mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Ningauble of the Seven Eyes Was Here. (11)

Lankhmar Book Three: Swords in the Mist by by Fritz Leiber.

Ah, Riddle Vendor!
Nyarlathotep's younger cuz,
Gossip of the Gods.

Heavens above (or Hells below, or Places outside) but these things are fun. I'm not convinced that book lives up to the hype that Leiber rivals Tolkien or Howard, but he sure can write a ripping yarn. This Lankhmar book finally does catch me up with the Mignola comic, so it is all virgin territory from here out. Did I call this a Lankhmar book? That is only partly true-- a solid half of the book takes place in our world, this very Earth. The change in setting is in fact brilliant-- Leiber includes tossed off mentions of dusty Jewish scrolls with "mixed-up, messy monsters-- things with ten heads & jeweled cartwheels for feet, things like that," & it really goes a long way toward making his made up profundities sound...well, profound. When he tosses off lines about "half-illiterate" Greek stories that talk about ears of corn & six pomegranate seeds, it makes the tossed off lines in the rest of the book seem like they are the hint of a tale that, in fulled context, would fascinate us. Fafhrd & Gray Mouser, on the other hand, could care less. They are truly adventurers, now-- the mysterious wizard gives them vague clues & riddles & they just respond with taunts while contemplating violence. Yes, I know that well! Heck, in the zombie game, I was that. Crazy guy offering you unlimited power? Yeah, better hack him to pieces. & so on, & so forth. "When the Sea King's Away" is their tale of a romp below the waves, & I am hard pressed to think of a better underwater scenario. The book is still unabashedly misogynistic-- a problem in fantasy literature that I'm all too aware of-- but they are just such a rollicking good time. If you can roll your eyes at the way women are handled-- & it seems to be getting better, as the years wear on the author & the context he's writing in-- then these sure are rewarding. Or well, who can say; the stories are written at such disparate times. I went ahead & ordered the next two, already-- so I guess you can say I'm hooked.
Tags: books, haiku, lankhmar, leiber

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