Harlan EllisonOne of the perhaps dozen writers in the history of literature whose command of the language, whose inventiveness, whose shining genius intimidates me.
Fritz Leiber was born in 1910 and died in 1992. He was considered one of the best genre authors of all time and a pioneer in the field. He was very well respected and admired by his peers, and authors such as Harlan Ellison, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King, and Neil Gaiman have all remarked on how much authors today owe to him. Among many awards bestowed upon him include the Grand Master of Science Fiction, Grand Master of Fantasy, and the first Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement in horror. He excelled and broke new ground in all three genres–a rarity among authors.
Leiber's best known works include his Sword & Sorcery1) series about those two infamous scoundrels, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, who not only blazed a trail in S&S parallel to Conan since 1939, but whose exploits were very influential in the early development of the Dungeons & Dragons game.
In Science Fiction his Change War series is known for its originality in time travel fiction and includes the Hugo winning short novel, The Big Time. Furthermore, John Pelan has stated that
Fritz Leiber made Science Fiction grow the hell up…2) with his pivotal story “Coming Attraction”.
It is in the field of supernatural horror that Leiber caused the greatest shift in writing. With “Smoke Ghost” in 1941 the Jamesian ghost story is laid to rest and modern horror was born with a ghost derived from urban smoke and grit, feeding off of the twisted emotions of the city.
Ramsey CampbellFritz Leiber was the father of modern supernatural horror fiction, and its greatest master. I'll stake my reputation on the belief that once “Smoke Ghost” was published, the field could never be the same again.
“Smoke Ghost” is only one of many stories where he was a pioneer for modern horror:
Stephen KingCertainly without Conjure Wife there is no Rosemary's Baby or The Stepford Wives, and probably without Night's Black Agents there is no Books of Blood or Night Shift.
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