THE GHOST LIGHT by Fritz Leiber


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Leiber in retrospect: nine stories spanning much of his 40+-year career--plus a substantial chunk of autobiography, in which Leiber (LYEber not LEEber) rather tediously details his Chicago boyhood, his involvement with the theater (his father was a successful Shakespearean and movie actor), his interest in chess, his sexual ignorance, and his recurrent bouts of alcoholism. Only one yarn here is science-fiction: the well-known ""Coming Attraction"" which depicts a decadent post-nuclear US. Fantasy, though, is Leiber's forte, as represented by some famous, much-anthologized stories: ""Space-Time for Springers,"" about a troubled household and a superintelligent cat; strange doings during the appearance of Hamlet's father's ghost in ""Four Ghosts in Hamlet""; dicing with the devil in ""Gonna Roll the Bones""; and ""Midnight by the Morphy Watch,"" where the gold watch of real-life 19th-century erratic chess master Paul Morphy confers chess genius on subsequent owners. Also included: one of Leiber's sword-and-sorcery ""Lankhmar"" series; an evil psychiatrist's theft of his patients' ectoplasmic ghosts; a time-travel fantasy arising out of a New York dark glass landscape; and the recent title piece, a weak, theatrical Dorian Gray variant. Well-handled, evocative fantasy--even if the personal notes will only be of interest to those avid for authorial minutiae.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1984
Publisher: Berkeley