Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

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.[1]

Fafhrd is a very tall (nearly seven feet) and strong northern barbarian, skilled at both swordsmanship and singing; the Mouser is a small (not much more than five feet) mercurial thief, gifted and deadly at swordsmanship (often using a sword in one hand and a long dagger or main-gauche in the other), and a former wizard's apprentice who retains some skill at magic. Fafhrd talks like a romantic, but his strong practicality usually wins through, while the cynical-sounding Mouser is prone to showing strains of sentiment at unexpected times. Both are rogues, living in a decadent world where to be so is a requirement of survival. They spend a lot of time drinking, feasting, wenching, brawling, stealing, and gambling, and are seldom fussy about who hires their swords. But they are humane and—most of all—relish true adventure.

The characters were loosely modeled upon Leiber himself and his friend Harry Otto Fischer. Fischer initially created them in a letter to Leiber in September 1934, naming at the same time their home city of Lankhmar. In 1936, Leiber finished the first Fafhrd and Gray Mouser novella, "Adept's Gambit", and began work on a second, "The Tale of the Grain Ships". At the same time, Fischer was writing the beginning of "The Lords of Quarmall". "Adept's Gambit" would not see publication until 1947, while "The Lords of Quarmall" would be finished by Leiber and published in 1964 and "The Tale of the Grain Ships" would become the prototype for "Scylla's Daughter" (1961) and, later, the novel The Swords of Lankhmar (1968).

The stories of the two were only loosely connected until the 1960s, when Leiber organized them chronologically and added additional material in preparation for paperback publication. Starting as young men, the two separately meet their female lovers, meet each other, and lose both their lovers in the same night, which explains both their friendship and the arrested adolescence of their lifestyles. However, in later stories, the two mature, learn leadership, and eventually settle down with new female partners on the Iceland-like Rime Isle. Leiber contemplated continuing the series beyond this point, but died prior to doing so.

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series
Two sought adventure
Two Sought Adventure, the first published story collection exclusively featuring Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, published by Gnome Press in 1958


AuthorFritz Leiber
CountryUnited States
GenreSword and sorcery
Published1939–1988
No. of books7
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
First appearanceTwo Sought Adventure, 1958
Created byFritz Leiber
Information
SpeciesHuman
GenderMale
OccupationBarbarian (Fafhrd)
Thief (Gray Mouser)

Setting

The majority of the stories are set in the fictional world of Nehwon ("ne hwon", or "Nowhen" backwards: contrasted to Samuel Butler's 1872 "Erehwon" (Nowhere)). Many of them take place in and around its greatest city, Lankhmar. It is described as "a world like and unlike our own". Theorists in Nehwon believe that it may be shaped like a bubble, floating in the waters of eternity.

In The Swords of Lankhmar it is revealed that Nehwon is just one of many worlds in a multiverse when Fafhrd and the Mouser meet a German man named Karl Treuherz of Hagenbeck who is looking for his spaceship, which he uses to cross the boundaries between different worlds in his hunt for animals for a zoo.

Technology in Nehwon varies between the Iron Age and the medieval. Leiber wrote of Lankhmarts: "They may be likened to the Romans or be thought of as, if I may use such a term, southern medievals." About his Eastern Lands, he wrote "think of Saracens, Arabs, Parthians, Assyrians even. They ride the camel and elephant, and use the bow extensively."[2]

The series includes many bizarre and outlandish characters. The two who most influence—and, some would say, cause the most trouble for—Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are their sorcerous advisers, Ningauble of the Seven Eyes and Sheelba of the Eyeless Face. These two lead the two heroes into some of their most interesting and dangerous adventures.

Publication history

Fantastic 196210
Leiber's only solo Grey Mouser tale, "The Unholy Grail", was the cover story for the October 1962 issue of Fantastic.

The first story, “Two Sought Adventure,” appeared in Unknown in August 1939 and the last in The Knight and Knave of Swords in 1988. Although Leiber credited his friend, Harry Otto Fischer, with the original concepts for the characters, it was Leiber who wrote nearly all the stories. 10,000 words of "The Lords of Quarmall" were penned by Fischer early in the development of the series; the story was completed by Leiber in 1964. Fischer also wrote "The Childhood and Youth of the Gray Mouser", published in 1978. The stories' style and tone vary considerably, but nearly all contain an often dark sense of humor, which ranges from the subtle and character-based to the Pythonesque.

