Thursday, January 8, 2015

Leiber vs. Moorcock - Two Authors from Appendix N

Swords and Deviltry VS. The Eternal Champion

Like many young lads in the early '80's, I looked over the legendary Appendix N to Gary Gygax's AD&D Dungeon Master's guide many times.  That said, I hadn't read all that many works on the list until recent years.

Grey Mouser (f/k/a Mouse) from "Deities and Demigods".
One entry always stood out, though, even then - Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series.  Even without knowing anything about the series, I could tell that the Grey Mouser was my kind of hero - small in stature, large in attitude.  The colorful (despite being in B&W) depiction of Grey Mouser in the old Deities and Demigods book also lit my imagination.  A true rapscallion! 

But, back in the pre-Interwebs and days, if we wanted to read a book that wasn't easy to find at the Mall bookstores, we were at the mercy of the local library . . .  and there was no Grey Mouser to be had at mine (nor Fafhrd, near as I could tell).

On the opposite end of the spectrum, was Michael Moorcock.  Despite him being listed on Appendix N as well, I hadn't paid any interest in him whatsoever until the OSR movement reignited my interest in fantasy literature, as well as guiding me back to miniatures, and eventually the OldHammer movement.  In fact, I had forgotten that he was even on Appendix N.  While perusing, I saw that Moorcock is featured prominently in the "Oldhammer Reader" post.   

Coupled with various similar posts, I was lead to believe (or at least inferred) Moorcock was more of an inspiration to the Warhammer universe, whilst Leiber was more in the D&D vein.

A fortuitous visit to a library book sale resulted in me owning the first installment in each of the Grey Mouser series and the Eternal Champion series.   And that resulted in me finally getting a chance to read two of the most influential fantasy writers of the late 20th century, back-to-back.  After very clear guidance from the G+ crowd, I read Leiber first.

It only took me days to finish Leiber - which is a near-miracle for me, given my typical glacial pace for reading an actual, real-live book.  A few days later I started Moorcock - and that took . . . a bit longer.

To avoid a "wall-o-text" post, tomorrow I'll follow up with a comparison of the two books, from the perspective of someone who knew little about either before starting them.