Bill Ward and I are re-reading a book from Fritz Leiber’s famous Lankhmar series, Swords Against Death. We hope you’ll pick up a copy and join us. This week we tackled the third tale in the volume, “Thieves’ House.”
Howard: I see now why I remembered this one so fondly. Consider the following ingredients: a twisting maze in a building so old that even its inhabitants don’t know all of its secrets: trap doors, secret passages, action, mayhem, a beautiful dancing girl, treasure, horror…
It seems that all I do with my writing anymore these days is revise. Back when I was writing in my teens and twenties I used to just keep picking away at the first three or four chapters of a work and never advance. Recently it seems like I get the first three or four chapters working pretty well but then take too long getting to the good stuff. No more. Just as I prefer streamlined role-playing game systems I’ve decided to strip away any sense of the padding I hate and get to the good bits right up front.
Bill Ward and I are re-reading a book from Fritz Leiber’s famous Lankhmar series, Swords Against Death. We hope you’ll pick up a copy and join us. This week we tackled the second tale in the volume, “The Jewels in the Forest.”
Howard: Coming upon “The Jewels in the Forest” for the first time in a quarter century was like sitting down at a warm campfire to hear a favorite tale. I recalled the gist of the events, but it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story all the way through. I was soon swept up into the adventure. It didn’t matter that I recalled the bones of the plot; the mystery beguiled me. Read More
In the coming weeks Bill Ward and I are re-reading a book from Fritz Leiber’s famous Lankhmar series, Swords Against Death. We hope you’ll pick up a copy and join us. This week we tackled the first tale in the volume. “The Circle Curse” is really more of a prologue than a proper story.
Howard: When I first read “The Circle Curse” I was 14 or 15 years old and it left me wanting. So wanting that I probably would have stopped reading the book if the story hadn’t been so short. I had opened Swords Against Death expecting to be transported into adventure, and what I got in “The Circle Curse” was more the summary of several adventures, a whole lot of wandering, and a little moping. I loved the rest of the book and re-read it multiple times, but I have never, ever revisited this first story until now.
If you’re not already familiar with Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser this is a cold start. It doesn’t really tell a proper story, it just fills in the gaps between what happened between “Ill Met in Lankhmar” and the collection of tales here. And that’s perfectly fine, I suppose, if you’re reading them in sequence. Maybe readers need something to tell them what happened between adventures. I would have preferred a few more tales to tell me rather than this summary, but even creative geniuses don’t always give you what you want. Read More
Following on a great post by Fletcher Vredenburgh about Karl Edward Wagner’s Bran Mak Morn novel (over at Black Gate), I decided to update my own post on Conan pastiche. I’ve read, or tried to read, a lot more imitation Conan since I wrote the document and thought it high time to update the thing.
My own writing proceeds apace. Onward and upward. It looks like final changes are finished on my next Pathfinder novel, coming this fall (through Tor!).
I’m not sure when For the Killing of Kings will be released through Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s, but it’s looking more and more like it will be this coming winter. First, though, I have to finish this revision. I’m shooting to have that draft complete by the end of April. On a long trip recently I started reworking the outline for the second book and am so excited with it I’m having to restrain myself from jumping into work on it right now.