Monday, June 5, 2023



“Without more warning than that, a long snowbank between that step and the next above reared up its nearest white end a dozen feet and hissed fearsomely, showing it to be a huge serpent with head a big as an elk’s, all covered with shaggy snow-white fur. Its great violet eyes glared like those of a mad horse and its jaw gaped to show slashing-teeth like a shark’s and two great fangs jetting a mist of pale ichor.The furred serpent hesitated for two sways between the nearer, taller man with flashing ax and the farther, smaller one with thick black stick.

The Mouser’s attention was fixed on a fur-wisped violet eye as big as a girl’s fist.

Hrissa looked down the monster’s gaping dark red gullet rimmed by slaver-swimming ivory knives and the two ichor-jetting fangs.

Fafhrd said, “A hot-blooded serpent, a snake with fur—it goes against experience. My father never spoke of such; I doubt he ever met ‘em.”
Fritz Leiber, Swords Against Wizardry

I had read some of Leiber's short horror stories (monsters from that are on my list) and had heard a lot of hype around his Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series, so I decided to try them. I have the Mike Mignola graphic novel and enjoyed it so...

The Mignola graphic novel and the original publication with a cover by Jeffrey Catherine Jones

I was not impressed. The protagonists didn't feel fleshed out and I didn't care about the secondary characters. I guess knowing it was the first in a long series of books meant that I knew there was no real sense of peril. It just didn't hit for me....BUT....the idea of a snake that's evolved with fur to live in cold climates really stuck with me.

These serpents also make an appearance in the now infamous recalled version of Dungeons & Dragons supplement Deities & Demigods. Above is the original illustration by Jeff Dee.

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