Two Sought Adventure

May 31, 2019 by

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser faced each other across the two thieves sprawled senseless. They were poised for attack, yet for the moment neither moved.

Each discerned something inexplicably familiar in the other.

Fafhrd said, “Our motives for being here seem identical.”

“Seem? Surely must be!” the Mouser answered curtly, fiercely eyeing this potential new foe, who was taller by a head than the tall thief.

“You said?”

“I said, ‘Seem? Surely must be!”

“How civilized of you!” Fafhrd commented in pleased tones.

“Civilized?” the Mouser demanded suspiciously, gripping his dirk tighter.

“To care, in the eye of action, exactly what’s said,” Fafhrd explained. Without letting the Mouser out of his vision, he glanced down. His gaze traveled from the belt and pouch of one fallen thief to those of the other. Then he looked up at the Mouser with a broad, ingenous smile.

“Sixty, sixty?” he suggested.

The Mouser hesitated, sheathed his dirk, and rapped out, “A deal!”

 

Eighty Years of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

 

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser first met in the story, “Ill Met in Lankhmar,” published in the April 1970 issue of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION. Fritz Leiber’s story won both the 1970 Nebula and 1971 Hugo awards in the novella category. However, the characters had been created decades earlier, in a 1934 letter that the beginning author received from his friend, Harry Otto Fischer:

“For all do fear the one known as the Gray Mouser. He walks with a swagger ‘mongst the bravos, though he’s but the stature of a child. His costume is all of gray, from gauntlets to boots and spurs of steel.”

 

Of Fafhrd he wrote that he laughed merrily and was “full seven feet in height. His eyes wide-set, were proud and of fearless mien. His wrist between gauntlet and mail was white as milk and thick as a hero’s ankle.”

 

They met “in the walled city of the Tuatha De Danann called Lankhmar, built on the edge of the Great Salt Marsh . . . and so the saga of the Gray Mouser and Fafhrd was begun.”

After further correspondence with his friend, Fritz Leiber began working on a novella, finishing it in early 1936. It was rejected by Farnsworth Wright of WEIRD TALES as being too full of “stylistic novelties.” Following several revisions, the author showed his manuscript to H. P. Lovecraft, who wrote:

“There will shortly be circulated among the gang . . . a remarkable unpublished novelette by young Leiber — “Adept’s Gambit,” rejected by Wright and now under revision according to my suggestions. It is a brilliant piece of fantastic imagination — with suggestions of Cabell, Beckford, Dunsany, and even Two-Gun Bob — and ought to see publication some day.”

Although the initial tale of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser would not be published until 1947 in NIGHT’S BLACK AGENTS, pulp readers would be introduced to the characters in the August 1939 UNKNOWN. Beginning with “Two Sought Adventure,” the Street & Smith pulp would publish five of Leiber’s tales of the two adventurers. In later years, the stories would be featured in COSMOS SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY MAGAZINE, DRAGON, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, OTHER WORLDS, SUSPENSE MAGAZINE, WHISPERS, and, most importantly, FANTASTIC and Donald Wollheim’s Ace Books.

“Two comrades to the death and black comedians for all eternity, lusty, brawling, wine-bibbing, imaginative, romantic, earthy, thievish, sardonic, humorous, forever seeking adventure across the wide world, fated forever to encounter the most deadly of enemies, the most fell of foes, the most delectable of girls, and the most dire of sorcerers and supernatural beasts and other personages.”

Join PulpFest 2019 on Thursday, August 15, as we welcome fantasy and horror writer Jason Scott Aiken and sword and sorcery expert Morgan Holmes, for “Two Sought Adventure — Eighty Years of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser.” Dr. Holmes is the former official editor of the Robert E. Howard United Press Association and was nominated for a Hugo award in 2016 as Best Fan Writer.

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” at this year’s gathering. Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click the Book a Room button, also found on our homepage.

 

(Although the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series began in the pulp UNKNOWN, it was Cele Goldsmith of FANTASTIC who took a gamble and commissioned Fritz Leiber to author a new series of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories. The first of these was “Lean Times in Lankhmar,” published in the November 1959 issue. FANTASTIC would run eleven tales featuring Leiber’s two comrades, concluding with “Under the Thumbs of the Gods,” published in the April 1975 number, featuring front cover art by Stephen E. Fabian.

Around 1967, Donald A. Wollheim asked Leiber to put the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser tales “into chronological order and write new ones to fill in the gaps.” The result was a series of six paperbacks, beginning with SWORDS AND DEVILTRY — with cover art by Jeffrey Catherine Jones — first published by Ace Books in 1970.

