The Sci-fi and Fantasy Book Club Message Board › Fritz Leiber

Fritz Leiber

Tim
user 4792648
Alexandria, VA
Post #: 8

I mentioned two short stories by Fritz Leiber at today's meeting.

"A Pail of Air" can be read online at
http://www.webscripti...­
There is also an excellant audio version of it available.

"Space-Time for Springers" is IMO the finest cat story written. I can't find it online - I have it in an anthology. (In searching, I've discovered that he wrote three related stories.) It's rather hard to catagorize, I'd call it a humorous light horror-fantasy. Fantastic.

Both are excellant writing - I encountered them independently, and only later realized they were by the same author. Since then I've been on the lookout for collections of his sci-fi short stories, but they only seem to be reprinting the hardcore horror and more famous fantasy series...
Anna
Anna_Y
Springfield, VA
Post #: 9
Star Science Fiction Stories No.4 272K on Amazon.com contains "Space-Time for Springers" and is sold for the low price of $51.16!

I think I'll keep hitting up the used book stores...
Anna
Anna_Y
Springfield, VA
Post #: 10
Good story!

My favorite part: "Courage is like a ball, son. A person can hold it only so long, and then he's got to toss it to someone else. When it's tossed your way, you've got to catch it and hold it tight—and hope there'll be someone else to toss it to when you get tired of being brave."
Tim
user 4792648
Alexandria, VA
Post #: 9
Yeah, one thing that struck me about Leiber's writing was the sheer number of memorable passages.

Here's a favorite from 'Space-Time for Springers,' where the protagenist kitten Gummitch is reflecting on the father in the household ("Old Horsemeat"):

" the mental stodginess of even Old Horsemeat, who although he understood quite a bit of the secret doctrine and talked intelligently to Gummitch when they were alone, nevertheless suffered from the limitations of his status - a rather nice old god but a maddeningly slow-witted one."

I rather think that's how most pets view us whenever they want something.

I'll bring the story next time.
Eddie
ed315
Alexandria, VA
Post #: 2
Here's the story.

It might take a while to load, but it'll come up eventually. I really enjoyed it and a "A Pale of Air". Thanks.
Anna
Anna_Y
Springfield, VA
Post #: 11
Thanks for finding that Eddie!

I really liked both of them.
Tim
user 4792648
Alexandria, VA
Post #: 11

Great - now that you've both read it, I can share my favorite passage, the closing.

"But by then the transformation Old Horsemeat had always warned about had fully taken place. Gummitch was a kitten no longer but an almost burly tom. In him it took the psychological form not of sullenness or surliness but an extreme dignity. He seemed at times rather like an old pirate brooding on treasures he would never live to dig up, shores of adventure he would never reach. And sometimes when you looked into his yellow eyes you felt that he had in him all the materials for the book Slit Eyes Look at Life—three or four volumes at least—although he would never write it. And that was natural when you come to think of it, for as Gummitch knew very well, bitterly well indeed, his fate was to be the only kitten in the world that did not grow up to be a man."

I love the sad imagry of the brooding pirate.
Cyndi
ChongCrago
Springfield, VA
Post #: 2
-Just finished "A Pail of Air" - I almost couldn't breathe while reading it. Part of the time I was holding my breath being frightened at "what" might be coming to the nest and the other part of of the time I was hyperventilating and thinking how I'd go nuts having to worry about keeping the air "cooking" right.

Another frustration for me would be traveling - as a 10 yr old kid I would want to extend my "travel air" enough to explore everything around me...and get away from my family once in a while.

This was definitely an expert thrill for being made up of so few words. It worked so well that it has my mind going off in a hundred different directions...many stories could start from this very short one.

Thanks for the suggestion - I'll be reading the one about Old Horsemeat too. I'll comment on that later.

-Cyndi
Cyndi
ChongCrago
Springfield, VA
Post #: 3
My favorite line is:

"He filed the information away in the memory cabinet reserved for dangerous, exciting and possibly useful information..."

I have one of those cabinets too!

and this totally describes me:


"These days his thought cabinets were beginning to feel filled to bursting and he could hardly wait for the moment when the true rich taste of coffee, lawfully drunk, would permit him to speak. "


Very, very interesting. I think Fritz and I need to become more acquainted.

Thanks Tim!

-Cyndi
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