Guess what just arrived in the mail! It's the new Centipede Press hardcover edition of The Swords of Lankhmar. This is the fifth volume of Fritz Leiber's immortal sword and sorcery series chronicling the adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.
And I wrote the introduction!
Here's how my intro begins:
In retrospect it was a rude question for me to ask.
Authors should never be required to explain their own work. But I honestly wanted to know. And the answer I received was significant enough to merit sharing with you.
This was back in 1990, when Fritz Leiber was a guest of honor at the Philadelphia Science Fiction Conference. I found myself on an appreciation panel with the great writer sitting in a wheelchair in the front row of the audience. He was 79 years old and, quite frankly, he looked exhausted. At the time, he had less than two years yet to live.
The panelists, a mix of writers and editors, were all in awe of Leiber. Whenever one of us addressed him directly, we said “sir,” and found ourselves bowing a little, as one might to the Pope or the Dalai Lama. He was possibly the fi nest literary stylist ever to grace science fi ction and fantasy and, being people who lived by words, we couldn’t help it.
... and I went on to ask an impertinent question that got a significant answer. But to find out what Leiber said, you'll have to buy the book.
Centipede Press publishes beautifully-crafted, limited edition books and charges accordingly. A copy of The Swords of Lankhmar will set you back $75. But if you can afford it, it's money well spent.
And while I'm on my soapbox . . .
If you love fantasy and fine writing and haven't yet discovered Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, you're in for a treat. They are the gold standard of sword and sorcery (a term that Fritz Leiber invented, by the way). Witty, adventurous, colorful, fantastic, sexy... These stories have got it all.
To borrow a phrase from Harlan Ellison, Fritz Leiber could walk on water.
Sermon over. Nuff said.