Monday, April 02, 2007

A stroll around Lankhmar

being yet another pointless book reaction....

Ahhh the sweet self-indulgence of escapist reading.
I'd been holding off reading Fritz Leiber's First Book of Lankhmar like a bag of sweets for so long.
So it was a sweet weekend troddling along with Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

Leiber coined the term "sword & sorcery" to describe his stories, and there really isn't a better phrase. The stories describe the adventures fantastic, swash-buckling and occasionally comic of Fafhrd a huge Conan-ish barbarian and the diminutive Gray Mouser. There are few "heroes" staining these pages, as the pair battle demons, thieves, wolves four-legged and two-legged in the search for, for the most part, the usual exotic treasures - jewelled skulls, caches of rubies. Enchantment blows across the landscape often, with the occasional whiff of bitter revenge.

The stories beg comparison, with Robert E. Howard, but we will leave that for another post (and when I've actually finished the book, not too much sweet after all all at once)

inane observation -
It took me a couple of stories to guess that the constantly fog ridden and marsh approaching Lankhmar, with its deadly ancient streets smell probably a lot of New York.
Leiber's opening story has a troupe of travelling actors, something he probably knew quite a bit about being the child of two Shakespearean actors.
Those two things fix for me I think correctly how that old maxim should really read - its not "write what you know", it really should be "write and you'll probably end up writing what you know"

inane observation 2 -
the comforting thought, that even after these 600 pages, there does exist (on some bookshelf somewhere waiting for me) a second book of Lankhmar
which of course is like that most important of Sunday dishes - the second dessert


Post a Comment

<< Home