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Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction
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Author:  finarvyn [ Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:54 am ]
Post subject:  Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

For those interested, here are the Fafhrd & Grey Mouser stories "in order" according to the chronology set up by Fritz Leiber. Those stories have been published in paperback anthology form in the 1970's, and I have listed those stories plus publication date in parenthesis. White Wolf put out an omnibus set in the 1990's which published the stories “in order” and I have also included the titles of those in all capital letters.

A couple of the stories have alternate titles, and I have included those as well.

ILL-MET IN LANKHMAR
1 "Induction" (Swords and Deviltry; 1957)
2 The Snow Women (Swords and Deviltry; 1970)
3 "The Unholy Grail" (Swords and Deviltry; 1962)
4 Ill Met in Lankhmar (Swords and Deviltry; 1970)
5 "The Circle Curse" (Swords Against Death; 1970)
6 "The Jewels in the Forest" AKA "Two Sought Adventure" (Swords Against Death; 1939)
7 "Thieves' House" (Swords Against Death; 1943)
8 "The Bleak Shore" (Swords Against Death; 1940)
9 "The Howling Tower" (Swords Against Death; 1941)
10 "The Sunken Land" (Swords Against Death; 1942)
11 "The Seven Black Priests" (Swords Against Death; 1953)
12 "Claws from the Night" AKA "Dark Vengeance" (Swords Against Death; 1951)

13 "The Price of Pain-Ease" (Swords Against Death; 1970)
14 "Bazaar of the Bizarre" (Swords Against Death; 1963)

LEAN TIMES IN LANKHMAR
15 "The Cloud of Hate" (Swords in the Mist; 1963)
16 "Lean Times in Lankhmar" (Swords in the Mist; 1959)
17 "Their Mistress, the Sea" (Swords in the Mist; 1968)
18 "When the Sea-King's Away" (Swords in the Mist; 1960)
19 "The Wrong Branch" (Swords in the Mist; 1968)
20 Adept's Gambit (Swords in the Mist; 1947)
21 "In the Witch's Tent" (Swords Against Wizardry; 1968)
22 "Stardock" (Swords Against Wizardry; 1965)
23 "The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar" (Swords Against Wizardry; 1968)
24 The Lords of Quarmall (Swords Against Wizardry; 1964)

RETURN TO LANKHMAR
25 “The Swords of Lankhmar” AKA"Scylla's Daughter" (Swords of Lankhmar; 1968)
26 "The Sadness of the Executioner" (Swords and Ice Magic; 1973)
27 "Beauty and the Beasts" (Swords and Ice Magic; 1974)
28 "Trapped in the Shadowland" (Swords and Ice Magic; 1973)
29 "The Bait" (Swords and Ice Magic; 1973)
30 "Under the Thumbs of the Gods" (Swords and Ice Magic; 1975)
31 "Trapped in the Sea of Stars" (Swords and Ice Magic; 1975)
32 "The Frost Monstreme" (Swords and Ice Magic; 1976)
33 Rime Isle (Swords and Ice Magic; 1977)

FAREWELL TO LANKHMAR
34 "Sea Magic" (The Knight and Knave of Swords; 1977)
35 "The Mer She" (The Knight and Knave of Swords; 1983)
36 The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars (The Knight and Knave of Swords; 1983)
37 The Mouser Goes Below (The Knight and Knave of Swords; 1988)

For those interested in only the essential F&GM, there was a hardback called Two Sought Adventure (my copy is from 1957) which compiles the early, and some say the best of the stories. I have highlighted those stories in red for those who want to search for a good starting point. Those include "Induction", "the Jewels in the Forest", "Thieves' house", "the Bleak Shore", "the Howling Tower", "the Sunken Land", "the Seven Black Priests", and "Claws from the Night". An interesting fact is that "Adept's Gambit" was one of the earliest stories but was not included in Two Sought Adventure, so I also highlighted it for those wanting early F&GM literature.

Author:  finarvyn [ Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

As a follow-up to my earlier post, I thought I would make a few comments about the Fafhrd & Gray Mouser stories according to actual publication date. My focus is on the early fiction, since someone who wants an "essential" reading list would want to start there.

Here are the "original" F&GM stories:
1 "The Jewels in the Forest" AKA "Two Sought Adventure" (1939)
2 "The Bleak Shore" (1940)
3 "The Howling Tower" (1941)
4 "The Sunken Land" (1942)
5 "Thieves' House" (1943)
6 "Adept's Gambit" (1947)
7 "Claws from the Night" AKA "Dark Vengeance" (1951)
8 "The Seven Black Priests" (1953)
9 "Induction" (1957)

What you notice is that Leiber wrote the early stuff from 1939 to 1943 then a lot more irregularly from 1947 through 1957, when Two Sought Adventure came out. This group is, in my opinion, the absolute best of the stories and can be read in pretty much any order.

1959-1977 is when the bulk of the stories were written, most of the fiction that was published as paperbacks in the 1970's when fantasy novels became popular. These are good stories, aimed at trying to "fill in the gaps" and make a complete chronology.