The stories have been collected in the so-called "Swords" series:

  1. Swords and Deviltry (collection 1970)
    1. "Induction" (vignette 1957, "Two Sought Adventure")
    2. "The Snow Women" (novella 1970 Fantastic)
    3. "The Unholy Grail" (novelette 1962 Fantastic)
    4. "Ill Met in Lankhmar" (novella 1970 F&SF)—telling how Fafhrd and the Mouser met, this story won both a Nebula award and a Hugo award
  2. Swords Against Death (collection 1970, expanded and revised from Two Sought Adventure 1957)
    1. "The Circle Curse" (1970, first publication)
    2. "The Jewels in the Forest" (novelette 1939 Unknown, as "Two Sought Adventure")
    3. "Thieves' House" (novelette 1943 Unknown)
    4. "The Bleak Shore" (1940 Unknown)
    5. "The Howling Tower" (1941 Unknown)
    6. "The Sunken Land" (1942 Unknown)
    7. "The Seven Black Priests" (novelette 1953 Other Worlds)
    8. "Claws from the Night" (novelette 1951 Suspense as "Dark Vengeance")
    9. "The Price of Pain-Ease" (1970, first publication)
    10. "Bazaar of the Bizarre" (novelette 1963 Fantastic)
  3. Swords in the Mist (collection 1968)
    1. "The Cloud of Hate" (1963 Fantastic)
    2. "Lean Times in Lankhmar" (novelette 1959 Fantastic)
    3. "Their Mistress, the Sea" (1968, first publication)
    4. "When the Sea-King's Away" (novelette 1960 Fantastic)
    5. "The Wrong Branch" (1968, first publication)
    6. "Adept's Gambit" (novella 1947, in Leiber's Night's Black Agents collection)
  4. Swords Against Wizardry (collection 1968)
    1. "In the Witch's Tent" (1968, first publication)
    2. "Stardock" (novelette 1965 Fantastic)
    3. "The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar" (1968 Fantastic)
    4. The Lords of Quarmall (novella 1964 Fantastic), with Harry Otto Fischer
  5. The Swords of Lankhmar (novel 1968—first part published as Scylla’s Daughter (novella 1961 Fantastic))
  6. Swords and Ice Magic (collection 1977)
    1. "The Sadness of the Executioner" (1973, in Flashing Swords! #1, ed. Lin Carter)
    2. "Beauty and the Beasts" (vignette 1974, in The Book of Fritz Leiber)
    3. "Trapped in the Shadowland" (1973 Fantastic)
    4. "The Bait" (vignette 1973 Whispers)
    5. "Under the Thumbs of the Gods" (1975 Fantastic)
    6. "Trapped in the Sea of Stars" (1975, in The Second Book of Fritz Leiber)
    7. "The Frost Monstreme" (novelette 1976, in Flashing Swords! #3, ed. Lin Carter)
    8. Rime Isle (novella 1977 Cosmos SF&F Magazine) (these last two published together as Rime Isle by Whispers Press in 1977)
  7. The Knight and Knave of Swords (collection 1988)
    1. "Sea Magic" (1977 The Dragon)
    2. "The Mer She" (novelette 1983, in Heroes and Horrors)
    3. "The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars" (novella 1983, in Heroic Visions)
    4. "The Mouser Goes Below" (novella 1988, first publication—portions first printed as "The Mouser Goes Below" (1987 Whispers) and "Slack Lankhmar Afternoon Featuring Hisvet" (1988 Terry’s Universe, ed. Beth Meacham))

In 2009, Benjamin Szumskyj's Strange Wonders included the first few chapters of "The Tale of the Grain Ships", written in the 1930s. This unfinished fragment depicts the Gray Mouser in Rome during the reign of the Emperor Claudius.

