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    wonderfly's Avatar
    wonderfly is offline In the not too distant future
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    Toonzone Sci-Fi/Fantasy Reading Group Book 3: Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in "Swords and Deviltry" Talkback (Spoilers)

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    Swords and Deviltry
    Written by Fritz Leiber




    "Oh, is there anyone in the wide world that has aught but ice water in his or her veins?"-Fafhrd



    "One of the great works of fantasy in this century" - Publishers Weekly

    FIRST STORY: "The Snow Women"

    Welcome to the Week 1 of reading "The Snow Women", the first story in the "Swords and Deviltry" anthology. We will only be reading one short story from this anthology at a time, inbetween reading our regular full-length novels. As "The Snow Women" is a story slightly over 100 pages in length, discussion will be confined for this first week to the first 50 pages. The last half of the short story should not be discussed until next week.

    Comments?!

  2. #2
    Gatomon41's Avatar
    Gatomon41 is offline Digital Cat Rabbit Thing
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    The collection I borrowed from the Libarary is a omnibus of the first two collections, so it has "Swords and Deviltry"

    I better get started!
    "Truth suffers, but never dies." - Saint Teresa Of Avila

    “Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.” - Salvor Hardin, Asimov's Foundation.

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    wonderfly's Avatar
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    Very well, I'll start.

    I just finished the scene with Fafhrd spying on the play. That seems to be the halfway point for the story, or close to halfway. I'm a few pages beyond that now, and the plot certainly picks up after the play ends, but I'll keep my comments to the opening half of the story.

    In a nutshell, this is basically the "Conan in his youth in Cimmeria" story that Robert E Howard never bothered to write. Except Fafhrd is probably much more calm in his demeanor than Conan probably ever was in his youth. Fafhrd is aware that there is a world outside of his homeland, and very somber about his tribe's position in it.

    To continue the Conan comparison, we were always told by Howard (and by other writers that followed) that Conan was intrigued by the riches and wonders of the world outside of Cimmeria. It strikes me that while that may be partially what motivates Fafhrd's interest in the outside world, I think it's more to do with his displeasure in his current surroundings. The superstitions between the men and women of the tribe, the petty rivalries between tribesmen, all of this comes across as a prison to Fafhrd. Even with getting his girlfriend Mara pregnant, though he expresses delight, Fafhrd appears to hope that Mara will come with him and leave this tribe. This all looks like a recipe for disaster. I look forward to finishing the second half! :anime:

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    the greenman's Avatar
    the greenman is offline Senior Member
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    I wish I could say I was as enthused. I'm past the part where they were crashing the play, but I just can't get into this story. Mainly because I have no frame of reference and there isn't really a story being told that I can see. I will finish this story through, hoping things pick up, but right now this doesn't hold my attention.

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    Aquadementia's Avatar
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    This is the cover from the book I'm reading. The artist might have thought Fafhrd needed more cowbell.


    The thing is, I expect things won't really take off until both the main characters get together and start gelling.

    What we get is an introduction to Fafhrd and his world of wonton women, dangerous men, a hint of magic and the difficulty of finding your way with so many bad influences.

    I'm having trouble thinking what his voice should sound like since he's a skald.

    It's not completely serious. There's a lot of Snow trees, and Snow this and Snow that.
    The women camouflaged in white to attack their cheating men is somewhat comical. The magic seems almost superstitious but that might be on a slow build too, as it seems to be following people and gathering its' power.

    Quote Originally Posted by wonderfly View Post

    To continue the Conan comparison, we were always told by Howard (and by other writers that followed) that Conan was intrigued by the riches and wonders of the world outside of Cimmeria. It strikes me that while that may be partially what motivates Fafhrd's interest in the outside world, I think it's more to do with his displeasure in his current surroundings. The superstitions between the men and women of the tribe, the petty rivalries between tribesmen, all of this comes across a prison to Fafhrd. Even with getting his girlfriend Mara pregnant, though he expresses delight, Fafhrd appears to hope that Mara will come with him and leave this tribe. This all looks like a recipe for disaster. I look forward to finishing the second half! :anime:
    He doesn't seem to have any qualms about taking up with other women though.

