Ill Met in Lankhmar

Omphalos

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I have never been a real fan of fantasy. I much prefer SF, though I do like some of the more seminal works, such as The Hobbit, The Princess Bride, and a few others. Well, I just read Ill Met in Lankhmar, and I must say that was friggin awesome! I can't believe that I have missed out on Leiber's fantasy for so long (always liked his SF, though). What an awesome story.

I see that there are a lot of books in the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser series that pre-date this one. Any other recommendations? Was this a ret-con or did it fit into the established series?

Here is my review of this book:

Omphalos' Book Reviews: Book Info
 
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GOLLUM

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I see that there are a lot of books in the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser series that pre-date this one. Any other recommendations? Was this a ret-con or did it fit into the established series?
This is part of a larger series. Your best bet is getting the collected stories in Victor Gollancz's Fantasy Masterwork series. It comes in 2 books and is quite affordable.

If you get a chance also check out the graphic novel done on Ffahrd and the Gray Mouser.

Cheers...
 

Omphalos

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I saw that list. I was wondering what on it is worth the time to read? Certainly not all of it?
 

j d worthington

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Frankly, I'd put nearly all of it in that category, myself. Though the stories vary quite a bit in tone (some are comedy, some tragedy, some horror, some a little of everything), the quality overall is amazingly high -- though some are put off by the more explicit sexual aspects of the very last tale or two. But keep in mind: Leiber wrote that series over a period of nearly 60 years (the first version of "Adept's Gambit" was written early enough for HPL to be aware he was working on it), and he could afford to take the time to write them with the same level of care and thought.

And, really, it isn't that long a series. Some of those tales are extremely brief, and the series as a whole came to seven quite modestly-sized volumes (between 150 to 250 pages each, as I recall). So yes, I'd recommend the entire series, just to see one of the fantasy greats at what was often the height of his form....
 

Ian Whates

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I'd endorse jd here: Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories are amongst the very best fantasy ever written, and I wouldn't want to miss a word of them.

Like you, Omphalos, I'm an SF fan first and a fantasy fan second, but these really are special.

You were asking about other Leiber that's worth reading... Well, to be honest, most.

In particular, Conjure Wives and The Big Time. The former is set in a different era, but once you adjust to that it's a wonderful evocation of accademic rivalry and of how little superstitions can mount up to become chillingly major magics.

The Big Time picked up a Hugo and people seem to either love it or hate it. The piece is set against the background of a time war in which competing factions keep travelling back and forth through time changing events and undoing each other's work. It was originally intended as a one act play and features a group of soldiers and actors locked in a room outside of time with an activated atomic bomb.

Other stories in this same reality are collected in Leiber's book The Changewar and are also worth checking out... Then, of course there's Our Lady of Darkness, (sigh)... All wonderful stuff! :)
 

Who's Wee Dug

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Fritz Leiber was a definite master of his craft, in some ways I envy you that you are reading his fantasy for the first time.:)
 

Omphalos

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I think I will pick up those Masterworks books. Thanks all. And yes, Ian, I really love The Big Time. Leiber was actually one of the authors that got me interested in SF in the first place. My brother always read all the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser books and always told me how good they were. Shame on me for not listening more! Now we will have these stories to talk about too!
 

Connavar

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I saw the story of the thread's title in my short story fantasy collection that i got from bookbook.

It doesnt hurt the other stories for me if i read this as my first Fafhrd and Gray Mouser story ?


Havent even read Leiber yet. The library only has The Wanderer story of his. He is not exactly famous for that book.
 

Ian Whates

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You say he's not well known for it, Con, but actually The Wanderer won the Hugo award for best novel in 1965. Having said that, I have to admit it's not one of my favourites.

As for reading the Fafhrd & Mouser tales out of order, I first stumbled on the pair via an anthology edited by L. Sprague de Camp, Swords and Sorcery - which contained a story called "When the Sea King's Away" - and it certainly didn't spoil my enjoyment of the series; though I've always been happy to read stories out of sequence, just glad to enjoy them for their own sake and accepting I'll catch up with the back-story later.
 

j d worthington

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No, it doesn't hurt. For one thing, the stories that precede it are of Fafhrd and the Mouser (or, in the course of the story, Mouse) individually (respectively, "The Snow Women" and "The Unholy Grail", whereas "Ill Met in Lankhmar" tells of their first actualy meeting and joining forces. (There had been a brief encounter earlier, as shown in "Induction", but no words were exchanged.)

At any rate, hope you can eventually get the entire set, Connavar, as these are truly marvelous reading... I've gone through the entire set multiple times now, and must say I relish them more now than ever. This is one fantasy set that seems to grow with the reader....
 

Connavar

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No, it doesn't hurt. For one thing, the stories that precede it are of Fafhrd and the Mouser (or, in the course of the story, Mouse) individually (respectively, "The Snow Women" and "The Unholy Grail", whereas "Ill Met in Lankhmar" tells of their first actualy meeting and joining forces. (There had been a brief encounter earlier, as shown in "Induction", but no words were exchanged.)

At any rate, hope you can eventually get the entire set, Connavar, as these are truly marvelous reading... I've gone through the entire set multiple times now, and must say I relish them more now than ever. This is one fantasy set that seems to grow with the reader....

Im very lucky then that the story is the one where they meet first.

I cant buy authors best works without having to try them first in library or bookmooch books. I cant afford to gamble on even the most legendary authors. Reading so many types stories and authors is not easy on your wallet.

So when i saw this story in the collection i thought finaly i can try Leiber with a story from his famous work.
 

rol7805

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I heard references to Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser for a while and finally picked up the first collection of stories, "Ill Met in Lankhmar" and am really enjoying it. Obviously these works must have had a huge influence on fantasy over the years seeing how far they date back.

Frankly I'm impressed that writing from that long ago is still approachable, and even the overall styling of the characters, setting & plot hold up well to any fantasy published today. I'm a fan of science fiction as well, and have tried to read many of the classics in that genre too. While I respect those early authors for their imagination and the ground they broke, I often find it difficult to get into the stories. I'm sure it's at least in part due to the fact that with sci-fi the technology guesses are quickly out of date, but I also find the characters and plot are often stylistically out of date as well.

Anyways, looking forward to reading the subsequent collections!
 

Extollager

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Fairly recently I've reread "Bazaar of the Bizarre," "The Cloud of Hate," and (I think) "The Bleak Shore." I was a fan of the Fafhrd and Mouser stories in the 1970s, but, revisiting these, they didn't greatly please me. Should I try some others? I don't care about reading them in chronological order.

I can enjoy Leiber a lot, but for me he seems to be a writer with just a few real hits (e.g. "A Pail of Air") rather than misses.
 

j d worthington

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I always rather liked "The Bleak Shore" for its ability to paint an atmosphere. Despite some flaws, "Adept's Gambit" tends to impress me more on each reading. There are some very subtle touches there, as there are with "The Snow Women" now and again.

I also tend to like the ironic humor of some of the later pieces (several of those in Swords and Ice Magic, for instance), and both "The Frost Monstreme" and "Rime Isle" are ones I would recommend. "The Lords of Quarmall", for all its perversity is, I think, very well done....
 

Extollager

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I liked the ironic flavor in some of the stories, I think, also in the Dying Earth stories, but this quality is one that, I find, doesn't wear well with me, at least with regard to some authors/stories.
 
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