cover image The Leiber Chronicles: Fifty Years of Fritz Leiber

The Leiber Chronicles: Fifty Years of Fritz Leiber

Fritz Leiber. Dark Harvest, $21.95 (601pp) ISBN 978-0-913165-48-5

The year 1939 was a turning point for science fiction and fantasy. It saw the first publication of stories by Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, A. E. van Vogt and Theodore Sturgeon, who, with a few others, virtually created modern science fiction, and by Fritz Leiber, one of the fathers of modern fantasy. In celebration of his 50-year career, this hefty volume features 44 of his best shorter works. Included are his first story, ``Two Sought Adventure,'' which introduced the swashbucklers Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, of ancient, imaginary Lankhmar, as well as three other stories about this colorful duo; four horror stories, including ``The Girl with the Hungry Eyes,'' an eerie meditation on the connections between sex, death and advertising; the science-fictional ``Sanity,'' ``A Pail of Air'' and the cautionary ``Coming Attractions''; the hilarious spoof of Mickey Spillane, ``The Night He Cried''; and the joyful, chilling ``Gonna Roll the Bones,'' about a confrontation with the Devil over a gambling table, for the highest of stakes. A literate and effective writer, Leiber is one of the two best fantasists to come out of the pulps--the other is Bradbury--but he remains under-appreciated. This volume should be something of a corrective. (Apr.)