Fritz Leiber was born 100 years ago

Fritz Leiber Jr at A Change of Hobbit on February 26, 1977
Fritz Leiber Jr at A Change of Hobbit on February 26, 1977

Fritz Reuter Leiber Jr. (photo ©Will Hart) was born on December 24, 1910 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

His parents were Shakespearean actors so Fritz Jr. literaly grew up around a theater stage, which had a big influence on his life and his stories too.

Between 1928 and 1932 Fritz Leiber studied philosophy at the University of Chicago where he graduated. After college he studied at a theological seminary but after some months he realized that religious career didn’t suite him and abandoned it with a great disappointment.

After that experience Fritz Leiber started working in his father theater company as an actor and in 1936 he married his first wife Jonquil Stephens who gave him his son Justin in 1938.

Leiber wrote some supernatural stories for fun influenced by H.P. Lovecraft and later by psychologist Carl Jung. In 1939 he sold to the magazine Unknown his first fantasy story, “Two Sought Adventure”, which introduced the fantastic city of Lankhmar and the two protagonists of many more stories he wrote during the following decades: Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.

In 1943 Fritz Leiber published his first novel, “Conjure Wife”, again a fantastic story. During the same year he also published his first science fiction novel, “Gather, Darkness!”, set in a future religious dictatorship that showed the negative outcome of his experience as a preacher.

Fritz Leiber wasn’t a particularly prolific writer and for some years he wrote only short fiction. During the ’50s Leiber started his golden age with novels belonging to various fantastic genres. In “The Sinful Ones” you can see his passion for chess, in “Destiny Times Three” he introduced parallel realities. This period peaked with 1958 novel “The Big Time” and 1964 novel “The Wanderer”, both awarded a Hugo Prize.

In 1969 his wife Jonquil died and Leiber spent three years struggling with alcoholism. Eventually he got back to his feet and besides a lot of short fiction he published his last novel, “Our Lady of Darkness”, this time a blend of horror, science fiction and mystery.

Near the end of his life Fritz Leiber married Margo Skinner. In 1992 he had a physical collapse and on September 5 he died.

Fritz Leiber was an extraordinalily eclectic writer, able to produce stories of various kinds with originality and sensitivity reinterpreting classic plots in new ways offering his readers stories always different from each other.


 

12 Comments


  1. If you really want to celebrate Fritz Leiber’s 100th. birthday, and his life,
    stop by the CthulhuWho1 blog and help yourself to the many MP3 recordings
    and documents by and about the man himself; and then jump to his Flickr collection for
    more stuff that you can help yourself to.

    The blog is at http://cthulhuwho1.com

    Or you can jump right to the Fritz Leiber category at:

    http://cthulhuwho1.com/category/fritz-leiber/

    And be sure you click on the ‘Older Posts’ button at the bottom
    to see even more pieces by and about Fritz Leiber.

    Will Hart

    aka CthulhuWho1

    Curator of:

    The Lovecraft Flickr Collections at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cthulhuwho1/collections/

    The CthulhuWho1 blog at: http://cthulhuwho1.com

    And The CthulhuWho1 YouTube Channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/CthulhuWho1

    Reply











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