Saturday, March 26, 2016

Swords in the Mist (1968)

Swords in the Mist is a Fafhrd and Gray Mouser collection by Fritz Leiber, originally published in 1968, but assigned #3 in the collection order. As with the other novels of this type, the stories have a strong oral component, wander aimlessly while the narrator vamps, hoping for a plot point, then tripping over itself to reach those plot points.

If you have any literary self-respect, you won't read this.

Yet, and I say YET, there's a brilliance working under all that. Just when you're ready to throw the narrator off the bus, he hits his stride, and some scenes just WORK. Mind you, you need to read lots and lots of bad scenes to get to the good ones, but the ones that are good are really good.

The final story actually teetered between readable and engaging, which rather shocked me. It's as if somebody else beside Leiber wrote the story, but it had to be Leiber as that aggravating narrative backward telling keeps tripping the story up.

I can't give this this any sort of good score, which is sad, because the man has chops but chooses to use a chainsaw instead.