As Blastr's month-long celebration of books continues, our latest author profile focuses on the genre-crossing Fritz Leiber.
A lot of his work may be hard to find these days, which is a shame since it's time for new generations of readers to discover Fritz Leiber. While Leiber wrote science fiction, horror and fantasy in equal measure, a lot of his work mixed those genres together to create bold and unique stories that provided the template for a lot of modern writing that achieves the same crossover effect. He also wrote frankly about sexuality, the oppression and isolation of urban life, and the decay of contemporary society, which makes his best work hold up well to this day.
His horror stories were arguably among the very first to be situated in urban settings and play off the unease of city life, a form later mastered by the likes of Richard Matheson and Ramsey Campbell. His science fiction tales set recognizably human characters in the context of often mind-bending and cosmic-sized concepts. As for his fantasy output, his cycle of stories about two swordsmen known as Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser remain among the most important works the genre has ever produced.
A free thinker and a deeply philosophical writer, Leiber may have been ahead of his time in many ways. Like the other two writers we've profiled here recently -- Richard Matheson and Theodore Sturgeon -- his stories retain a deep compassion for humanity and human beings, as flawed as they are, and an instinctive curiosity about human relationships and consciousness. But Leiber also excelled perhaps in overall mood and world-building than many others of his generation. Here are seven things you need to know about Fritz Leiber: