Ill Met in Lankhmar

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"Ill Met in Lankhmar" is a sword and sorcery novella by American writer Fritz Leiber, recounting the meeting and teaming-up of his adventurous duo, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.

Sword and sorcery genre of fantasy fiction

Sword and sorcery (S&S) is a subgenre of fantasy characterized by sword-wielding heroes engaged in exciting and violent adventures. An element of romance is often present, as is an element of magic and the supernatural. Unlike works of high fantasy, the tales, though dramatic, focus mainly on personal battles rather than world-endangering matters. Sword and sorcery commonly overlaps with heroic fantasy.

Novella written, fictional, prose narrative normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel

A novella is a text of written, fictional, narrative prose normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel, somewhere between 17,500 and 40,000 words.

Fritz Leiber American writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction

Fritz Reuter Leiber Jr. was an American writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He was also a poet, actor in theater and films, playwright and chess expert. With writers such as Robert E. Howard and Michael Moorcock, Leiber can be regarded as one of the fathers of sword and sorcery fantasy, having coined the term.

Contents

First published in 1970 in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction , it is a prequel, as Leiber had by that time been chronicling the pair's adventures for thirty years. The story forms part four of the collection Swords and Deviltry .

A prequel is a literary, dramatic, or cinematic work whose story precedes that of a previous work, by focusing on events that occur before the original narrative. A prequel is a work that forms part of a backstory to the preceding work.

<i>Swords and Deviltry</i> book by Fritz Leiber

Swords and Deviltry is a fantasy short story collection, first published 1970, by Fritz Leiber, featuring his sword and sorcery heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. It is chronologically the first volume of the complete seven volume edition of the collected stories devoted to the characters. The book was first published in paperback form during 1970 by Ace Books company, which reprinted the title numerous times through November 1985; later paperback editions were issued by ibooks (2003) and Dark Horse (2006). It has been published in the United Kingdom by New English Library (1971), Mayflower Books (1979) and Grafton. The first hardcover edition was issued by Gregg Press during December 1977. The book has also been gathered together with others in the series into various omnibus editions; The Three of Swords (1989), Ill Met in Lankhmar (1995), The First Book of Lankhmar (2001), and Lankhmar (2008).

It was awarded the 1970 Nebula Award for Best Novella [1] and the 1971 Hugo Award for Best Novella. [2]

Nebula Award for Best Novella literary award

The Nebula Award for Best Novella is given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for science fiction or fantasy novellas. A work of fiction is defined by the organization as a novella if it is between 17,500 and 40,000 words; awards are also given out for pieces of longer lengths in the novel category, and for shorter lengths in the short story and novelette categories. To be eligible for Nebula Award consideration a novella must be published in English in the United States. Works published in English elsewhere in the world are also eligible provided they are released on either a website or in an electronic edition. The Nebula Award for Best Novella has been awarded annually since 1966. Novellas published by themselves are eligible for the novel award instead if the author requests them to be considered as such. The award has been described as one of "the most important of the American science fiction awards" and "the science-fiction and fantasy equivalent" of the Emmy Awards.

The Hugo Award for Best Novella is one of the Hugo Awards given each year for science fiction or fantasy stories published or translated into English during the previous calendar year. The novella award is available for works of fiction of between 17,500 and 40,000 words; awards are also given out in the short story, novelette and novel categories. The Hugo Awards have been described as "a fine showcase for speculative fiction" and "the best known literary award for science fiction writing".

Plot summary

One murky night in Lankhmar, Fissif and Slevyas, members of the Thieves' Guild, steal valuable jewels from Jengao the gem merchant. Whilst returning to Thieves' House, they are ambushed and attacked by Gray Mouser and Fafhrd simultaneously, who steal the gems. Recognising kindred spirits, they agree to share the loot. They return to Mouser's lodgings, where Fafhrd is introduced to Mouser's woman Ivrian and Ivrian meets Fafhrd's woman, Vlana.

Lankhmar is a fictional city in the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories by Fritz Leiber. It is situated on the world of Nehwon, just west of the Great Salt Marsh and east of the River Hlal, and serves as the home of Leiber's two antiheroes.

Gemstone Piece of mineral crystal used to make jewelry

A gemstone is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However, certain rocks and occasionally organic materials that are not minerals are also used for jewelry and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their luster or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone.