  • The first six books in the series were reprinted in a uniform, archival series from Gregg Press, and were the first hardback editions of all these books save The Swords of Lankhmar.
  • Harry Otto Fischer's short story, "The Childhood and Youth of the Gray Mouser", was published in 1978 in The Dragon #18.
  • The series was continued by Robin Wayne Bailey in Swords Against the Shadowland (novel 1998).
  • A collection, Bazaar of the Bizarre, illustrated by Stephan Peregrine, comprised Leiber's three favorite Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories: "Bazaar of the Bizarre", "The Cloud of Hate", and "Lean Times in Lankhmar".
  • A sex scene from The Swords of Lankhmar, cut by editor Don Wollheim ("Good Heaven, Fritz, we're a family publisher...") was published in Fantasy Newsletter #49 (July 1982).[3]

Omnibus editions

Several omnibus editions have also been published:

  • Science Fiction Book Club: The Three of Swords (1989; books 1–3) and Swords' Masters (1989; books 4–6).
  • White Wolf: Ill Met In Lankhmar (1995; books 1 and 2, with a new introduction by Michael Moorcock and Fritz Leiber's "Fafhrd and Me"), Lean Times in Lankhmar (1996; books 3 and 4, with a new introduction by Karl Edward Wagner), Return to Lankhmar (1997; books 5 and 6, with a new introduction by Neil Gaiman), and Farewell to Lankhmar (1998; book 7; the hardcover edition omits the final seven chapters of "The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars").
  • Orion/Millennium's Fantasy Masterworks: The First Book of Lankhmar (2001; books 1–4) and The Second Book of Lankhmar (2001; books 5–7).

Comics adaptations

WW202
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser premiering in DC Comics in 1972.

In 1972, Fafhrd and the Mouser began their comics career, appearing in Wonder Woman #202 alongside the title character and Catwoman in a story scripted by award-winning SF writer Samuel R. Delany. In 1973, DC Comics began an ongoing series, Sword of Sorcery, featuring the duo. The title was written by Denny O'Neil and featured art by Howard Chaykin,[4] Walt Simonson and Jim Starlin; the well-received title ran only five issues. Stories included adaptations of "The Price of Pain-Ease", "Thieves' House", "The Cloud of Hate", and "The Sunken Land", as well as original stories. This series was collected by Dark Horse Comics in a trade paperback collection published in June 2016.

In 1991, Epic Comics published a four-issue comic book adaptation of seven of the stories: "Ill Met in Lankhmar" (issue 1), "The Circle Curse" and "The Howling Tower" (issue 2), "The Price of Pain Ease" and "Bazaar of the Bizarre" (issue 3), and "Lean Times in Lankhmar" and "When the Sea King's Away" (issue 4). The comics were scripted by Howard Chaykin, who had drawn several issues of the earlier DC title, and pencilled by Mike Mignola, whose Hellboy comic book often has a similar feel to Leiber's work. Mignola also did the jacket covers and interior art for the White Wolf collection. This series was collected by Dark Horse Comics in a trade paperback collection published in March 2007.[5]

Marvel Comics created their own version of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, when they introduced Fafnir of Vanaheim and his companion Blackrat to the Conan comic series. The pairs of characters were very much alike and Roy Thomas, who wrote the original Conan comics, made no secret that it was his intention to create characters that were a tribute to Fritz Leiber's creations.[6]

Games

In 1937, Leiber and his college friend Harry Otto Fischer created a complex wargame set within the world of Nehwon, which Fischer had helped to create. Later, they created a simplified board game entitled simply Lankhmar which was released by TSR in 1976. This is a rare case of a game adaptation written by the creators of the stories that the game is based on.

Nehwon, and some of its more interesting inhabitants, are described in the early Dungeons and Dragons supplement Deities and Demigods, and the stories themselves were a significant influence on the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game.

In 1986 Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser were featured in a 1-on-1 Adventure Gamebook set, Dragonsword of Lankhmar. One player controlled Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, who were trying to find a magical sword beneath an altar (just which one, they were not sure) in Lankhmar. The other player controlled assassins from the local thieves' guild, who were trying to kill the famous rogues for operating in the city without permission from the guild.

In Bethesda's Skyrim, in the Ratway in the city of Riften, the first enemies you meet are a sneaky-looking fellow and a barbarian type called Drahff and Hewnon Black-Skeever. Drahff is an anagram of Fafhrd, "Black-Skeever" is a play on "Gray-Mouser" and Hewnon is an anagram of Nehwon, the world in which Fafhrd and the Gray-Mouser live.

