Fritz Leiber

Fritz Leiber
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Fritz Leiber

Fritz Reuter Leiber Jr. (Chicago, Illinois, December 24, 1910-San Francisco, California, September 5, 1992) was a novelist and American storyteller of fantasy genres , terror and science fiction. His science fiction novels The Big Time (1958) and The Wandering Planet (The Wanderer, 1964) and the stories “Let’s Roll the Bones” (“Gonna Roll the Bones”, 1967), about a gambler who plays to dice with death, and “Ship of shadows” (“Ship of Shadows”, 1970) gave him several Hugo and Nebula awards.

Fritz_Leiber’s Biography

He was the son of Shakespearean actors and in his childhood he was fascinated by the world of theater, which he would later describe in stories like “No Great Magic” and “Four Ghosts in Hamlet”. In the same way, he conceived an actor and theater producer as the protagonist of his novel A Specter is Haunting Texas. An interesting element of his novel The Big Time is that all the action takes place in a small space-time bubble totally isolated and that is about the size of a theatrical setting, also having a few characters.

The most important part of Leiber’s work is the short stories, especially the horror genre. For stories like “The Girl with the Hungry Eyes” (“The Girl With the Hungry Eyes”) and “You’re All Alone” (“You’re Alone”), Leiber is considered one of the forerunners of the urban tale of modern terror . In his last years, Leiber resumed his love of the horror story in works such as Horrible Imaginings, “Black Has Its Charms” and the award-winning “The Button Moulder” (“The botonist”) .

Among his most celebrated works are the stories of the series Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, written over 50 years. These stories can be considered precursors of modern tales of heroic fantasy. Leiber wrote other extensive series of stories, which he called Gummitch and Change War.

The author married in 1936 with Jonquil Stephens and they had a son. The death of his wife in 1969 led him to alcoholism, but he managed to redo himself to write the fantasy novel set in modern San Francisco: Our Lady of Darkness. The award-winning sci-fi story “Catch that Zeppelin!” (1975) proposes alternative parallel worlds, much preferable to the real world.

Leiber was very influenced by H. P. Lovecraft and Robert Graves in the first two decades of his career. From the 50s he was fascinated by Carl Jung, especially for his concepts of anima and shadow, which Leiber openly mentions in his stories.

Leiber was also a great lover of cats, who also appear continuously in their stories. In his novel The Wandering Planet, the character “Tigerishka” is a cat-like extraterrestrial, sexually very attractive to men. In another of his works also appears a kitten with an intelligence quotient of 160.

In his last years of life, Leiber remarried a friend journalist. Although many people thought that the writer spent hardships, the truth is that he lived a day, spending a lot, because he liked the good life. The fees charged by Dungeons & amp; Dragons, a role-playing game based on the myths of the series Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, allowed him a quiet and comfortable existence until the end of his days.

Leiber died on the return trip of a science fiction convention held in Toronto. The cause was certified as death by age.

In his youth, Leiber had also been an actor, a powerful chess player and a fencing champion.

He wrote a short autobiography entitled Not Much Disorder and Not So Early Sex. Bruce Byfield produced a critical biography about this author: Witches of the Mind, published in Necronomicon Press. There is an essay about his literary relationship with Lovecraft in the book by S. T. Joshi The Evolution of the Weird Tale (2004). Critical Leiber writings can be found in Fafhrd and Me (1990), published by Wildside Press. Leiber died in 1992, but the stories and novels he left written are a true legacy for all science fiction, horror and fantasy enthusiasts.

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