    He's eager to get out from under the thumb of his mother the snow witches. With the wide world calling for him to explore, I think he's the type to be happy leaving a trail of pregnant women in his wake.

    Fafhrd is clearly a manly man who will do much walking with women, as well as partaking of large tankards of ale and honoring the warriors code.

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    Angilasman is offline Member
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    I love Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. The second and third books are the best - but they're actually the first two books. The "first" book, Swords and Deviltry, is a prequel written about two decades after the series started showing the origins of the two characters and then their first adventure. I'd advise reading the second book first, getting into all the cool adventures and interactions between the characters, and then going back and reading Swords and Deviltry.

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    wonderfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the greenman
    I wish I could say I was as enthused. I'm past the part where they were crashing the play, but I just can't get into this story. Mainly because I have no frame of reference and there isn't really a story being told that I can see. I will finish this story through, hoping things pick up, but right now this doesn't hold my attention.
    Well, I did ask if people wanted to read the whole anthology or "skip straight to the main event" with "Ill Met In Lankhmar". It's a new fantasy world for me as well (probably for all of us) and we're kind of being dropped in mid-stream with this story. I'm still trying to picture what the different races look like - is a "Mingol" supposed to look like a "Mongol"? But the confusion is to be expected when all of these stories were written out of order, featuring different points in the characters' lives (and that's perhaps why the anthology puts the stories IN order chronologically).

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquadementia
    This is the cover from the book I'm reading. The artist might have thought Fafhrd needed more cowbell.
    Ouch. See, that cover's just not doing it for me. Covers to fantasy books in the last decade or so have turned to that style of look, I much more prefer the Frank Frazetta or Boris Vallejo style of fantasy covers that were prominent in the 70's and 80's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquadementia
    It's not completely serious. There's a lot of Snow trees, and Snow this and Snow that.
    The women camouflaged in white to attack their cheating men is somewhat comical. The magic seems almost superstitious but that might be on a slow build too, as it seems to be following people and gathering its' power.
    I think it's very much written to point out the absurdity of tribal life. I've read that Leiber's style of writing for Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser often involves the characters having a whimsical yet fatalistic outlook on life. I'm wondering if these will be borderline "black humor" style of stories when all is said and done.

    EDIT: I see Angilasman posted while I was creating my post. Good to see another "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser" fan on the forums!

  8. #8
    Darklordavaitor's Avatar
    Darklordavaitor is offline Moderator
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    I picked up a copy of The Three of Swords at my local library. Before I start up the first story, are we going to read all of the books in the series or just Swords and Deviltry for now?

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    wonderfly's Avatar
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    Non-spoiler post!

    "Swords and Deviltry" Week 2!

    Welcome to the 2nd week of discussion for the story "The Snow Women". Discussion can now be expanded to cover the entire "Snow Women" short story! All discussion of the events in the other stories inside the "Sword and Deviltry" anthology book are spoilers and should not be discussed yet!

    Quote Originally Posted by Darklordavaitor
    I picked up a copy of The Three of Swords at my local library. Before I start up the first story, are we going to read all of the books in the series or just Swords and Deviltry for now?
    That's not been decided yet. The only thing we've agreed to is to read "Swords and Deviltry" (the first book), as a sampling of the "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser" series. We're dividing the short stories in this book up between reading full-length novels for the Reading Group (next full novel is "Ender's Game", discussion for it will start up in 2 to 3 weeks). We'll need to revisit the topic of reading the next novels in the "Fafhred and Gray Mouser" series later on, but it is a possibility.

    Anyway, what are you guys' thoughts on the story so far?!?

  10. #10
    Darklordavaitor's Avatar
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    Fafhrd is a great character. Loving it so far.

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