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Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 12 February, 2020 06:26PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sawfish Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > The Testament is just a well written Ffared &
> > Grey Muser story, like the Black Abbot, in my
> > opinion.
> >
> > I'd put it in CAS' clearly commercial category.
> > Better than a lot of others in the same
> category.
> >
> > As always, my opinion, only...
>
>
> I take it that you are not too enthusiastic about
> Fritz Leiber's adventuring duo? ;)

Hah!

No, I liked them as good escapist entertainment (read them all many years ago). The series was something like a Crosby and Hope Road Movie--reliable, known characters in new predicaments. But they were not of the same impact as something even like Weaver in the Vault (Ffherd & Mouser, with an unhappy ending).

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.

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.

This does not measure up to stuff like The Isle of the Torturers, in my opinion.

> Which do you
> like best of Conan or Fafhrd & Gray Mouser?

I never much cared for Conan or Kull, etc., and 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.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 13 February, 2020 01:17PM
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".

> 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 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, 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. 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!

Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 13 February, 2020 03:07PM
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.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 13 February, 2020 03:58PM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> 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.
>

I think The Metal Monster turned into something pretty bizarre. I couldn't foresee that coming as I read.

Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 13 February, 2020 04:28PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sawfish Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> >
> > 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.
> >
>
> I think The Metal Monster turned into something
> pretty bizarre. I couldn't foresee that coming as
> I read.

I hope so!

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 13 February, 2020 06:05PM
But on the other hand, after having read a few of Howard's Conan tales, I could foresee them all (except in the small details, which are always brilliant): 1. Conan is pressured to the very brink of death. 2. He meets a woman along the way, who at first rejects him. 3. He finally overcomes his foes in the end, and gets to embrace the woman. EVERY story follows this same basic pattern. (Talk about commercial pulp. But that is what he did. Making money.) The beauty, and real satisfaction, is in the details.

Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 13 February, 2020 06:34PM
Knygatin, would you care to mention a few of the excellent details from the Conan stories?

As I recall, "Beyond the Black River" doesn't conform to the pattern you describe, yet is sometimes considered one of the best of the Conan stories.

Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 13 February, 2020 06:54PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Knygatin, would you care to mention a few of the
> excellent details from the Conan stories?
>
> As I recall, "Beyond the Black River" doesn't
> conform to the pattern you describe, yet is
> sometimes considered one of the best of the Conan
> stories.


If I may diverge...

Now, at this time, I'm becoming interested in *why* Conan and others of Howard's heroic characters, *did not* interest me when I read a fair number of them, back in the late 60s.

I mean, my personal worldview is not all that different from the way Howard describes Conan's reality, in that I can easily see that direct action and focus, and even aggression, are almost essential in an evolutionary sense, although in current times the action has switched from the physical to the intellectual and/or economic stage.

Given that, and viewing Conan as a simplified and symbolic avatar, I *should* like it, but I don't.

It's a sort of Mein Kampf of heroic fantasy, and I dislike the raising of what's simply necessary but ugly to the level of heroic adulation. He's not a hero, but simply a survivor of mankind's era of savagery.

Maybe that's it; I don't know. i'm not rally very civilized, so *that's* not it...

There may be stylistic elements, too, I'm not sure.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 13 February, 2020 07:31PM
I think Conan is heroic in some sense, even if he often works merely for his own private interests. He does stand up and help persons of his own heritage who are in need, that is a principle he has. He also often plays a vital role under inflammable political events, leading armies, and in releasing people from evil rulers. So he is a hero in the ultimate sense.

Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 13 February, 2020 07:53PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Knygatin, would you care to mention a few of the
> excellent details from the Conan stories?
>

No, I cannot, not now. Then I would have to cite them directly, because it is Art. But it concerns how Howard describes magic, demonic forces, ancient cultures and artifacts, the physical anatomy and mental qualities of Conan, battle scenes, the heinous behaviors of evil sorcerers and rulers, the sophisticated turns of corrupted politics. At times the pure beauty of Howard's prose.

Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 13 February, 2020 08:07PM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> 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.
>

I hope you will enjoy the rest of it. But if you are reading the cut version, it will likely appear much more pulpy and stilted than the original. I noted this difference when casually comparing them, especially in the beginning, which has large chunks of text and whole sections of background removed.

Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 13 February, 2020 09:55PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sawfish Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > 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.
> >
>
> I hope you will enjoy the rest of it. But if you
> are reading the cut version, it will likely appear
> much more pulpy and stilted than the original. I
> noted this difference when casually comparing
> them, especially in the beginning, which has large
> chunks of text and whole sections of background
> removed.

I don't know which version I have. I am 28% through it.

I am coming to the conclusion of the trip taken after Norhala takes Ruth and the others from the mountain valley. It has been difficult for me to get a mental image of the metal components (cube, globe, pyramid) as they rearrange, and the journey itself was as incomprehensible as the "light show" sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

That said, it is definitely conveying a completely alien environment that doesn't seem reminiscent of anything else I've read.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 14 February, 2020 12:21AM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
...
> That said, it is definitely conveying a completely
> alien environment that doesn't seem reminiscent of
> anything else I've read.

There you go!!! I wish you luck. And hope you don't stumble too much along the road, because it can be a startling journey.

Re: CAS's opinion of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 14 February, 2020 11:25AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sawfish Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> ...
> > That said, it is definitely conveying a
> completely
> > alien environment that doesn't seem reminiscent
> of
> > anything else I've read.
>
> There you go!!! I wish you luck. And hope you
> don't stumble too much along the road, because it
> can be a startling journey.

Great!

I'm engaged, will certainly finish it.

Thanks!

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

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