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Post by Forest Shepherd on Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:01 pm

The Lankhmar series of short stories by Fritz Lieber. Details the careers of Fafrhd and the Grey Mouser, a heavy-drinking, not-above-thievery, sometimes-sell-swords, patronised-by-universe-traveling-sorcerers, women-loving, Death-defying, magic-meddling, disguise-donning pair of adventurers. They have been re-published in chronological volumes. The best place to start is with White Wolf Publishing's Ill Met in Lankhmar, but the best stories in the series, so far for me, are contained within the second volume: Lean Times in Lankhmar.

A Confederacy of Dunces. It's been years since I read it, but as I recall it's about a delightfully entitled, pompous, fat author who has delusions of grandeur and several debilitating dependencies. He lives at home with his mother in her house in New Orleans. He's basically a neck-beard, but from before the time of the internet. The main character, Ignatius J. Reilly, waddles  through one uncomfortable situation after another. From the outrage he expresses towards his mother's attempts to get him to find a job, to his complete inability to actually work, to his decidedly un-healthy relationship with his girlfriend: an intellectual of the worst kind. It's hilarious and fun.

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"'But whereas we have drunk with thee, who seemest to be a man of lineage, and thou hast been blithe with us, we will tell thee that we have seen one riding south along the Greenway, clad in a coat as green as the way, with the leafless tree done on his breast. So nigh to him we were that we heard his cry as he sped along, as ye may hear the lapwing whining, for he said: "POINT AND EDGE, POINT AND EDGE! THE RED WATER AMIDST OF THE HILLS!" In my lifetime such a man hath, to my knowledge, been seen thrice before; and after each sight of him followed evil days and the death of men.'"

-The Well at the World's End, William Morris
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Post by halfwise on Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:57 pm

I'm glad to see Fritz Lieber get recognition for something beyond Canticle for Liebowitz - a great book which seems to have overshadowed anything else he did.

I actually couldn't stand Confederacy of Dunces. The author committed suicide before it was published and I nearly committed suicide before I finished it. I found nothing cheerful or illuminating in it.

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Post by Forest Shepherd on Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:44 pm

I don't remember the book being cheerful or illuminating either, I remember it for the risible main character's many amusing foibles.

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"'But whereas we have drunk with thee, who seemest to be a man of lineage, and thou hast been blithe with us, we will tell thee that we have seen one riding south along the Greenway, clad in a coat as green as the way, with the leafless tree done on his breast. So nigh to him we were that we heard his cry as he sped along, as ye may hear the lapwing whining, for he said: "POINT AND EDGE, POINT AND EDGE! THE RED WATER AMIDST OF THE HILLS!" In my lifetime such a man hath, to my knowledge, been seen thrice before; and after each sight of him followed evil days and the death of men.'"

-The Well at the World's End, William Morris
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Post by halfwise on Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:24 pm

You have to be in the right type of mindset to enjoy a book with a main character you can't sympathize with. Terry Pratchett makes one of his main characters, Rincewind, a cowardly me-first type, yet with his pluckiness and pitch-perfect sense of his place in the lower echelons of the universe, you can't help but love the guy. I need characters I can love. I can't love anyone in Confederacy of Dunces.

For this reason I also have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy The Great Gatsby. I can enjoy if as a satire of the hollow lives of a particular age, but I'm not being pulled through by love of the characters. I just don't care about any of them.

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Post by Forest Shepherd on Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:12 am

Yeah I get it. Books can have a powerful influence over your mood and thoughts, more so than any other medium, I think. If a book is clouding my mind with unpleasantness, than to hell with it!

I remember that reading The Troop, a horror story about a group of Boy Scouts and their Troopmaster being caught on an island with a government-created super-tapeworm, really brought my mood down. It was so dark and grim.

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"'But whereas we have drunk with thee, who seemest to be a man of lineage, and thou hast been blithe with us, we will tell thee that we have seen one riding south along the Greenway, clad in a coat as green as the way, with the leafless tree done on his breast. So nigh to him we were that we heard his cry as he sped along, as ye may hear the lapwing whining, for he said: "POINT AND EDGE, POINT AND EDGE! THE RED WATER AMIDST OF THE HILLS!" In my lifetime such a man hath, to my knowledge, been seen thrice before; and after each sight of him followed evil days and the death of men.'"

-The Well at the World's End, William Morris
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Post by azriel on Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:29 pm

Im reading "Look Back in Anger" by John Osbourne. The way he can put his feelings into words is so refreshing. He says what Im feeling ( if I was in that situation) & uses such a variety of words. I swear I hear Richard Burton as I read. I saw the film yonks ago when I was a wee lad & Burton played it with his trade mark fierceness Smile Im only 70 pages in at the moment but, I can really feel the mood, the passion & pent up anger from the main character. The pages do feel alive & Im kept thinking how this will go. I can see the lives of the characters so easy in my head thanks to the dialogue. so far, a dam good read Smile

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:32 pm

{{ Never read any of his stuff, but you do make it sound very tempting to give it a go Az Nod }}

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Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:17 am

Isn't that a play?

