Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?

  • Knygatin Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Sawfish Wrote: > -------------------------------------------------- > ----- > > You know what? I was confused (possiby still > am). > > The Testament is the headsman of Commorium, > right? > > I was confusing it with the master thief and > his > > girlfriend--Theft of the 39 Girdles. > > Long time since I read them now (something I > intend to remedy), but I found "The Testament of > Athammaus" much better than "The Theft of the > Thirty-Nine Girdles". Agreed. The Testament read as a cautionary tale, complete with hubris being slapped down, whereas 39 Girdles was commercial pulp. > > > There was another one where he and another guy > got > > drunk and went to loot Commorium many years > later > > and were trapped in a temple by the gooey black > > mess. He lost an arm, as I recall. > > That is "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros", right? Its > first line reads: "I, Satampra Zeiros of > Uzuldaroum, shall write with my left hand, since I > have no longer any other, ..." > > > This does not measure up to stuff like The Isle > of > > the Torturers, in my opinion. > > That one shows Smith's authority of exceptional > literary power. There was so much about that that was *right*, in my opinion... > > > > there is one Ffherd and Mouser story where they > > climb a mountain for much of the book. I can > > recall that I liked the atmospheric aspect of > the > > mountain climb. > > That must be "Stardock". I have not got quite that > far in my reading yet, but can't wait to meet the > giant furry mammal serpent! There has already been > a small furry snake up in the north in one of his > stories, and it was completely convincing and > believable too. I want to see a furry snake, in > real life!!! (Alan Dean Foster has a snake with > wings in his books, and that is a good one too, > and evolutionary feasible.) > > I am just now reading the first five Fafhrd & Grey > Mouser books, which I started after my marathon > read of all of Howard's Conan. Leiber's stories > are very well written, in a perfected classic > fantasy setting. (It shows that his parents were > classic Shakespeare actors. He has access to a > stage wardrobe of colorful old clothes.) A shrewd > humor, I agree. I've laughed aloud in reading his stuff. > and wide understanding of human conditions. > Great magic, color, and rich visual forms. > Spectacular swordplay. The satire element I am a > bit uncertain about; I can't quite put my finger > on it, but the writing is somewhat cool. But yet > passionate! My impression of Leiber is divided. Funny you mention him! I hadn't thought about him much-there was something that I did not like, and I now it occurs to me: "What is a guy this *good* doing writing trivial entertainment like this?" That's howI might have thought when I was about 25, when I read this stuff, but now I'd just consider that I was lucky enough that he decided to do so. I'm now seeing that thee are very many out there who are extremely well-educated and knowledgeable, but that fail to engage the reader in a natural and visceral way. You really cannot fault them, technically, but they are not inspired artists. Right now I'm reading A. Merritt's The Metal Monster. My gut feeling is that he can tell an inspired story (like Howard) but that the story he's telling me is a script--I already know who's going to die (often) and what the final outcome will be, so far as resolution. But The Coming of the White Worm--I never saw that coming... Weaver in the Vault, the same. > Perhaps the classic fantasy setting is too > perfected and traditional? I have currently > stalled on "Lean Times in Lankhmar", finding the > satirical element too overt, ... my attention > drifted. I find Clark Ashton Smith and Jack Vance > more engaging, as their fantastic imaginations are > more unique. But Fafhrd & Grey Mouser are very > well worth reading. And singularly educational! They're great good fun!!! Like I said: a Road Movie.


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