A seventh book of stories — THE KNIGHT AND KNAVE OF SWORDS — was published in 1988 by William Morrow and Company.)

Farmer of the Pulps: A Harvest of Influences

May 17, 2019 by

Philip José Farmer is arguably the most influential pulp figure to emerge since the Golden Age. His Wold Newton family of crossover fiction provides the pulp equivalent of the Sherlockian Great Game for its many followers; continues to inspire sectarian groups who form their own variations of crossover chronologies; confounds or infuriates the most ardent canonical purists; and enriches the pulp community as a whole through the peerless research and scholarship into pulp history undertaken in its wake. Since 2011, PulpFest has partnered with FarmerCon to bring pulp fans the biggest and best pulp con in the East while hosting an annual gathering for Wold Newtonians to celebrate our shared literary family tree.

On Saturday, August 17, FarmerCon XIV showcases a panel discussion, “Farmer of the Pulps: A Harvest of Influences” moderated by Paul Spiteri (co-editor of FARMERPHILE magazine and editor of the anthology, PEARLS OF PEORIA). The panel will explore the pulp origins and influences on some of Philip José Farmer’s most notable characters. It will also delve into Phil’s unique take on classic pulp characters in his writings, and the care and research he took to ensure they were treated with the reverence they deserved. Joining Paul on this panel will be a trio of distinguished and erudite pulp scholars.

Garyn G. Roberts, Ph.D. has written extensively about the pulps, both professionally and as a fan. He has edited or co-edited some of the best collections from the pulps including A CENT A STORY: THE BEST FROM TEN DETECTIVE ACES, MORE TALES OF THE DEFECTIVE DETECTIVE IN THE PULPS, THE COMPLEAT ADVENTURES OF THE MOON MAN, THE MAGICAL MYSTERIES OF DON DIAVOLO, and THE COMPLEAT GREAT MERLINI SAGA. His THE PRENTICE HALL ANTHOLOGY OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, a university-level textbook, is notable for the attention paid to the pulp magazines. Professor Roberts was presented with the Munsey Award in 2013 to honor his many contributions to the pulp community.

Recently named the Director of Publishing for Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Christopher Paul Carey is also among the most accomplished of the stable of licensed authors in THE WILD ADVENTURES OF EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS series. He is also the authorized continuation chronicler of Philip José Farmer’s KHOKARSA series that bridges the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. Rider Haggard. Carey has authored the novels SWORDS AGAINST THE MOON MEN, BLOOD OF ANCIENT OPAR, HADON — KING OF OPAR, EXILES OF KHO, and THE SONG OF KWASIN. He is also a seasoned editor, comic book writer, essayist, and author of short fiction.

Fantasy and horror writer Jason Scott Aiken is also the host and producer of “Pulp Crazy,” a video podcast devoted to pulp magazines since its inception in 2013. Jason has used this forum to provide overviews of pulp characters and authors, delve into the many pulp genres, and review pulp stories and novels. Jason has also provided audio recordings from PulpFest, with particular coverage of FarmerCon.

Additionally, FarmerCon XIV will see the debut of Meteor House’s latest fantastic collection of stories by Philip José Farmer! GREATHEART SILVER AND OTHER PULP HEROES collects for the first time in hardcover the stories Phil wrote in the 1970s to pay tribute to the pulps he first devoured in his youth.  The volume also features an introduction by pulp historian and panel member, Garyn G. Roberts, Ph.D. The collection gathers rare material that originally appeared in Byron Preiss’ WEIRD HEROES and in the THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION.

GREATHEART SILVER AND OTHER PULP HEROES will debut at FarmerCon XIV, but can be pre-ordered now. Meteor House is offering an “Early Bird Special” discount for this fascinating collection of Farmer paying homage to his literary heroes.

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” at this year’s gathering. Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click the Book a Room button, also found on our homepage.

(Philip José Farmer was a child of the pulps. Born in 1918, the Science Fiction Grand Master grew up with the pulps. He particularly favored Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes. Running a close second was Lester Dent’s Doc Savage.

Farmer’s “biography” of Clark Savage, Jr. — DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE — was released by Doubleday in 1973. It featured dust jacket art by Walter Baumhofer, excerpted from the April 1935 issue of Street & Smith’s DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE.)

Recordings from PulpFest 2016

Aug 29, 2016 by

We would much rather you get the full experience of PulpFest by attending each year. But if you can’t attend, you can virtually sample some of PulpFest 2016‘s highlights.

Audio recordings from much of the programming at “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con” are now available online.