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"'But whereas we have drunk with thee, who seemest to be a man of lineage, and thou hast been blithe with us, we will tell thee that we have seen one riding south along the Greenway, clad in a coat as green as the way, with the leafless tree done on his breast. So nigh to him we were that we heard his cry as he sped along, as ye may hear the lapwing whining, for he said: "POINT AND EDGE, POINT AND EDGE! THE RED WATER AMIDST OF THE HILLS!" In my lifetime such a man hath, to my knowledge, been seen thrice before; and after each sight of him followed evil days and the death of men.'"

-The Well at the World's End, William Morris
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Post by azriel on Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:19 pm

Yes, Forest, It was a play then a film with Richard Burton playing the angry man who seems to blame everyone & life itself. The way the book reads is refreshing & honest, I like the criticism & sarcasm, it doesn't beat about the bush but 'says' what we think & wished to say Smile

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Post by Forest Shepherd on Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:34 am

Ah so Osbourne made it into a book then.

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"'But whereas we have drunk with thee, who seemest to be a man of lineage, and thou hast been blithe with us, we will tell thee that we have seen one riding south along the Greenway, clad in a coat as green as the way, with the leafless tree done on his breast. So nigh to him we were that we heard his cry as he sped along, as ye may hear the lapwing whining, for he said: "POINT AND EDGE, POINT AND EDGE! THE RED WATER AMIDST OF THE HILLS!" In my lifetime such a man hath, to my knowledge, been seen thrice before; and after each sight of him followed evil days and the death of men.'"

-The Well at the World's End, William Morris
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Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:45 am

Excuse me Master Halfwise, thine half that is not the wise part hath said that which is not so much the true thing. Lieber certainly did not write Canticle for Liebowitz; it was written by the author Walter M. Miller Jr.

I was just scrolling through this page when I saw your comment and, having talked with a friend about how he had been reading Canticle, was taken aback that my friend and I had missed an opportunity to bond over our shared interest in Lieber. Alas, no such common interest exists: Lieber is not the author.

Anyway, I came here to ask if anyone had read this book? I first heard of William Morris in John Garth's Tolkien and the Great War, wherein he is described as a precursor to Tolkien both as a fantasy author, as well a man who shared some of his views about the evils of industrial revolution, and the loss of simpler values and antiquated worldviews.

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It just arrived and I've added it to my substantial reading list. A list that has, unfortunately, been delayed longer than it should have by the trial that is the seventh Dark Tower book. It's really dampened my enthusiasm for reading.

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"'But whereas we have drunk with thee, who seemest to be a man of lineage, and thou hast been blithe with us, we will tell thee that we have seen one riding south along the Greenway, clad in a coat as green as the way, with the leafless tree done on his breast. So nigh to him we were that we heard his cry as he sped along, as ye may hear the lapwing whining, for he said: "POINT AND EDGE, POINT AND EDGE! THE RED WATER AMIDST OF THE HILLS!" In my lifetime such a man hath, to my knowledge, been seen thrice before; and after each sight of him followed evil days and the death of men.'"

-The Well at the World's End, William Morris
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Post by halfwise on Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:05 am

Yeah, Lieber/Liebowitz, it's easy to slip into a wrong attribution. If I had actually read anything by Fritz Lieber it wouldn't be possible since Miller doesn't really use fantastical elements.

Though I've read about the Well at the World's End, I haven't read it; and to me the title recalls an oral rendition told by a tale-teller in a dark cloak and bushy eyebrows...don't remember where I heard it but the story itself was very memorable. But it was not Morris's story, it was his own involving frogs and princesses and was quite hysterical. I may have to sit down and bang it out from memory. I wonder if it will work as well on the written page as recounted with different voices and such. Likely not.

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Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:13 am

A darkly-cloaked storyteller eh? Have you spent time in a fairy tale yourself?

Once I get around to this book, anyway, I'll share what I think.

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"'But whereas we have drunk with thee, who seemest to be a man of lineage, and thou hast been blithe with us, we will tell thee that we have seen one riding south along the Greenway, clad in a coat as green as the way, with the leafless tree done on his breast. So nigh to him we were that we heard his cry as he sped along, as ye may hear the lapwing whining, for he said: "POINT AND EDGE, POINT AND EDGE! THE RED WATER AMIDST OF THE HILLS!" In my lifetime such a man hath, to my knowledge, been seen thrice before; and after each sight of him followed evil days and the death of men.'"

-The Well at the World's End, William Morris
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Post by Forest Shepherd on Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:51 pm

Well I started it at least, as you can tell from my signature. I had a little trouble adjusting to the cadence of the writing, which is much more medieval than Tolkien's writing, but now it's going well.

Edit: the "Greenway" and "leafless tree" symbol you can read in my signature are fun little ideas that get repeated in Tolkien's writing, if only as a matter of happenstance.

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"'But whereas we have drunk with thee, who seemest to be a man of lineage, and thou hast been blithe with us, we will tell thee that we have seen one riding south along the Greenway, clad in a coat as green as the way, with the leafless tree done on his breast. So nigh to him we were that we heard his cry as he sped along, as ye may hear the lapwing whining, for he said: "POINT AND EDGE, POINT AND EDGE! THE RED WATER AMIDST OF THE HILLS!" In my lifetime such a man hath, to my knowledge, been seen thrice before; and after each sight of him followed evil days and the death of men.'"

-The Well at the World's End, William Morris
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