Monday, March 21, 2022

The One Time I Sorta Met Fritz Leiber


I met Fritz Leiber once. If you accept that being on a Fritz Leiber Appreciation panel at a Philcon where he was guest of honor and asking a question of him a couple of times from the dais means that I "met" him.

 Fritz was old by then and got around in a wheelchair. He died only two years later. And everyone on the panel was in awe of him. I noticed that whenever one of referred to him directly, we made a little bobbing motion, a kind of involuntary bow.

I had a theory I wondered about and I figured that this would my only opportunity to find out, so I asked: "It seems to me that the Fafhrd and Mouser stories are actually horror stories, which we think of otherwise because the charismatic heroes always get away at the end. Is this so or not?"

To which Leiber replied, "Everything I have ever written is horror."

I, of course, felt pleased. One of my fellow panelists, encouraged by my example, presented his own theory about Leiber's works (I forget what it was, but I recall it being recondite) and asked if it was true.

"Absolutely not!" Leiber said, very firmly.

My fellow panelist blinked. Then, returning to the rest of the audience, he said, "Nevertheless, unconsciously, Fritz Leiber..."

Some people just can't take "You're full of it" for an answer.



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