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E. R. Eddison (1882–1945)

Author of The Worm Ouroboros

11+ Works 4,025 Members 65 Reviews 11 Favorited

About the Author


Works by E. R. Eddison

The Worm Ouroboros (1922) — Author — 2,300 copies
Mistress of Mistresses (1935) 635 copies
A Fish Dinner in Memison (1941) 492 copies
The Mezentian Gate (1958) 393 copies
Zimiamvia: A Trilogy (1935) 119 copies
Styrbiorn the Strong (1926) 55 copies
In Valhalla 1 copy

Associated Works

Egil's Saga (1240) — Translator, some editions — 1,072 copies
The Big Book of Classic Fantasy (2019) — Contributor — 166 copies
The Young Magicians (1969) — Contributor — 139 copies
Heroic Fantasy Short Stories (Gothic Fantasy) (2017) — Contributor — 82 copies
Epic Fantasy Short Stories (Gothic Fantasy) (2019) — Contributor — 35 copies
Kingdoms of Sorcery: An Anthology of Adult Fantasy (1976) — Contributor — 21 copies
An introduction to A fish dinner in Memison, by (1941) — Subject — 2 copies


Common Knowledge



The language is delightful, but one can't help but agree with Tolkien's assessment that what underlies the entire saga is "an evil and indeed silly 'philosophy'" and the ending has one wondering indeed if Eddison admired "arrogance and cruelty."
mirryi | 45 other reviews | Apr 1, 2024 |
Well, it took me 15 months and a stack of dictionaries, but I've finally finished this epic! I feel as much a sense of accomplishment in the reading as Eddison might have felt in the writing of it!

I don't recall it having been so laborious from my first time of reading back in my teenage years, but I guess without internet reference rabbit-holes to fall down, it would be faster, though somewhat more archaic and obscure.

Anyway, the plot takes precedence over character, and there's barely any plot to speak of, so what you are left with is a framework over which Eddison drapes his sumptuous language, weaving moods and reveries, sometimes loud, brash and theatrical, at othertimes delicate fretworks of bejewelled, gilded traceries. It's definitely a love/hate book, and I've needed my own mood to be right to enter into Eddison's world, but I was happy to take my time and approach it as a feast of many courses, rather than a fast food binge.… (more)
Michael.Rimmer | 45 other reviews | Nov 19, 2023 |
Abandoned read. Wading through a jungle of archaic language to find the story proved to be too tiring and just wasn't worth the trouble.
Jason--Gray | 45 other reviews | Feb 14, 2023 |
I‘d first read it when I was around 13 and picked it up again now. At the first chapter in “Demonland”, I was sure I wouldn’t get through it and didn’t understand how my younger self had managed. Then, with the wrestling match, I was captured, and read on in sheer delight. This time round, what’s outstanding is the way the sexual relations implied are consensual and very discreet as would be standard in most literature of the time. There is a stronger sensuality in these books which evokes the atmosphere of sex, rather than references or allusions to the act itself.

You might like to consider E. R. Eddison, unfortunately almost forgotten these days, but in his time counted among one of the premier fantasy writers -- the man who Tolkien's publisher asked for a blurb for “The Lord of the Rings”. His novel “The Worm Ourobouros” and the three novels of the Zimiamvian series deserve to be rediscovered. They're not easy reads, and maybe not for a contemporary reader of SF. But for lovers of language, they're a must-read.

“The Worm Ourobouros” is a fine example of a feudal fantasy not in decline, where the heroes are thoroughly heroic and entirely human, where magic is real and as deadly to its practitioners as to those who suffer its effects, where sex is vitally important, omnipresent but not explicit, where violence is conducted on a massive, monstrous scale, but is again not explicit in its descriptions.

After reading this, I don’t look forward to another sloppily paced contemporary Fantasy novel, full of characters (who will disappear for 4-5 episode stretches) making frustrating decisions and being treated along the way to pages worth of exposition, some of which will be be delivered during sex scenes, just because. And when some Fantasy novels are afraid your attention may be waning, it will jolt you back with some extreme violence. Thank God we still have stuff like “The Worm Ourobouros” to get back to when we want to treat ourselves to something good SF-wise.

NB: This blog is mainly is for the books that slipped through the net of full-length “reviews” and normally one or maybe two people read them, grumbling that there's fantasy in what was a fantasy-horror-SF grab-bag…This time, because it's the Post-Summer doldrums, this review might become a bit more noticeable (or not).

SF = Speculative Fiction.
… (more)
1 vote
antao | 45 other reviews | Sep 26, 2022 |



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½ 3.7

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