Leiber, Fritz (Reuter), (Jr.) Mary S. Weinkauf - Essay

Mary S. Weinkauf

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The Book of Fritz Leiber includes ten stories and nine essays illustrating his range…. Leiber's imaginative and playful range of thought brightens up the topics he chooses, though his reviews and the essays on foreign words and King Lear are not particularly stimulating or new. Very few of the stories other than "The Spider" and "Cat's Cradle" match the quality of his commonly anthologized fiction or of those which have won awards, giving the suspicion that this is a way to collect the also-rans in permanent form….

Although Leiber comes right out and says what made him write these pieces and that Lovecraft and Shakespeare are his chief literary influences, the book also shows his enjoyment of language, his appreciation for Renaissance and Jacobean drama, and his interest in the way the human mind solves everyday problems and how that carries over to the way it handles paranormal ones. Leiber's best work gets inside the human mind and down to the layers where myth waits to unite individual experience to the pattern we call humanity. In short, this book gives only a very limited sampling of a respected writer's great skill….

Mary S. Weinkauf, "Paperbacks: 'The Book of Fritz Leiber'," in Delap's Fantasy & Science Fiction Review (copyright © 1977 by Richard Delap), Vol. 3, No. 4, April, 1977, p. 29.