Ningauble and Sheelba

Ningauble of the Seven Eyes and Sheelba of the Eyeless Face are two wizards who serve as patrons for Fafhrd and the Mouser. Patron warlock of Fafhrd, Ningauble is so named due to his seven (usually only six) glowing eyes, seen roving within, and sometimes projecting from, the hood of his cloak. Along with the Gray Mouser's patron warlock Sheelba, Ningauble often sends his hapless minion on ludicrous missions such as recovering the mask of Death or to steal the very stars from the highest mountain. Ningauble's mysterious cavern has obscure space-time linkages which permit Fafhrd and the Mouser to be sent to other worlds.[7] Ningauble is referred to as the "gossiper of the gods", for his fondness for stories of an unusual nature (whether or not they are true seems irrelevant) and his sometimes bizarre spies and informants. Ningauble is a mysterious being with a manipulative character, as described in this passage from Adept's Gambit:[8]

Some said that Ningauble had been created by the Elder Gods for men to guess about and to sharpen their imaginations for even tougher riddles. None knew whether he had the gift of foresight, or whether he merely set the stage for future events with such a bewildering cunning that only an efreet or an adept could evade acting the part given him.

The relationship between Fafhrd and Ningauble of the Seven Eyes is captured well in this exchange from The Swords of Lankhmar:[9]

Ningauble shrugged his cloaked, bulbous shoulders. "I thought you were a brave man, addicted to deeds of derring-do." Fafhrd cursed sardonically, then demanded, "But even if I should go clang those rusty bells, how can Lankhmar hold out until then with her walls breached and the odds fifty to one against her?" "I'd like to know that myself," Ningauble assured him. "And how do I get to the temple when the streets are crammed with warfare?" Ningauble shrugged once again. "You're a hero. You should know."

The Mouser's patron, Sheelba of the Eyeless Face is named for the featureless darkness within his/her hood. In contrast to Ningauble's love of often pointless storytelling, Sheelba is taciturn, choosing his/her words as if they were valuables to be disbursed parsimoniously. That the stoic Fafhrd is paired with the voluble Ningauble, while the story-loving Mouser with the laconic Sheelba is doubly ironic. Sheelba's sigil is an empty oval (presumably signifying an empty hooded face).

Sheelba's gender is ambiguous: Harry Fischer, who first conceived of the character, claimed Sheelba was female, while to Fischer's surprise Leiber referred to Sheelba as male beginning in The Swords of Lankhmar. In fact, Leiber refers to Sheelba as "he" throughout the six books of the series, switching to "she" for the first time only in the last book, The Knight and Knave of Swords, without explanation. Leiber's friend, Frederick MacKnight, who introduced Leiber and Fischer and was involved in the earliest days of the characters, called Sheelba "she-he (or it)". Fischer may have created Sheelba as a tribute to his wife Martha.[10]

While Ningauble dwells in caverns, Sheelba's house is a small hut which strides about the swamps not far from Lankhmar on five chicken leg-like posts, which bend and scuttle like the legs of a great crab or spider.[11] Sheelba's hut is similar in description to the Russian legend of the witch Baba Yaga, which is referenced in other Leiber works such as The Wanderer, where Baba Yaga is the name of a lunar lander.

Weapons of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

Fafhrd commonly uses a sword which he names Graywand, a two-hand sword that he's able to use one-handed too (in later episodes by necessity). He also carries a poignard named Heartseeker and a short hand-axe which has never been named. For combat at a distance, he often carries a bow and arrow which he wields effectively even while on horseback or at sea, and which he's able to use despite his final handicap (he loses a hand). The Mouser, in one episode called "the best swordsman in the World", also fights with a pair of weapons: a "slim, curving" sword or sabre called Scalpel, and a dagger called Cat's Claw, the latter usually hidden in the small of the Mouser's back, and the original of which had a very subtle curve. (It was a straight-bladed weapon by the events of Lean Times in Lankhmar.)[12] As the pair are often divested of their property, these are names they apply to any of their appropriate weapons and not necessarily names of specific ones. They are absolutely not magic weapons: both the wielders are just very able in their use. The Mouser is also an expert with the sling.[13] The Mouser, having been an apprentice magician, can do some very small enchantments, especially while dueling.

