Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Fritz Leiber: Father of Sword and Sorcery

I've loved Fritz Leiber's work—specifically his stories about Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser—since, well, forever. Fafhrd was a huge, muscular bulky Northern barbarian draped in furs, with a massive sword he named Graywand. You'd think he'd be the practical, no-nonsense sort, but he tended to be a bit romantic. The Gray Mouser, on the other hand, was a small, sneaky former thief, who dressed in gray, obviously, and called his sword Scalpel and his knife Cat's Claw. The Mouser came across, indeed was, cynical and businesslike, but with a sneaky sentimentality that was endlessly endearing. In many ways, they reminded me of the immortal Monk and Ham—Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Blodgett Mayfair and Theodore Marley Brooks, to introduce them formally, though we Doc Savage fans have no need to be so formal. Both relationships seemed to be endless squabbling intersected by fights—but the love and respect between the characters was always there.

Both Fafhrd and the Mouser had been apprentices to wizards, and who could not love the wizards' names: Ningauble of the Seven Eyes, with eye stalks that kept sneaking out of his hood; Sheelba of the Eyeless Face, on the other hand, was, as his nom de sorcier clearly states, optically challenged.

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are rogues, of course. Most of their time is spent wenching, drinking, wenching, brawling, wenching, gambling, wenching, stealing and I seem to recall a bit of wenching as well. Their swords and many other talents are for rent to the highest bidder, but they have a deep rooted humanity, and Fafhrd liked kittens. But their most constant and intense love was for pure, true adventure, back to back against the world.

 My kind of guys.

So when I first started writing, as we all do when we first begin, I wanted to write something Leiber-ish and Fafhrd/Mouser-ish. So I wrote 'Jewels of a False God' which I recently dusted off and published at Smashwords. Cover is below.

Just wanted to say thanks, Fritz Leiber, for so much enjoyment.


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