Your Obedient Serpent (athelind) wrote,
Your Obedient Serpent

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Quest for Swords & Sorcery!

Back in my high school years, the fantasy shelves had yet to be overrun by never-ending phone book sagas, superficial Tolkien ripoffs, and cheesy D&D-based Imprint Novels.

In those days, D&D players didn't have to suffer through the regurgitation of other people's games for inspiration. We were fortunate enough to have the primary source materials conveniently available in inexpensive paperback editions. I speak, of course, of classic Sword & Sorcery, a genre subtly but significantly different than the quest-based High Fantasy that follows the Tolkien mold.

Alas, graduation from high school began a phase of my life that demanded mobility, and that in turn demanded a winnowing of my library. In a move that seemed reasonable at the time, I purged my collection of the books I deemed easily replaceable -- after all, they'd been in print for years, and would remain in print for the foreseeable future.

And so it was that I divested myself of the works of Fritz Lieber and Michael Moorcock.

Foresight has never been one of my strong suits.

Now, decades later, I feel the lack most keenly. I would love to dive back into those worlds, and immerse myself in Lieber's wry humor, and Moorcock's psychedelic prose.

And they are no longer in my grasp.

Back in those ancient days of yore, the sagas of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
and Elric of Melniboné were available in elegant matched sets, each volume in their respective series having a continuity of cover design, and tales arranged chronologically. Now, alas, I can find no evidence that all of the books are even in print in the U.S., much less available from the same publisher.

I would, ideally, like to restore these two classic epics to their proper place in my hoard. I know that Moorcock added additional volumes to Elric's tale in the 1990s, and I would, ideally, like to read these in the proper sequence with the older works. Similarly, there is an additional volume of Fafhrd and the Mouser that I've yet to read.

I beseech you, loyal readers: can you direct me to one or both of these series? My preference is for matched sets: all of one series, from the same publisher, in the same format. Mismatched brings out the Mister Monk in me, and the closer I can get to "one-stop shopping", the better. I would also prefer hardback over paperback or trade paperback; though I mourn the loss of editions that are both easily accessible and inexpensive, if I am going to go to great efforts to find these tomes, they should be in a format that will endure the years. I am willing to entertain the purchase of UK editions, if US editions are simply unavailable.

By and large, my preference is for new editions. Haunting the used and out-of-print shelves for a whole series can be frustrating, as I learned years ago whilst gathering my mismatched collection of Doc Smith's Lensman titles. I find it vile indeed that these works have been allowed to go out of print, when entire forests are razed for hacks like Salvatore.

(And yes, I'm looking at the Science Fiction Book Club website. Their omnibus collections appear to lack the seventh volume of F&GM, and the second of four volumes of Elric. Still, if I manage to land a decently-paying job, it might be worth my while to rejoin the SFBC for the first time in three decades...)
Tags: book, hoard potato, sword & sorcery

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