Swords in the Mist
January 4, 2021 10:47 PM - by Leiber, Fritz - Subscribe

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser discuss the tension between wage labor and freedom. Fafhrd finds religion. The Mouser tries his hand at career a in organized crime and gets bumped up into a supervisory role. They make a detour from Nehwon to explore the Levant. They see more of Ningauble's ocular organs than anyone should be comfortable with.

Two stories stand out here: The Hugo-nominated Lean Times in Lankhmar has a lot of Leiber's wry humor as it riffs religion in Lankhmar, and elsewhere, and The Adept's Gambit is a long, sprawling novella but also the first piece Leiber wrote (which is why it's not set in Lankhmar.)

The Clouds of Hate is a more typical fantasy short story involving heroes facing unnatural sorcery, and When the Sea King's Away builds on some of the Lovecraftian-style mythos around sunken cities he's done in the past without trying for horror. The remaining two are pure filler, and exist solely to explain the location changes.

Content Note: I always put a warning for these, which have many of the issues you'd expect for 50-year old swords and sorcery apply (including violence, occasional racism, etc.) but some in this volume--especially The Cloud of Hate--have a nastier turn than the earlier stories, including victimization of women.

(Due to the holidays complicating my routine, I'm not holding to the "one post a week" I was originally aiming for when I started at the end of last year. It'll probably be two weeks before the next one.)
posted by mark k (2 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Just read this. Lean Times and Adept's Gambit are very good. It seems kind of amazing that the latter was the first thing Lieber wrote.
posted by fleacircus at 5:57 AM on February 4, 2021

Like the more I think about it the more fascinating the Adept's Gambit is. A strange crossover piece of historical fiction and cosmic horror and heroic fantasy. A pretty amazing initial outpouring.

It does not read like it was written in 1936.
posted by fleacircus at 8:43 AM on February 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

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