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Fritz Leiber: Selected Stories by Fritz…

Fritz Leiber: Selected Stories

by Fritz Leiber

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1265140,097 (3.63)1 / 17



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Showing 5 of 5
Having read (and loved) his Swords series, I was prepared for the over-the-top narrations, but I was totally unprepared for the diversity Leiber can summon up; the degenerate gambler; the young speeding cat; the wised-up urban smooth-talker; the existentially vacuous thespian. His rare ability to sustain narrative voices in such a wide range of vernaculars is really something special. This was a guy who loved genre fiction for the range it allows. It really shows. He wears his interests on his sleeve: cities, buildings, cats, chess, and his anxiety about growing old and women. His themes of duplication/mirroring seemed a little pushed in this anthology, however. ( )
1 vote Algybama | Jul 25, 2017 |
I'm going to have to be more watchful on what I buy from Amazon on the Kindle. I enjoyed this, even though half the stories were ones I'd read, since there was a story or two that I had not. Fritz Leiber is one of my favorite authors, and I have many of his works, but it's very disconcerting to see a book that I bought for my kindle no longer available. I wonder if it's still downloadable, since I deleted it from my kindle.

Boooo, Amazon. Stop that. ( )
  Lyndatrue | Nov 27, 2013 |
Where Leiber turns most completely from the hardboiled tone and attendant misogyny prevalent in the earlier stories, this collection becomes thoughtful, diverse, and sometimes magnificently strange.

In the better stories, even the queasy anxiety about women and desire gets worked through in a satisfying way, delineating a character's madness as in "The Inner Circles," or loneliness as in "Horrible Imaginings" (which seems in many ways to be about an elderly writer confronting some of his hang-ups).

But I find that even though on review I enjoyed at least nine of these stories and thought a few of them were first-rate, important works of speculative fiction, the occasional clunkers (like "Catch that Zeppelin!") and the frequent ugliness in Leiber's depiction of women significantly soured my impression of the selection. ( )
1 vote idlerking | Mar 31, 2013 |
There is something for everyone in this eclectic collection.

Smoke ghost

An office worker sees something watching him from a roof on his commute home.It starts to close in on him...

The girl with the hungry eyes

A photographer meets the perfect model, who shuns any male attention.However her attractiveness has a dark side....

Coming attraction

In a New York nuked by the Russians, women wear masks and fight men in wrestling matches. One such bewitches a British trade official..

A pail of air

On an frozen Earth dragged out of its orbit by a wandering star, a boy is asked to go collect some more air...A truly great story.

A deskful of girls

A sleazy psychiatrist/medium gets his come-uppance. Overlong.

Space-time for springers

Cutesy animal story. Not my cup of tea.

Ill met at Lankhmar

Classic fantasy of derring do and revenge against an evil magician, from the wise-cracking pair of iconic adventurers, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.

Four ghosts in Hamlet

Rather involved tale of a company of wandering players haunted by the Bard himself...

Gonna roll the bones

A man down on his luck, but a wonder at playing dice, gets to challenge a very strange opponent. Feels rather contrived, has not aged well.

The inner circles

A writer struggles with his muses who haunt him at home.

America the beautiful

Acerbic, ironic story of a young genius who wants to challenge a powerful, seemingly pleasant, outwardly calm America but instead settles for sex.

Bazaar of the bizarre

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser each get a warning from their wizard patrons about a new shop that has opened which sells trash which appears as all kinds of wonderful goods. Funny and ironic.

Midnight by the Morphy Watch

A burnt out chess afficionado buys a special watch owned by a past world chess champion in a strange shop he has never noticed before. His life then begins to change...Wonderful story about the real nature of gaming.

Belsen express

A commuter gets the strange idea that he us being pursued and hounded by Nazis. His daily commute, where he regularly meets a gruff passenger, takes on a new sinister aspect. But the ending is a let-down.

Catch that zeppelin!

A successful business man is meeting his son in New York for dinner as airships circle overhead in the 1940s. The world is revealed as very different but near utopian. They speculate on other paths. A classic of alternate reality.

Horrible imaginings

A resident in a large apartment complex starts getting horrifying dreams about being buried and suffocated. Coincidentally he starts seeing a mysterious woman in the complex who disappears. No one knows who she is...Well-developed story but rather flat ending.

The curse of the smalls and the stars

The Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are each pursued by magically-created doppelganger assassins... ( )
  AlanPoulter | Mar 31, 2012 |
Having only read Leiber's Swords series, and one rather silly science fiction called 'The Silver Eggheads' I was very interested to pick up this collection of short fiction, which covers a range of genres. Leiber was really a master of short fiction and there are some gems here from throughout his writing career, including three Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser tales. Leiber's writing is strong and he fits an amazing amount of detail into his stories without the reader even noticing. The scientific basis of 'A Pail of Air' is rather weak, but the human story is strong. It asks the question: if you are the last family on Earth, living in extremely constrained circumstances, is it worth going on? In 'Gonna Roll Them Bones' a man literally dices with death in a morbid casino -- but Leiber captures the thrill of the habitual gambler.

My three favourite stories in the book were written later in Leiber's career, and they each touch on aspects of getting older, perhaps losing some creativity and drive. 'Inner Circles' deals with a jaded ex-writer whose imaginary characters seem all-too real to him, perhaps to a schizophrenic degree. 'Horrible Imaginings' is a great modern urban ghost story about an old man in a haunted apartment, or rather 'apartment tree', the public spaces in between the actual apartments. 'The Curse of Smalls and Stars' is a wonderful tale of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser which I read perhaps more attentively this time. In it, the Twain are slowing down and perhaps considering retiring from the adventuring life on Rime Isle with their mature loves Afreyt and Cif. But they are cursed by the gods to obsess about stars (in Fafhrd's case) or minutiae (for the Mouser). As well as being full of details about Rime Isle, the tale has a certain wistfulness about ageing which I hadn't previously noticed. All in all, a good selection of tales. ( )
2 vote questbird | Jun 8, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fritz Leiberprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chabon, MichaelAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Fritz Leiber's work bridges the gap between the pulp era of H. P. Lovecraft and the paperback era of P. K. Dick, and arguably is as influential as both these authors. From a historical context, Leiber, in fact, knew both of the authors, and his work can be seen as a bridge connecting the many different flavors of genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Edited by award-winning editors Jonathan Strahan and Charles Brown, this new collection of the grand master's fiction covers all facets of his work, and features an Introduction by Neil Gaiman and an Afterword by Michael Chabon.… (more)

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