This book is really a collection of stories that are only loosely connected; at the moment, I’m reading one about how an obscure god named Issek of the Jug briefly became popular in the city of Lankhmar:
To make a long or, rather, complex story simple and short, Pulg became what can best be described as Issek’s grand vizier and worked tirelessly for Issek’s greater glory—always wearing on his chest the god-created golden emblem of the Jug as the sign of his office. He did not upon his conversion to the gentle god give up his old profession, as some moralists might expect, but carried it on with even greater zeal than before, extorting mercilessly from the priests of all gods other than Issek and grinding them down.
Hmm. I feel like I could make some sort of remark here along the lines of “that doesn’t sound like fantasy, that sounds like reality”, but instead, I’ll just present for your amusement the Deities & Demigods statistics for Issek of the Jug. Because of course he was in there along with Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser.
Appearing to be poor even if they are not. Hmm.
Anyway, this book is listed as 1,711 pages long, but the reader needn’t worry too much about remembering what happened 1,500 pages ago. If it was important, and it gets referenced again in a later story, and you forgot what it was all about, there’ll be a little bit of “Previously on Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser” in there to remind you. Given that these stories were written over the course of decades, appearing in various magazines before being gathered into collections, it makes sense that there would be a little recap. Otherwise, someone who just picked up a random magazine where a story appeared and started reading it would probably feel a little bit like Bran in that one meme from “Game of Thrones”. You know the one I mean.
And, yes, that does say it’s Volume One of the story collection. 1,711 pages long. Volume One!!! It does not appear that a Volume Two has been collected yet. One can only imagine how long that would be. Incidentally, despite some of them having been written over seventy years ago, these stories don’t read as particularly dated. Possibly this is because they remind me of any number of D&D adventures, or possibly it’s just because Fritz Leiber was very good at what he did.
Meanwhile, speaking of books that aren’t over 1,700 pages long and never will be, editing continues on Father’s Books:
Why had he gone back there? A worry, a premonition, a hunch that something was happening there that he needed to stop. But as soon as he’d arrived, eased his car in beside the damaged station wagon, he’d known he was too late. A presence bulged from the windows and the doors, rancid dough swelling out of the pan, keeping him in the car, pressing him into the seat with the weight of every awful thing he’d ever witnessed.
As Homer Simpson might say: “Mmmm, rancid dough.” Or maybe that should be “rancid d’oh!”