cover image Dealings of Daniel Kesserich

Dealings of Daniel Kesserich

Fritz Leiber. Tor Books, $18.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85408-9

A newly surfaced work by a grand master of the field always occasions high hopes, which are neither met nor dashed in this instance. This novella was drafted by Leiber (1910-1992) in the 1930s, under the influence of H.P. Lovecraft, then revised for the pulp magazine Unknown Worlds before it was misplaced, only to be found recently among Leiber's papers. In it, George Kramer, who narrates, finds a notebook belonging to his old college roommate Daniel Kesserich. Learning of Kesserich's discovery of a way to change the present by manipulating the past, Kramer investigates the anomalies created by Kesserich's discovery. The story carries hints of Lovecraftian otherworldliness, elements of early SF and some of the puzzle-mystery feel of L. Ron Hubbard's Fear or Robert Heinlein's ""They."" Its spare, clear prose and use of time travel, a theme of perennial interest, keep it from seeming too dated. Leiber's dedicated fans will want to read this book, as will those looking for a sample of the kind of fantastic fiction that brought the field out of its pulp ghetto. (Mar.)