Ramsey Campbell, the highly regarded British horror author called him, "the greatest living writer of supernatural horror fiction". Drawing many of his own themes from Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, and H.P Lovecraft, master manipulator Franz Leiber is a worldwide legend within the Fantasy genre, actually coining the term "Sword and Sorcery" that would describe the sub-genre he would more than help create. While Lord of the Rings took the world by storm, Leiber's fantastic but thoroughly flawed anti-heroes, Fafhrd and Grey Mouser, adventured and stumbled deep within the caves of Inner Earth as well, albeit a different one. They wondered and wandered to the edges of the Outer Sea, across the Land of Nehwon and throughout every nook and cranny of gothic Lankhmar, Nehwon's grandest and most mystically corrupt city. Lankhmar, is Leiber's fully realized, vivid, incarnation of urban decay and civilization's corroding effect on the human psyche. Fafhrd and Mouse are not innocents; their world is no land of honor and righteousness. It is a world of human complexities and violent action, of discovery and mystery, of swords and sorcery.
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November 30, 1988
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Excerpt from The Knight and Knave of Swords by Fritz Leiber
I: Sea Magic
On the world of Nehwon and the land of Simorgya, six days fast sailing south from Rime Isle, two handsome silvery personages conversed intimately yet tensely in a dimly and irregularly lit hall of pillars open overhead to the darkness. Very strange was that illumination--greenish and yellowish by turns, it seemed to come chiefly from grotesquely shaped rugs patching the Stygian floor and lapping the pillars' bases and also from slowly moving globes and sinuosities that floated about at head height and wove amongst the pillars, softly dimming and brightening like lethargic and plague-stricken giant fireflies.
Mordroog said sharply, "Caught you that thrill, sister--faint and far north away, yet unmistakably ours."
Ississi replied eagerly, "The same, brother, as we felt two days agone--our mystic gold dipped deep in the sea for a space, then out again."
"The same indeed, sister, though this time with a certain ambiguity as to the out--whether that or otherwise gone," Mordroog assented.
"Yet the now-confirmed clue is certain and bears only one interpretation: our chiefest treasures, that were our most main guards, raped away long ages agone--and now at long last we know the culprits, those villainous pirates of Rime Isle!" breathed Ississi.
"Long, long ages agone, before ever Simorgya sank (and the fortunate island kingdom became the dark infernal realm)--and their vanishment the hastener or very agent of that sinking. But now we have the remedy--and who knows when our treasure's back what long-sunken things may rise in spouting wrath to consternate the world- Your attention, sister!" snapped Mordroog.