References in other works

Joanna Russ was familiar with and appreciative of the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series, and in addition to critical reviews of Leiber, also referenced them in her own fiction, referencing Fafhrd in at least one short story in her The Adventures of Alyx sequence as one of Alyx's former lovers in "The Adventuress" (1968; aka "Bluestocking").[14] Leiber then included Alyx in two Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories, "The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar" (1968) and "Under the Thumbs of the Gods" (1975).[14]

In Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are parodied as Bravd and the Weasel. Although Ankh-Morpork bears more than a passing resemblance to Lankhmar, Pratchett, known for the use of pastiche in his early works, has been quoted as not intending a direct takeoff.[15] Some of the features of similarity (e.g. a thieves' guild, and a general air of degeneracy) may instead be common tropes of fantasy literature, although it could be argued, especially in the case of the thieves' guild, that many of the tropes in question originated with Leiber.

An issue of Conan the Barbarian written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Barry Smith features two thieves called Fafnir and Blackrat. Fafnir appears to be killed in their encounter with Conan, but returns in later issues of the comic.

American author Michael Chabon's Gentlemen of the Road is a 2007 "swashbuckling adventure" novel [16] set in the kaganate of Khazaria (now southwest Russia) around AD 950. It features two similarly physically built adventurers who have a working relationship similar to Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser's – Amram, a hulking Abyssinian proficient with an axe, and the slightly-built swordsman Zelikman, who is Frankish. This pair – both of Jewish origin – become embroiled in a rebellion and a plot to restore a displaced Khazar prince to the throne.[17]

In Issue #77 and #78 of Vertigo Comic's Fables, characters Freddy (Fafhrd) and Mouse (Gray Mouser) are incorporated as local rogues who unleash Mr. Dark into the world.

Playing off the visit of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser to our world in Adept's Gambit (set in second century B.C. Tyre), Steven Saylor's short story "Ill Seen in Tyre" takes his Roma Sub Rosa series hero Gordianus to the city of Tyre a hundred years later, where the two visitors from Nehwon are remembered as local legends.[18]

The Grey Mouser's dirk "Cat Claw" has appeared as a weapon in several role-playing video games, including early installments in the Final Fantasy series.

Both Fafhrd and The Grey Mouser can be found parodied in Dodgeroll's Enter the Gungeon as Frifle and the Grey Mauser

Fafhrd naming consecutive swords all Graywand after losing each predecessor is the likely inspiration for the name of the Grayswandir sword in Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber, as Grayswandir can reappear to its owner after being lost.

References

  1. ^ "Author's Foreword," Ill-Met in Lankhmar, 1995, White Wolf Publishing
  2. ^ Leiber, Fritz, "Fafhrd and the Mouser Say Their Say", The Dragon #1, 1976.
  3. ^ Fantasy Newsletter, July 1982, p. 5-7
  4. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Fantasy became a DC Comics reality when writer/editor Denny O'Neil and artist Howard Chaykin brought forth a new comic based on Fritz Leiber's adventurous and virtuous warriors of myth, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Cornog, Martha; Raiteri, Steve (2007-01-15). "Graphic Novels". Library Journal. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  6. ^ Thomas, Roy (2003), "Behind the Swords", The Chronicles of Conan, Volume 3, Dark Horse Books, ISBN 1-59307-024-1
  7. ^ Fritz Leiber, introduction to Ill Met in Lankhmar, White Wolf Publishing, 1995, ISBN 1-56504-926-8, p. 10
  8. ^ Fritz Leiber, Lean Times in Lankhmar, White Wolf Publishing, 1996, ISBN 1-56504-927-6, p. 91
  9. ^ Fritz Leiber, Return to Lankhmar, White Wolf Publishing, 1997, ISBN 1-56504-928-4, pp. 141–142
  10. ^ MacKnight, Frederick (October 1979). "The Formative Years of 'Fafhrd' and 'The Mouser'". The Dragon. TSR Periodicals (30): 17.
  11. ^ Fritz Leiber, "The Circle Curse" in Ill Met in Lankhmar, White Wolf Publishing, 1995, ISBN 1-56504-926-8, p. 162–164
  12. ^ Leiber, Fritz (1968) [1959]. "Lean Times in Lankhmar". Swords in the Mist (12th ed.). Ace Fantasy Books. pp. 25, 59. ISBN 0-441-79188-3.
  13. ^ Fischer, Harry O. (August 1978). "The Childhood and Youth of The Gray Mouser". The Dragon. TSR Periodicals (18): 29–30.
  14. ^ a b Samuel Delany, Introduction, The Adventures of Alyx (Gregg Press); Farah Mendlesohn, On Joanna Russ, pp.4-7.
  15. ^ Breebaart, Leo; Kew, Mike. "The Annotated Pratchett File". Unseen University. Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  16. ^ Lengel, Kerry (2006-10-04). "Author mines Jewish history". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
  17. ^ "Aural Noir Review of Gentlemen Of The Road by Michael Chabon". SFFaudio. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  18. ^ Saylor, Steven, "Ill Seen in Tyre," in the anthology Rogues, edited by Gardner Dozois and George R.R. Martin, Bantam, 2014.

