mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli
mordicai

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Atheist Trolls. (26)

Lankhmar Book Six: Swords and Ice Magic by Friz Leiber.

The Spider-God, Mog,
in his grey gossamer nest,
smiling down at Mouse.

The penultimate Lankhmar book! Though I confess, I'll miss these scoundrals when I'm done. Fafhrd & Gray Mouser certainly have earned their place in the fantasy canon. I was saying on Twitter that my dream-casting would be Christian Bale & Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Bale would need to keep his beard, obviously. Anyhow, sadly this wasn't my favorite of the volumes. The theme of the book is deus ex machina, or really deus ex mischief, as Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser are toyed with by the gods of Nehwon, by Death, & by the gods Odin & Loki-- the latter of which are suspiciously like an older Fafhrd & Mouser. Now, normally when Gray Mouser & Fafhrd get into trouble-- as they are wont to do-- you know they are going to get out of it by a mix of pluck & luck. Somehow brining all the fateslinging of the gods into it muddles that up; you get our (anti-)heroes sort of bumbling through a montage of meaningless scenes, totally at the mercy of the narrative. Also, I was sad to see them backslide into their "wenching" ways-- I was excited about Fafhrd's ghoul girlfriend & Gray Mouser's wererat infatuation. With them out of the way, the stories took up the sort of misogynistic tone that makes me shake my head & mutter. For shame! That being said, it wasn't all bad. There were two-fold things in the last & longest section, "The Frost Monstreme" & "Rime Isle," that I really liked. The first was that Fafhrd & Gray Mouser's past came back to haunt them-- actually, this was true in "Under the Thumb of the Gods" as well. Bringing back old adventures gives the story a sense of continuity that the more episodic stories miss out on. & having the Invisibles from my favorite story, "Stardock", as major supporting characters? Yes please. The second success is in maturing the characters. The Fafhrd & Gray Mouser of this book are older & wiser than their earlier incarnations. Age & treachery beats youth & stupidity every time, if you ask me.
Tags: books, haiku, lankhmar, leiber
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