Leiber selected stories is almost done…

Way back when in August 2008 I flew out to Oakland to spend some time with Charles on my way to the Denver WorldCon. On the Saturday afternoon Jeremy Lassen of Night Shade came up to the house and we drank beer, laughed and talked science fiction for hours.

In amongst the beer, laughter and doing an online interview for Conflux’s Minicon, I agreed to do three books for Night Shade. One was a reprint anthology of dragon stories, Wings of Fire, and one was a ‘best of’ volume of stories by the late, great Fritz Leiber. I remember sitting there and looking across the table and realising that Charles had to be involved with the Leiber book. He’d known Fritz well, and knew his work intimately. I also wanted a chance to work on something with him again, just as thing for friends to be doing.

Jeremy was enthusiastic about the idea, and Charles was too. The very next day he arranged for us to have dinner with Fritz’s agent and, before we’d got to dessert, we were set. Charles and I would select the stories, and Charles would ask Neil Gaiman if he’d do the introduction. The paperwork took a little while, as it always, does, but Charles and I began back and forthing on the length of the book, possible contents etc etc.

As I recall, we’d got to an almost final list of stories when I got the phone call from Liza that Charles had died. It threw the project into something of a loop for me for a while, but when things had settled I looked over the list we had and made, I think, one change. I also did some shuffling in running order, which was revised again following a helpful note from Marty Halpern.

 And now, a year and a half after that first conversation Fritz Leiber: Selected Stories is complete. Night Shade has just released the cover, which I love, and the book itself should be out in April. I’m very, very proud of the book, and am happy to have it stand as something of an end note to a long friendship that a valued very highly.  And should anyone ever wonder, it was very much a collaboration, right to the end. I wish Charles had lived to see the book done, but I’m glad it exists and that we did it together. I’m also grateful to Jeremy and the Shade for their work on it, and to Liza and the Locus gang who helped with the book at the end.

11 thoughts on “Leiber selected stories is almost done…”

  1. How exciting! I’ve read no Leiber except for the Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser stories/novels, so this is a good chance for me to catch up on what else he wrote.

    The cover is very retro; who did the design?

  2. The cover was, I believe, designed by Jeremy Lassen. I think it’s terrific. And I hope you like the book. I think it’s really something special.

  3. According to the back of the dust jacket, the jacket design is by Claudia Noble. She is one of Night Shade’s regulars on layouts and designs.

    – marty

  4. Leiber was one of my favorite writers growing up in the 60’s. Looking forward to rereading these. Must have been hard to limit yourself to 400 pages. Now if someone would only do the same for RA Lafferty.

  5. I can’t wait for this one. I first started reading Leiber about three years ago and have barely scratched the surface of his short fiction. Yay!!!

  6. When Ross approached me to proof the page proofs of this volume, I was honored. I met Fritz back in 1977 when I was working at DARK CARNIVAL (Fritz was one of Jack Rems’ favorite authors, as I recall, and was there for OUR LADY OF DARKNESS). Fritz was a great old gent, with a wry sense of humor. Reading the stories in this collection reminded me what a great craftsman he was and how surprising it is to find the sensual/erotic side of his work. All of the Sword & Sorcery authors that followed owe him big-time. It’s great that Night Shade is keeping his work in print!

  7. I have no reason to believe this will happen, but I’d love to do a second volume. Regardless of that, though, it was an honor to get to work on it.

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