External links

Bazaar of the Bizarre

"Bazaar of the Bizarre" is a sword and sorcery novelette by American writer Fritz Leiber, part of the canon of stories chronicling his adventurous duo, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.First published in 1963 in Fantastic, it has been reprinted several times, including as a standalone edition. It also appears in the anthology The Spell of Seven, edited by L. Sprague de Camp.

Bazaar of the Bizarre (short story collection)

Bazaar of the Bizarre is a collection of fantasy short stories by American writer Fritz Leiber. It was first published in 1978 by Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. in an edition of 1,350 copies. The stories feature Leiber's characters Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser and originally appeared in the magazine Fantastic.

Fritz Leiber

Fritz Reuter Leiber Jr. (December 24, 1910 – September 5, 1992) 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.

Heroes and Horrors

Heroes and Horrors is a collection of fantasy and horror short stories by Fritz Leiber, edited by Stuart David Schiff and illustrated by Tim Kirk. It was first published in hardcover in December 1978 by Whispers Press, and in paperback in August 1980 by Pocket Books. The paperback edition omits the illustrations.

The book collects nine short stories and novelettes by the author, together with an introduction by Stuart David Schiff and an essay by John Jakes. The first two stories (the second original to the collection) showcase Leiber's Sword and Sorcery heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. The other pieces originally were published in the magazines The Dragon Magazine for December 1977 and Fantastic Stories of Imagination for February 1962 and October 1964, the collection The Second Book of Fritz Leiber (1975), the magazines Fantastic for February 1969 and Worlds of If for August 1974, and the anthologies The Disciples of Cthulhu (1976) and Superhorror (1976).

Lankhmar

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.

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.

"Nehwon", the reverse spelling of "No When", alludes to Erewhon.

Sundered from us by gulfs of time and stranger dimensions dreams the ancient world of Nehwon with its towers and skulls and jewels, its swords and sorceries. Nehwon's known realms crowd about the Inner Sea: northward the green-forested fierce Land of the Eight Cities, eastward the steppe-dwelling Mingol horsemen and the desert where caravans creep from the rich Eastern Lands and the River Tilth. But southward, linked to the desert only by the Sinking Land and further warded by the Great Dike and the Mountains of Hunger, are the rich grain fields and walled cities of Lankhmar, eldest and chiefest of Nehwon's lands. Dominating the Land of Lankhmar and crouching at the silty mouth of the River Hlal in a secure corner between the grain fields, the Great Salt Marsh, and the Inner Sea is the massive-walled and mazy-alleyed metropolis of Lankhmar, thick with thieves and shaven priests, lean-framed magicians and fat-bellied merchants—Lankhmar the Imperishable, the City of the Black Toga.

—From "Induction" by Fritz Leiber

Technology in Nehwon varies between the Iron Age and the medieval. Leiber wrote of Lankhmarts: "They may be likened to the Romans or be thought of as, if I may use such a term, southern medievals." About his Eastern Lands, he wrote "think of Saracens, Arabs, Parthians, Assyrians even. They ride the camel and elephant, and use the bow extensively."

Night's Black Agents

Night's Black Agents is a collection of fantasy and horror short stories by American writer Fritz Leiber. It was released in 1947 and was the author's first book. The book's title is taken from Macbeth, Act III, scene ii. It was published by Arkham House in an edition of 3,084 copies.

Most of the stories originally appeared in the magazines Unknown and Weird Tales. Three were first published in this book. The last two stories showcase Leiber's Sword and Sorcery heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.

Later editions added additional material under the same title. The Berkley (1978) reprint adds two stories "The Girl with the Hungry Eyes" and "A Bit of the Dark World". The definitive version is the Gregg Press (1980) hardcover which adds a Foreword by Richard Gid Powers to the complete contents of the Berkley edition and is thus an expansion of the original Arkham House edition.

