Sheelba of The Eyeless Face - Publication History

Publication History

The first story appeared in Unknown in 1939 and the last in The Knight and Knave of Swords in 1988. Although Leiber credited his friend, Harry Otto Fischer, with the original concepts for the characters, it was Leiber who wrote nearly all the stories. 10,000 words of The Lords of Quarmall were penned by Fischer early in the development of the series; the story was completed by Leiber in 1964. Fischer also wrote "The Childhood and Youth of the Gray Mouser", published in 1978. The stories' style and tone vary considerably, but nearly all contain an often dark sense of humor, which ranges from the subtle and character-based to the Pythonesque. The earlier tales owe as much to Clark Ashton Smith as to Robert E. Howard.

The stories have been collected in the so-called "Swords" series:

  1. Swords and Deviltry (collection 1970)
    1. "Induction" (vignette 1957, Two Sought Adventure)
    2. The Snow Women (novella 1970 Fantastic)
    3. "The Unholy Grail" (novelette 1962 Fantastic)
    4. Ill Met in Lankhmar (novella 1970 F&SF)—telling how Fafhrd and the Mouser met, this story won both a Nebula award and a Hugo award
  2. Swords Against Death (collection 1970, expanded and revised from Two Sought Adventure 1957)
    1. "The Circle Curse" (1970, first publication)
    2. "The Jewels in the Forest" (novelette 1939 Unknown, as "Two Sought Adventure")
    3. "Thieves' House" (novelette 1943 Unknown)
    4. "The Bleak Shore" (1940 Unknown)
    5. "The Howling Tower" (1941 Unknown)
    6. "The Sunken Land" (1942 Unknown)
    7. "The Seven Black Priests" (novelette 1953 Other Worlds)
    8. "Claws from the Night" (novelette 1951 Suspense as "Dark Vengeance")
    9. "The Price of Pain-Ease" (1970, first publication)
    10. "Bazaar of the Bizarre" (novelette 1963 Fantastic)
  3. Swords in the Mist (collection 1968)
    1. "The Cloud of Hate" (1963 Fantastic)
    2. "Lean Times in Lankhmar" (novelette 1959 Fantastic)
    3. "Their Mistress, the Sea" (1968, first publication)
    4. "When the Sea-King's Away" (novelette 1960 Fantastic)
    5. "The Wrong Branch" (1968, first publication)
    6. Adept's Gambit (novella 1947, in Leiber's Night's Black Agents collection)
  4. Swords Against Wizardry (collection 1968)
    1. "In the Witch's Tent" (1968, first publication)
    2. "Stardock" (novelette 1965 Fantastic)
    3. "The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar" (1968 Fantastic)
    4. The Lords of Quarmall (novella 1964 Fantastic), with Harry Otto Fischer
  5. The Swords of Lankhmar (novel 1968—first part published as Scylla’s Daughter (novella 1961 Fantastic))
  6. Swords and Ice Magic (collection 1977)
    1. "The Sadness of the Executioner" (1973, in Flashing Swords! #1, ed. Lin Carter)
    2. "Beauty and the Beasts" (vignette 1974, in The Book of Fritz Leiber)
    3. "Trapped in the Shadowland" (1973 Fantastic)
    4. "The Bait" (vignette 1973 Whispers)
    5. "Under the Thumbs of the Gods" (1975 Fantastic)
    6. "Trapped in the Sea of Stars" (1975, in The Second Book of Fritz Leiber)
    7. "The Frost Monstreme" (novelette 1976, in Flashing Swords! #3, ed. Lin Carter)
    8. Rime Isle (novella 1977 Cosmos SF&F Magazine) (these last two published together as Rime Isle by Whispers Press in 1977)
  7. The Knight and Knave of Swords (collection 1988)
    1. "Sea Magic" (1977 The Dragon)
    2. "The Mer She" (novelette 1983, in Heroes and Horrors)
    3. The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars (novella 1983, in Heroic Visions)
    4. The Mouser Goes Below (novella 1988, first publication—portions first printed as "The Mouser Goes Below" (1987 Whispers) and "Slack Lankhmar Afternoon Featuring Hisvet" (1988 Terry’s Universe, ed. Beth Meacham))

In 2009, Benjamin Szumskyj's Strange Wonders included the first few chapters of "The Tale of the Grain Ships," written in the 1930s. This unfinished fragment depicts the Gray Mouser in Rome during the reign of the Emperor Claudius.

  • The first six books in the series were reprinted in a uniform, archival series from Gregg Press, and were the first hardback editions of all these books save The Swords of Lankhmar.
  • Harry Otto Fischer's short story, "The Childhood and Youth of the Gray Mouser," was published in 1978 in The Dragon #18.
  • The series was continued by Robin Wayne Bailey in Swords Against the Shadowland (novel 1998).
  • A collection, Bazaar of the Bizarre, illustrated by Stephan Peregrine, comprised Leiber's three favorite Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories: "Bazaar of the Bizarre", "The Cloud of Hate", and "Lean Times in Lankhmar".
  • A sex scene from The Swords of Lankhmar, cut by editor Don Wollheim ("Good Heaven, Fritz, we're a family publisher...") was published in Fantasy Newsletter #49 (July 1982).

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