Somewhat drunk, Mouser persuades Fafhrd to join him in a quest to infiltrate the headquarters of the Thieves' Guild, in the guise of members of the Beggars' Guild. They are initially successful, but their disguise comes unstuck when their glib story is seen through by Krovas, Grandmaster of the Thieves, and the Beggarmaster. Fleeing, they return to Mouser's hovel, only to find to their horror that both girls have been killed and partially eaten by giant rats and by Slivikin, a fast-moving evil witch-beast conjured up by Krovas's warlock, Hristomilo.

A warlock is a person who uses magic, especially against others.

In grief and anger, they return to Thieves' House and charge in, causing panic and chaos. They kill Hristomilo, then flee from the city.

Related Research Articles

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser group of works

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are two sword-and-sorcery heroes appearing in stories written by American author Fritz Leiber. They are the protagonists of what are probably Leiber's best-known stories. One of his motives in writing them was to have a couple of fantasy heroes closer to true human nature than the likes of Howard's Conan the Barbarian or Burroughs's Tarzan.

<i>The Adventures of Alyx</i> collection of short stories

The Adventures of Alyx is a 1976 collection of feminist science fiction stories by American writer Joanna Russ.

A thieves' guild is a concept in fantasy fiction consisting of a formal association of criminals who participate in theft-related organized crime. Examples appear in the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser story "Thieves' House" by Fritz Leiber, and role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. Though these more modern works are fictitious, there are real world examples as well, such as Jonathan Wild and his gang of thieves.

Nehwon

Nehwon is the fictional world created by Fritz Leiber in which his heroes, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, adventure. It is notable for the city of Lankhmar.

Sword of Sorcery was an American sword-and-sorcery comics anthology featuring Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, heroes and rogues created by Fritz Leiber. Published bi-monthly by DC Comics, it ran for five issues in 1973, with a cover price of 20¢. The title was written by Denny O'Neil and featured art by Howard Chaykin, Walt Simonson, and Jim Starlin.

The Snow Women short story by Fritz Leiber Junior

"The Snow Women" is a sword and sorcery novella by American writer Fritz Leiber, recounting the early history of Fafhrd, a future member of the adventurous duo Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. It was nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards in 1971, and finished second in the annual Locus poll for short fiction.

<i>Two Sought Adventure</i> book by Fritz Leiber

Two Sought Adventure is a 1957 collection of fantasy short stories by American writer Fritz Leiber. It was first published by Gnome Press in 1957 in an edition of 4,000 copies. The collections contains all of Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories that had been written at the time, with the exception of "Adept's Gambit". The collection was expanded and published by Ace Books in 1970 under the title Swords Against Death. The stories originally appeared in the magazines Unknown, Other Worlds and Suspense Magazine.

Harry Otto Fischer (1910–1986) was an American science fiction writer and fan best known for helping his college friend Fritz Leiber create the sword and sorcery heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser and their imaginary world of Nehwon.

<i>The Mighty Barbarians</i> book by Hans Stefan Santesson

The Mighty Barbarians: Great Sword and Sorcery Heroes is a 1969 anthology of fantasy short stories in the sword and sorcery subgenre, edited by Hans Stefan Santesson. It was first published in paperback by Lancer Books in 1969, and was later followed up by the subsequent Lancer anthology The Mighty Swordsmen. It has been translated into Dutch. Robert M. Price edited a later-day homage to both anthologies called The Mighty Warriors (2018).

<i>Swords Against Death</i> book by Fritz Leiber

Swords Against Death is a fantasy short story collection by American writer Fritz Leiber, first published in 1970 and featuring his sword and sorcery heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. It is chronologically the second volume of the complete seven volume edition of the collected stories devoted to the characters. It is an expansion of Leiber's earlier collection Two Sought Adventure, issued by Gnome Press during 1957. The earlier collection contained seven of the ten stories of Swords Against Death, plus an "Induction" omitted from the expanded edition, which was instead republished in its companion volume, Swords and Deviltry (1970). Swords Against Death was first published in paperback during 1970 by Ace Books, which reprinted the title numerous times through August 1990; later paperback editions were issued by ibooks (2003) and Dark Horse (2007). It has been published in the United Kingdom by New English Library (1972), Mayflower Books (1979) and Grafton (1986). The first hardcover edition was issued by Gregg Press during December 1977. The book has also been gathered together with others of the series into various omnibus editions; The Three of Swords (1989), Ill Met in Lankhmar (1995), The First Book of Lankhmar (2001), and Lankhmar (2008).