Sword (comics)

Sword, in comics, may refer to:

The Sword (comics), an Image Comics series from the Luna Brothers

S.W.O.R.D. (comics), a Marvel Comics organisation that deals with alien threats

Sword (Wildstorm), a Wildstorm character who first appeared in the Fire From Heaven crossover, he is an alternate universe version of Union

Sword, the alter ego of Chic Carter, a Golden Age superhero who appeared in Smash Comics and Police Comics

Sword (Ace Comics), a Golden Age character from Ace Comics

Sword of Sorcery, a title featuring Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

Sword of Sorcery

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.

In June 2012, the series returned with a revival of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld by writer Christy Marx and artist Aaron Lopresti. The title included a backup feature starring Beowulf written by Tony Bedard and drawn by Jesus Saiz.

Swords Against Wizardry

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.

The book has been collected, along with others in the series, in various omnibus editions: Swords' Masters (1990), Lean Times in Lankhmar (1996), The First Book of Lankhmar (2001), and Lankhmar (2008).

The book collects four short stories, three of which were originally published in the magazines Fantastic for November 1965 and August 1968 and Fantastic Stories of Imagination for January and February 1964, and one of which first appeared in the book itself.

Swords Against the Shadowland

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.

Swords and Deviltry

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 (1986, 1988). 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).

The book collects three short stories originally published in the magazines Fantastic for April 1970, Fantastic Stories of Imagination for October 1962, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction for April 1970, together with an "Induction" that originally appeared in the 1957 Fafhrd and Gray Mouser collection Two Sought Adventure (later expanded, minus the induction, as Swords Against Death (1970).

Swords and Ice Magic

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 (1986, 1987). 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).

The book collects seven short stories and one novella, three of which were published originally in the anthologies Flashing Swords! #1 (1973) and Flashing Swords! #3: Warriors and Wizards (1976), the collections The Book of Fritz Leiber (1974) and The Second Book of Fritz Leiber (1975), and the magazines Fantastic for November 1973 and April 1975, Whispers for December 1973, and Cosmos Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine for May and July 1977. "The Frost Monstreme" and "Rime Isle" have also been published separately as the novel Rime Isle (1977).

While the stories were ostensibly assembled in chronological order by the author, internal evidence indicates that the third, "Trapped in the Shadowland," which is a direct sequel to the preceding volume, The Swords of Lankhmar, should actually have been placed first.

Swords in the Mist

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 (1986, 1987). 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).

The book collects six short stories, of which three were originally published in the magazines Fantastic Stories of Imagination for May 1963 and Fantastic Science Fiction Stories for November 1959 and May 1960, one was published originally in the collection Night's Black Agents (1947), and two first appeared in the book itself.

The Knight and Knave of Swords

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 (1998, 1999); 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 (1990, 1991) 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).

The book collects four short stories, the first three originally published in the magazine The Dragon Magazine for December 1977, the collection Heroes and Horrors (1978), and the anthology Heroic Visions (1983). The fourth was originally published as two stories, "The Mouser Goes Below" in the magazine Whispers #23 (1987), and "Slack Lankhmar Afternoon Featuring Hisvet," in the anthology Terry's Universe (1988), which were combined for publication in the collection.

The Snow Women

The Snow Women is a sword and sorcery novella by 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 (although Leiber withdrew it in favor of "Ill Met in Lankhmar"), and finished second in the annual Locus poll for short fiction.First published in 1970 in Fantastic magazine, it is in the nature of a prequel, as Leiber had by that time been chronicling the pair's adventures for thirty years. The story forms part two of the collection Swords and Deviltry.

Fafhrd is an eighteen-year-old member of the Snow Clan, son of Mor and Nalgron. They live in the Cold Waste plain but once a year, move to Cold Corner, the southernmost part of their land, where they trade with merchants from the south and attend the Show.

Fafhrd, although betrothed to Mara, meets Vlana Lefay, an actress with the Show and is besotted with her. Despite the demands and curses of his Mother Mor and her coven, he leaves the Cold Waste to travel with Vlana and see the lands to the South.

The Swords of Lankhmar

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 (1986, 1987). 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).

Thieves' guild

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.

Two Sought Adventure

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 (minus the Induction) and published by Ace Books in 1970 under the title Swords Against Death. (The Induction was reused in a companion volume, Swords and Deviltry.) The stories originally appeared in the magazines Unknown, Other Worlds and Suspense Magazine.

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