The dealers' room at PulpFest 2016

The dealers’ room at PulpFest 2016

For the past few years, I have posted at ThePulp.Net audio recordings from many of the panels and presentations from PulpFest. This year’s recordings total around seven-and-a-half hours of pulp discussions. There is a special coverage page for PulpFest 2016 with links to individual pages with photographs and embedded audio recordings from nine events.

PulpFest 2016 Guest of Honor Ted White discusses AMAZING STORIES and his life in science fiction.

PulpFest 2016 Guest of Honor Ted White discusses AMAZING STORIES and his life in science fiction.

The recordings include presentations on AMAZING STORIES, THE ARGOSY and the magazine’s artists, H. G. Wells, Street & Smith’s second-string heroes, LOVE STORY MAGAZINE and the romance pulps, and WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE and the pulp western, a celebration of the 10th anniversary of Sanctum Books, and PulpFest Guest of Honor Ted White’s talk.

In addition to listening to ThePulp.Net’s recordings on the web, pulp fans can also download them as part of the Pulp Event Podcast free from either iTunes or Google Play Music.

I also have several reports from PulpFest 2016 that I published on my Yellowed Perils blog during and after the convention.

Over at Pulp Crazy, Jason Aiken has posted recordings of Ted White, FarmerCon XI author readings, a panel discussion including Paul Spiteri, Christopher Paul Carey, Win Scott Eckert, and Danny Adams on collaborating with Philip José Farmer, and a New Pulp panel featuring Ron Fortier of Airship 27, and writers Eckert, Jeff Fournier, Barbara Dorran, and Andy Fix.

Dealer Gene Carpenter talks with Will Emmons at PulpFest 2016.

Dealer Gene Carpenter talks with Will Emmons at PulpFest 2016.

While his other PulpFest posts at Pulp Crazy are recordings, Jason also has a written report on the convention, with photos.

As part of the Art’s Reviews podcast, Art Sippo is also posting recordings from PulpFest 2016. So far Art has already posted a presentation by New Pulp author John Hegensberger, FarmerCon XI author readings, and an interview with New Pulp author Dick Enos. Art says he will be posting 11 recordings in total, so keep an eye on his Art’s Reviews podcast for updates in the coming weeks.

If you’re looking for more reports from PulpFest, head over to my PulpFest 2016 Reports entry at Yellowed Perils for a complete and up-to-date listing.

The Farmerian Vision: Pulp Meets Science Fiction

Jul 23, 2014 by

Adventure 46-03In his introduction to The Worlds of Philip José Farmer: Voyages to Strange Days, editor Michael Croteau writes, “A child of the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Farmer wrote many of the same types of stories as his contemporaries during the last half of the twentieth century: tales of space exploration, alien planets, fantastic journeys, alien invasions, time travel, artificial worlds, the afterlife, space opera, alternate history, mad scientists, robots, dystopias, list worlds, feral humans, displaced men, artificial intelligence, the future, the distant future, and the realy, really far distant future. Name a science fiction trope and Farmer almost certainly tried his hand at it, sometimes playing it straight, sometimes turning it on its head.”

Although noted for his “pioneering use of sexual and religious themes,” Philip José Farmer was, in short, a pulp writer. This year FarmerCon IX, our “convention within a convention,” turns its attention to the pulp elements found in Peoria’s Grand Master of Science Fiction‘s canonOur annual FarmerCon panel presentation will begin at 10:15 PM on Thursday, August 7th.

In The Farmerian Vision: Pulp Meets Science Fiction, moderator Paul Spiteri–editor of the Farmer collection Pearls from Peoriaand panelists Jason Aiken and Christopher Paul Carey will discuss the unique way in which the Hugo awardwinning author blended pulp elements and themes with his science-fictional works.

Jason Aiken became interested in the pulps and works of Philip José Farmer in 2009. He is the host of the Pulp Crazy podcast and video blog where he reviews classic and new pulp fiction. Christopher Paul Carey, one of our 2014 New Fictioneers, coauthored Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa with Mr. Farmer, and authored Exiles of Kho, a prelude to the Khokarsa series.

Since 2011, PulpFest has hosted FarmerCon, a convention that began in Peoria, Illinois, the hometown of Philip José Farmer. Originally a gathering of Farmer fans figuratively, and literally, right outside Phil’s back door, FarmerCon offered presentations, dinners, and even picnics at the author’s house.  After the passing of Phil and Bette Farmer in 2009, it was decided to take FarmerCon on the road to broaden its horizons. By holding the convention alongside events like PulpFest, Farmer fans get a variety of programming and a room full of pulp and book dealers to enjoy. As always, PulpFest is  pleased to welcome FarmerCon IX members to the Hyatt Regency Columbus.

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