resume. What?s the chronology of the stories? Should I read one first or just pick them up as I find them?

I will definitely pick up the Fadfrd & the Grey Mouser comic from Dark Horse now that they have the license - should be good if Conan is any indication. B)

I read ?Mountains of Madness? and all of us that did should be proud. It was great but I think we experienced an inkling of Lovecrafts dementia firsthand! I love Lovecraft?s work ? he was a master of describing the indescribable often referring to it as just that, which added to the realism of the atmosphere, where you wondered ? was this real? Did it happen? It just might of!

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#16 Taranaich

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 11:30 PM

Tekeli-Li! Tekeli-Li! Tekeli-Li!

Robert E. Howard, 1906 - 2006

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#17 Strom

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 11:38 PM

Ahh yes - :D

Still came that eldritch, mocking cry- "Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!" and at last we remembered that the demoniac Shoggoths - given life, thought, and plastic organ patterns solely by the Old Ones, and having no language save that which the dot groups expressed - had likewise no voice save the imitated accents of their bygone masters.

Mountains of Madness - Howard Phillips Lovecraft


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#18 El Borak's Li'l Brother

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 11:53 PM

I tried to read Lieber in my youth and was put off by the comedic aspect of the books.  But, I think I'll try them again now that I've added some years to the old resume.  What?s the chronology of the stories?  Should I read one first or just pick them up as I find them? 

I will definitely pick up the Fadfrd & the Grey Mouser comic from Dark Horse now that they have the license - should be good if Conan is any indication.  B)

I read ?Mountains of Madness? and all of us that did should be proud.  It was great but I think we experienced an inkling of Lovecrafts dementia firsthand!  I love Lovecraft?s work ? he was a master of describing the indescribable often referring to it as just that, which added to the realism of the atmosphere, where you wondered ? was this real?  Did it happen?  It just might of!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


There is a chronological order to the stories/books, starting with Swords and Deviltry.
Crom!

#19 Hawklord

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 03:17 AM

I can't tell whether Elric is a response to Conan or to Lord of the Rings, it seems like both. 


If I remember rightly, Mr. M said an editor wanted him to write a 'Conan-like' story. He wrote a Conan pastiche, the ed. said ''No, Conan-like.''

Mr. M then wrote an 'opposite' of Conan. Weak instead of strong, albino insted of non (don't want to say 'normal).

Also a response to LotR. Mr. M isn't too fond of the Prof's work.

#20 Sharn

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 05:01 AM

Tekeli-Li!  Tekeli-Li!  Tekeli-Li!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


OH MY GOD!!!!! :o
- A long bow and a strong bow, and let the sky grow dark!
The cord to the nock, the shaft to the ear, and the king of
Koth for a mark -
- I remember, The dark woods, masking slopes of sombre
hills;
The grey clouds' leaden everlasting arch;
The dusky streams that flowed without a sound,
And the lone winds that whispered down the passes. -
(Cimmeria, REH)
- Every hour harms, it's the last one that kills -