Then a gap of five years before the last flurry of 1983-1988. These stories are, in my opinion, Leiber's weakest as it seems like he was recycling some of his own ideas. On the other hand, there is roughly fifty years from the writing of the first story to that of the last one, and that's a pretty amazing accomplishment.

Author:  Gameogre [ Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

Wasn't there a Lankhmar Comic book series? I remember there being one but.....off to look it up!

Author:  catseye yellow [ Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

yes. mignola's.

Image

Author:  Clangador [ Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

I haven't read these books in 20+ years. Looks like it is about time to revisit them.

Author:  finarvyn [ Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

Clangador wrote:
I haven't read these books in 20+ years. Looks like it is about time to revisit them.
You should do so. They read a lot like RPG campaign logs before D&D was even invented.

Ironically, I started re-reading the series a couple of weeks ago, having no idea that this was looming on the horizon. The Lankhmar books are one of my "back to my roots of gaming" books when I get into a funk and try to recapture the good old days. I first read them back in the 1970's and they were a heavy influence on the way my OD&D campaigns developed back then.

Author:  Golgothmog [ Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

finarvyn wrote:
I first read them back in the 1970's and they were a heavy influence on the way my OD&D campaigns developed back then.
Yeah, way more than Tolkien it's the Lankhmar stories that I associate with early D&D... discovering both at the same time from the same family of 5 brothers (and 1 poor annoyed sister). Their parents wouldn't allow a TV in the house so they read, played games, built castles, trained seeing eye dogs... all sorts of stuff.
I'm gonna start reading these again in anticipation of the new DCC books and I expect to have a great time.

Author:  DM Cojo [ Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

Thanks for compiling this! I hope to read some Lieber soon...not being familiar with his writing...but am curious now that DCC has a campaign setting for it!

Author:  finarvyn [ Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

DM Cojo wrote:
Thanks for compiling this! I hope to read some Lieber soon...not being familiar with his writing...but am curious now that DCC has a campaign setting for it!

Again, look for the ones in red if you aren't planning on trying to plow through the whole series.

That would mean you might focus your search on "Swords Against Death" if you are searching for the paperback version or "Ill-Met in Lankhmar" if you are looking for the White Wolf hardback omnibus.

Author:  DM Cojo [ Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

finarvyn wrote:
DM Cojo wrote:
Thanks for compiling this! I hope to read some Lieber soon...not being familiar with his writing...but am curious now that DCC has a campaign setting for it!

Again, look for the ones in red if you aren't planning on trying to plow through the whole series.

That would mean you might focus your search on "Swords Against Death" if you are searching for the paperback version or "Ill-Met in Lankhmar" if you are looking for the White Wolf hardback omnibus.


Well, I have Swords and Deviltry on my nook. Have to see about the others.

Author:  Scottius [ Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

I've read through the entire series at this point. I've actually been through them all as audio books via audible as well now. In my opinion the reader/narrator that they got does a really great job giving all the characters different voices and making the stories come to life. They made a great listen for some long drives.

I enjoyed most of the stories though the earlier ones were better overall. My least favorite are definitely the novel, the story where they cross over to historical Earth, & the later stuff like everything with Rime Isle.

Author:  finarvyn [ Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

Scottius wrote:
I enjoyed most of the stories though the earlier ones were better overall. My least favorite are definitely the novel, the story where they cross over to historical Earth, & the later stuff like everything with Rime Isle.
Your tastes certainly seem to mirror mine. I think that it's also important to remember that Leiber wrote these stories over a fifty year span of real life, and whatever writing magic he might have captured in the early days simply might not have been there five decades later. I feel like the later stories tended to duplicate the early ones too much.

Author:  Scottius [ Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

finarvyn wrote:
Your tastes certainly seem to mirror mine. I think that it's also important to remember that Leiber wrote these stories over a fifty year span of real life, and whatever writing magic he might have captured in the early days simply might not have been there five decades later. I feel like the later stories tended to duplicate the early ones too much.


That is certainly a good point. And even in the stories I don't find as personally compelling I do feel that Leiber's writing is still strong. I just think the spirit of adventure isn't quite as strong as it once was. Then by the time they get to Rime Isle the themes introduced have changed with more of a focus on settling down and not going from one adventure to another and one girl to another. Which all feels like something an older man would explore.

Author:  Shingen [ Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

I'd love an omnibus edition of some kind. I have some collections of various quality and organization, but I'd love to have a go to set to use (like I do with Howard, frex). I've gotten lazy about tracking it all down. Is there a newer one anyone knows of?

PS my first exposure to Lankhmar was the Ad&d and 2e adventures by TSR. I wonder how many else learned to like it from there, too.

Author:  DCCfan [ Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader's guide to Lankhmar fiction

Shingen wrote:
I'd love an omnibus edition of some kind. I have some collections of various quality and organization, but I'd love to have a go to set to use (like I do with Howard, frex). I've gotten lazy about tracking it all down. Is there a newer one anyone knows of?

PS my first exposure to Lankhmar was the Ad&d and 2e adventures by TSR. I wonder how many else learned to like it from there, too.


That's how I found out about Lankhmar. I never did read the books until Joe challenged us to read appendix N. My main inspiration when I started playing D&D was the Dragon Lance novels. Both styles are fun to play. However Now that I have read both I much prefer the Lankhmar style of adventure. Maybe getting older has something to do with it.

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