<i>Swords in the Mist</i> book by Fritz Leiber

Swords in the Mist is a fantasy short story collection, first published 1968, by Fritz Leiber, featuring his sword and sorcery heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. It is chronologically the third volume of the complete seven volume edition of the collected stories devoted to the characters. It was first published in paperback format during 1968 by Ace Books company, which reprinted the title numerous times through September 1990; later paperback editions were issued by ibooks (2003) and Dark Horse (2007). It has been published in the United Kingdom by Mayflower Books (1979) and Grafton. The first hardcover edition was issued by Gregg Press during December 1977. The book has also been gathered together with others in the series into various omnibus editions; The Three of Swords (1989), Lean Times in Lankhmar (1996), The First Book of Lankhmar (2001), and Lankhmar (2008).

<i>Swords Against Wizardry</i> book by Fritz Leiber

Swords Against Wizardry is a fantasy short story collection, first published 1968, by Fritz Leiber and Harry Fischer, featuring their sword and sorcery heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Fischer's contribution was limited to ten thousand words of The Lords of Quarmall. The book is chronologically the fourth volume of the complete seven volume edition of the collected stories devoted to the characters. It was first published in paperback format during 1968 by Ace Books company, which reprinted the title numerous times up to October 1990; later paperback editions were issued by ibooks (2003) and Dark Horse (2007). It has been published in the United Kingdom by Grafton (1986). The first hardcover edition was issued by Gregg Press during December 1977.

<i>The Swords of Lankhmar</i> novel by Fritz Leiber

The Swords of Lankhmar is a fantasy novel, first published 1968, by Fritz Leiber, featuring his sword and sorcery heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. It is chronologically the fifth volume of the complete seven volume edition of the collected stories devoted to the characters. The book is an expansion of Leiber's earlier novella "Scylla's Daughter", which was published originally in the magazine Fantastic Stories of Imagination for May 1961. The full novel first published in paperback format during 1968 by Ace Books company, which reprinted the title numerous times through 1986; a later paperback edition was issued by Dark Horse (2008). It has been published in the United Kingdom by Mayflower Books (1970) and Grafton. The first hardcover edition was issued by Rupert Hart-Davis during June 1969; a later hardcover edition was issued by Gregg Press during December 1977. The book has also been gathered together with others in the series into various omnibus editions; Swords' Masters (1990), Return to Lankhmar (1997), and The Second Book of Lankhmar (2001).

<i>Swords and Ice Magic</i> book by Fritz Leiber

Swords and Ice Magic is a fantasy short story collection, first published 1977, by American writer Fritz Leiber, featuring his sword and sorcery heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. It is chronologically the sixth volume of the complete seven volume edition of the collected stories devoted to the characters. It was first published in paperback format during July 1977 by Ace Books company, which reprinted the title numerous times through 1990; a later paperback edition was issued by Dark Horse (2007). It has been published in the United Kingdom by Mayflower Books and Grafton. The first hardcover edition was issued by Gregg Press during December 1977. The book has also been gathered together with others in the series into various omnibus editions; Swords' Masters (1990), Return to Lankhmar (1997), and The Second Book of Lankhmar (2001).

<i>The Knight and Knave of Swords</i> book by Fritz Leiber

The Knight and Knave of Swords is a fantasy short story collection by American writer Fritz Leiber, first published in 1988, featuring his sword and sorcery heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. It is chronologically the seventh and last volume of the complete seven volume edition of the collected stories devoted to the characters. It was first published in hardcover format during December 1988 by William Morrow and Company, and in paperback format during February 1990 by Ace Books company; it was later reissued with the title Farewell to Lankhmar in both hardcover and paperback formats by White Wolf company ; the most recent later paperback edition, from Dark Horse (2008), reverted to the original title. It has been published in the United Kingdom by Grafton and Gollancz (2000); the latter adopted the title used by the White Wolf editions. The book has also been gathered together with others in the series into the omnibus edition The Second Book of Lankhmar (2001).

<i>Swords Against the Shadowland</i> book by Robin Wayne Bailey

Swords Against the Shadowland is a fantasy novel by American writer Robin Wayne Bailey, featuring Fritz Leiber's sword and sorcery heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. It was first published as a trade paperback in August 1998 by White Wolf. A later trade paperback edition was issued by Dark Horse in April 2009. It was projected to be the first in a series of authorized continuations of the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser saga by Bailey. The second was reported to be "currently in progress" in 2008, but has yet to appear.

Fritz Leiber bibliography

This is a bibliography of works by Fritz Leiber.

References

  1. Archived April 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  2. "1971 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. Archived from the original on 7 May 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2015.

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