Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fritz Leiber's Our Lady of Darkness

Or, Fritz Leiber's supposed horror novel Our Lady of Darkness

The book has been positively compared to The Exorcist and Salem’s and called a “major horror novel.” The story begins with elements of suspense and I’m certain Leiber could write a very convincing horror tale but Our Lady of Darkness “ain’t the one.” In my opinion this book is much more an alternate history and I feel that modern readers would agree. Leiber frames this tale around his wife’s death and three years of alcohol abuse he inflicted on himself afterward. The main character, Franz, is happy with his return to success and sobriety only to have his drunken years come back to haunt him. That is about as far as the horror goes and much of the book consists of continuous name dropping of literary figures from the San Francisco area. The story makes it clear that the two authors Leiber admires most, besides Lovecraft, are Clark Aston Smith and Jack London. I found this information interesting, to read of one writer writing of his peers. Interesting because I love books and these are all writers whose work I would like to investigate but it really didn’t make a good novel.

I'm going to start reading Lovecraft's The Loved Dead to be sure I get my seasonal scare for the year.