Fritz Leiber was born 106 years ago, on December 24, 1910, in Chicago. He was one of the greatest writers of the fantastic the world has ever seen, being a major writer of fantasy, science fiction, and horror.
It’s hard to know where to start when discussing Leiber. Probably of greatest interest to readers of this blog would be his sword and sorcery series about the adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. I’ve always enjoyed his horror stories, especially the ones he wrote in the 1940s. These days an urban setting for horror is nothing unusual. Back then it was still fairly new. Leiber set the bar for that type of horror story, and he set it high. He also wrote a great deal of science fiction, much of it involving time travel or cats.
I’ve not read many of Leiber’s novels, something I intend to correct over the next year. There’s been renewed interest in Leiber’s short fiction lately. Centipede Press earlier this year released Masters of Science Fiction: Fritz Leiber (one of two inaugural volumes in that series) as well as the two volume slip-cased Masters of the Weird Tale: Fritz Leiber.
Both of the above titles are sold out by the publishers, but fear not if you missed or weren’t able to afford them. (They weren’t cheap.) About a dozen or so years ago, give or take, Darkside Press/Midnight House published four collections of Leiber’s short work. And while those books are also sold out from the publisher (who is no longer in business, and weren’t cheap either), they’ve been reprinted in inexpensive electronic editions: Smoke Ghost; Day Dark, Night Bright; Horrible Imaginings; and The Black Gondolier. They are also available in trade paperback. They make great Christmas gifts for yourself.