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The Second Book of Fritz Leiber, by Fritz Leiber Book Review | SFReader.com
The Second Book of Fritz Leiber, by Fritz Leiber Genre: Mixed Genre Collection Publisher: DAW Published: 1975 Review Posted: 9/21/2006 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
The Second Book of Fritz Leiber, by Fritz Leiber
Book Review by S C Bryce
Have you read this book?
Speculative fiction grandmaster Fritz Leiber compiled a two volume collection in the 1970s. These slim books spanned his entire career and cut across his many interests and styles. The "Second Book of Fritz Leiber" follows the same format as the "The Book of Fritz Leiber," alternating between essays and stories.
The five essays cover widely differing topics. The first is an almost hypnotic essay on humanity's fascination with tides and the science behind them. The second is the popular essay among Leiber fans and scholars, "Fafhrd and Me," in which Leiber describes the creation of his most enduring characters, the infamous sword and sorcery misadventurers Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. He follows these up with three essays that are, unfortunately dated. In "Ingmar Bergman: Fantasy Novelist," he presents the title thesis. "Those Wild Alien Words" is another linguistic essay whose relevance is lost in our global society. Lastly, "Through Hyperspace with Brown Jenkin" examines science in HP Lovecraft's works. However, given Lovecraft's decline in popularity since 1966 (the date of the essay), few readers are likely to appreciate it. And then there have been the changes in our state of scientific knowledge.
The six pieces of Leiber included in this volume, like the essays, are a varied sort and more esoteric than the stories in the previous volume. Even the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser tale ("Trapped in the Sea of Stars") is largely a dark and philosophical tale. "The Mechanical Bride" is a science fiction play in "The Stepford Wives" vein. "A Defense of Werewolves" is less of a story rather than a soliloquy on how science can enhance our fears and sense of wonderment at the world rather than diminish it. Both "Belsen Express" and "Scream Wolf" are more straightforward tales, more easily enjoyed.
By far this reader's favorite was "The Lion and the Lamb." Taking up nearly a quarter of this slim book, it is difficult to believe that this novella was written in 1950. A compelling mix of adventure, politics, and horror in a science fiction setting, "The Lion and the Lamb" is simply outstanding. Together with Leiber's essays The Mighty Tides" and "Fafhrd and Me," this is one of the absolute stand-outs in the book.
Because of the erratic way in which the book holds up over time.
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