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  1. #1

    Moorcock vs. Leiber

    I'm on a bit of a sword and sorcery kick lately, and I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never read either one of these authors. I've noticed that both the Elric and Fafhrd/Gray Mouser series are available in omnibus editions for the Kindle. I would like to eventually explore both, but my question is...which should I read FIRST?

    I like fast-paced action, but I also love deep characterization. Which author has the better balance of both? Is one writer consistently better than the other?

  2. #2
    A mere player txshusker's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    Since they're both basically short story and novella compilations, it's all fast paced. Lieber is a blast, Moorcock a little darker and I think goes into a little more character depth with Elric. I picked up Elric again last summer and read the first 4 books and enjoyed them. Elric's are shorter - unless you go into all of Moorcock's series - but everything is a fast, easy read. The real nice thing is, because of their formats, you could easily read a story from one and then the other and won't miss a beat. I personally don't really prefer one author over the other. One's a buddy story and one's a lone wolf story.

    You actually just motivated me to grab my Lieber out of the dust and read some tonight.

  3. #3
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Hobbit Towers, England
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    I'd agree with txs there. Elric is in part written as a response/homage to Leiber.

    Stylistically Leiber is older and a little clunkier than Elric, Elric is a lone anti-hero, whilst Fafhrd/Gray Mouser are buddies.

    Elric is not that complex, fast paced and definitely less humour.

    Like txs, I like both but they are different. Read both, eventually!


  4. #4
    Book of the Black Earth
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    Oct 2009
    Central Pennsylvania
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    Definitely give both a try. And I hope Robert E. Howard is also in your library.

  5. #5
    I'll go all-in and recommend Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser over Elric.

    I'll be a busy-body and go a little further:
    Howard's Conan stories,
    Leiber's Fafhrd/GrayMouser
    Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword
    Moorcock's Elric stories

    For a lark, you might add
    Andrzej Sapkowski's The Last Wish.

    Each writer builds on the ones who came before; each brings something new to the table (yes, even Sapkowski.)

  6. #6
    I love Elric. And I'd definitely recommend going with that first, but pick up Mouser right after.

  7. #7
    Thanks for the opinions. I actually ended up buying the "Elric: Stealer of Souls" omnibus, mainly based on txshusker's comment about having more character depth.

    I'll certainly get to Leiber eventually, and perhaps I'll post my comparison here after I've had a chance to read a bit of both.

    Oh, and Jon - REH is definitely in my Kindle library. I haven't read all his stories, but I like those I have read. Strangely, my favorite of his is not a Conan story, but one featuring Kull ("The Shadow Kingdom").

    And not to veer too far off my own topic, but this Sword and Sorcery kick for me was actually triggered by a few stories I read online by James Enge. Are his novels good, too? I tend to equate this subgenre with shorter, less complex works, so I'm a little suspicious that a novel might contain too much filler. Thoughts?

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