Wednesday, 15 September 2010

I’ve never read anything by...


Yes, once more you’re all being treated to the sight of a fully grown book blogger admitting to all and sundry that there are books out there he just hasn’t got round to reading just yet. This isn’t a bad thing in itself, how boring would the world be if we’d all read everything there was to read? It always surprises me though how some of the more obvious reading choices just seem to fly under the radar as far as I’m concerned. I wouldn’t say that I concentrate exclusively on the new and shiny releases (have a look over the blog and you should see this) but maybe there’s something in that argument after all. Take the latest entry in my ‘I’ve never read anything by’ series for example...

Fritz Leiber.

Yes, Fritz Leiber. The guy who’s practically a (if not ‘the’) founding father of the ‘Sword and Sorcery’ sub-genre. I love reading ‘Sword and Sorcery’ but have somehow never got round to picking up one of the seminal works. It’s funny how these things pan out...
Will I ever pick up the books of Lankhmar though? I’d love to say yes, I really would, but my track record hasn’t been great with this so I’m not going to say yes and hold myself up to ridicule later on! :o) We’ll have to see what the future holds...

In the meantime though, what am I missing out on? Should I drop whatever I’m reading now and pick these books up? Or do you think they’re overrated and I should be reading something else instead? Your comments won’t influence my final decision but I’d be interested to see what your thoughts are on an author that I’ve never read anything of...

Cheers!

10 comments:

Joe Sherry said...

Yep, haven't read Leiber.

I have a copy of Conjure Wife, though. Should really read that.

Mark Timmony said...

I've often wondered if I should read Lieber's books (and others).

I have picked them up in the bookshop and flipped through them many tiimes, but there's just something about the style of writing that is dated for me. And I know that will irritate me to no end... so as yet I have not been convinced I should try.

ediFanoB said...

I read Conjure Wife in 2009 and I have been impressed.
Originally published in 1943 it is still worth to read. And it is different from all the nowadays urban fantasy stuff.

Anyhow since I read it I ask myself: Does women have secret magic abilities?

My list of "I've never read anything by .." would be endless.
And from my own experience I can say the decision what to read next is a difficult one. In the end my decision what to read next depends on two criteria:
- Did I promise to read the book?
- Am I in the right mood for the book?

Leiber novels have a big advantage compared to nowadays novels: They are short.
The book you mentioned consists of 244 pages!!

lee-tyke said...

I really liked the Lankhmar books. I got turned onto them after reading quotes on the back of the book from Moorcock, Gaiman and Pratchet. Quite short books but very fun quick reads. His prose in the books is also very good and keeps you reading. Start with the first ones obviously as the last ones tend not be as good. You can plainly see where a lot of authors got there inspiration. Oh yeah and no elves you be glad to hearbut we do have assasin guilds so its not all bad . For fun quick reads you cannot go wrong definatly give him a go.

martin said...

Graeme and others,

you're definitely missing out then, the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser is as good as anything written in the Swords and Sorcery vein, and some his SF is fantastic, Change Wars and The Big Time are probably the best treatment of time travel that I've read

cheers

Martin

Xenophon said...

I consider Lieber light, but essential reading. Fantasy is a journey, and you can't know where you are going without knowing where you have been. Zelazny, Moorecock, and Lieber are way-points on that journey. These foundation works are what others have built on to make the genre what it is today.

I am an archaeologist as well as an novice fantasy author, so I am very much in touch with the past. My goal is to bring fantasy back to it's roots, for I feel it has become convoluted. So I read "classic" Fantasy and Sci-fi to aid me as a writer and give me a broader scope of how the genres have evolved over the decades. Even reading mythology, essentially the first form of fantasy story telling, to see where it all began.

In other words the latest, is not necessarily the greatest...

Mimouille said...

Even if it is a totally different experience from reading contemporary fantasy authors, you should still read it...and you do not have to read everything, since the book are organized in chapters that are actually short stories. Read my (recent) review here !
http://mimouille.blogspot.com/2010/06/review-of-lankhmar-by-fritz-leiber.html

wordtipping said...

I own all three and have only read the first one so far. It was a struggle for me as the rhythm of his writing is just off putting somehow.

I keep meaning to go back and read more of his work. This time, my goals is to read with a more open mind and quit projecting my R.E. Howard pre-conceptions onto the books.

I have a terrible habit of always holding Conan up as the gold standard but that is terribly unfair of me.

Rabid Fox said...

Nor have I read Leiber, but there are a ton of authors I should read and simply haven't gotten around to yet.

One author I have no interest in, however, is Dan Brown. I don't care how popular the books and films are, I tried reading one called Deception Point and loathed it.

D-man said...

Seeing as you enjoy reading comic books and graphic novels, Mike Mignola and Howard Chaykin collaborated to bring seven of Leiber's stories to life in the early 90s. They were collected in one volume by Dark Horse a few years ago. Definitely worth checking out!