Legendary sword and sorcery writer Fritz Leiber was born 110 years ago this Christmas Eve. He is one of the writers included in The Beginner’s Guide to Pulp Fiction, Volume 1.
One of the leaders of the “sword and sorcery” genre, Leiber did most of his pulp work as the magazines were fading away.
His first pulp sale was “Two Sought Adventure,” published in the August 1939 Unknown. It introduced his most famous characters, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. The two were, according to Lieber, his effort to make more realistic heroes than the super-humans represented by characters like Tarzan and Conan.
Fafhrd is a tall, strong barbarian, while the Mouser is a small, mercurial thief, and a former wizard’s apprentice. The majority of the stories are set in the fictional world of Nehwon (“Nowhen” spelled backwards). Several additional Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories would appear in Unknown, then in other science fiction magazines after Unknown folded in 1943.
Lieber’s stories outside the series appeared in several other pulps, including Amazing Stories and Future Fiction. Lieber’s first two novels were also serialized in the pulps in 1943, Conjure Wife in Unknown and Gather Darkness! in Astounding.
The fantasy pioneer died in 1992.