[download pdf] Nifft the LeanAuthor Michael Shea – Avengersinfinitywarfullmovie.de

SHEA S INFERNO Follow the adventures of Nifft the Lean, the master thief whose felonious appropriations and larcenous skills will lead through Stygian realms to challenge your most lurid fantasies and errant imaginings Places where horror, harm and long eerie calms flow past the traveller in endless, unpredictable succession Travel the man whose long, rawboned, sticky fingers and stark length of arm will lead you down to the vermiculous grottos of the demon sea, to stand beneath the subworld s lurid sky and battle monsters who seem the spiritual distillation of human evil itself We invite to the very gates of Hell and beyond COME IF YOU DARE


10 thoughts on “Nifft the Lean

  1. Dan Schwent Dan Schwent says:

    Come then, Mortal We Will Seek Her Soul At the behest of an apparition, Nifft and Haldar kidnap a disgraced warrior and take him to the land of the dead to be reunited with her in exchange for the Wizard s Key Only things don t go as plannedThe first Nifft story was quite good, a trip to hell with all sorts of horrifying denizens It was a bit like Fritz Leiber s Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser, only told in the first person and in a meatier style like REH s Shea s sense of humor and dialogue r Come then, Mortal We Will Seek Her Soul At the behest of an apparition, Nifft and Haldar kidnap a disgraced warrior and take him to the land of the dead to be reunited with her in exchange for the Wizard s Key Only things don t go as plannedThe first Nifft story was quite good, a trip to hell with all sorts of horrifying denizens It was a bit like Fritz Leiber s Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser, only told in the first person and in a meatier style like REH s Shea s sense of humor and dialogue remind me of Jack Vance s My favorite part Having to wrestling the Soultaker, a large manlizard, for a chance to accompany him and the Guide of Ghosts on a trip to the land of the dead.Pearls of the Vampire Queen White gathering pearls in a deadly swamp, Nifft and Barnar learn of a vampire queen and scheme to steal from her.I liked Pearls eventhan the first story Shea s writing, already quite good, improved a bit in the interval between the tales The idea of a vampire queen that feeds on blood in exchange for magical protection is a good one Nifft and Barnar rose a bit in my esteem in this one Shea never resorts to fantasy stereotypes when it comes to monsters There were ghuls, lurks, and murderous, pearl producing polyps.Fishing the Demon Sea Nifft and Barnar are saved from being torn apart on the rack at the last minute and tasked with traveling to a subworld and braving the Demon Sea to rescue a noble s spoiled son who was taken by a water demon Too bad he s such an arrogant little shitNifft and Barnar are a cut above most fantasy characters when it comes to inventiveness I loved the mine car bit The giant leeches and scorpion demons were nasty The subworld was a horrid place I won t soon forget Gildmirth proved to be a very interesting supporting character I hope Shea uses him again in the future.The Goddess in Glass Anvil Pastures is in dire peril, in danger of being destroyed by an impending mountain collapse, and it s up to Nifft to lead a force to re unite the Goddess in Glass with her flock so they can save the day.The last story was different than the rest in that Nifft wasn t telling it Other than that, I really liked it Aliens as gods is always a sf trope that I enjoy.To sum up, Nifft the Lean was a great read While slim, the stories are great and the writing is rich We needfantasy like this on the racks


  2. Stuart Stuart says:

    Nifft the Lean Vance s Cugel reimagined by Hieronymus BoschOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureBack in 1950, Hillman Periodicals published a little book for 25 cents called The Dying Earth by Jack Vance It could easily have disappeared into obscurity like thousands of other books, but there was something special about it There weren t any other books in SF Fantasy quite like it, depicting an incredibly distant future earth where the sun has cooled to a red color, the moon is gone, and huma Nifft the Lean Vance s Cugel reimagined by Hieronymus BoschOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureBack in 1950, Hillman Periodicals published a little book for 25 cents called The Dying Earth by Jack Vance It could easily have disappeared into obscurity like thousands of other books, but there was something special about it There weren t any other books in SF Fantasy quite like it, depicting an incredibly distant future earth where the sun has cooled to a red color, the moon is gone, and humanity has declined to a pale shadow of former greatness, and struggles to survive amongst the ruins of the past The world is filled with magicians, sorcerers, maidens, demons, ghouls, brigands, thieves, and adventurers.The Dying Earth inspired many works ranging from Gene Wolfe s Book of the New Sun and to Gary Gygax s Dungeons Dragons universe Eventually Vance followed up with a sequel, The Eyes of the Overworld 1966 , which introduced his most famous character, the knavish thief and swindler named Cugel the Clever This book was just as imaginative as The Dying Earth, but was a single story of the misadventures of Cugel after he crosses Iucounu the Laughing Magician It contains all the same sly, tongue in cheek humor, the strong imagery of a decaying and run down world, and the wonderfully stilted high language used by all the humans and other creatures of this autumnal far future world.So when Michael Shea asked Jack Vance, he graciously authorized him to write an informal sequel to the first two Dying Earth novels, and this became A Quest for Simbilis 1974 It was well received, but it was not until 1982 that he gave his imagine full rein to reshape Jack Vance s Dying Earth and make it his own in Nifft the Lean, an obscure Daw paperback without fanfare And what a bizarre and grotesque vision it was imagine Cugel the Clever if Hieronymus Bosch was writing it, a dark and often stomach churning trip into a strange underworld teeming with demons, lurks, scabrous beetles, ghouls, and damned souls But before you say that sounds unpleasant, never fear, brave reader, for Nifft has a world weary ironic wit that isthan a match for Cugel.Nifft the Lean consists of four connected novellas, mostly featuring Nifft and his companions Haldar or Barnar, strongly recalling that wonderful pair of rogues, Fritz Leiber s FAFHRD AND THE GREY MOUSER The stories have enticing titles like Come Then, Mortal We Will Seek Her Soul, The Pearls of the Vampire Queen, The Fishing of the Demon Sea, and The Goddess in Glass They are introduced by Shag Margold, a historian and Nifft s friend, but narrated by Nifft himself except the last story These adventures involve Nifft and his companion hoping to recover a valuable talisman, discovering a powerful sorceress or vampire goddess, getting in way over their heads, and finding ingenious and sometimes ruthless means to extricate themselves There are plenty of detours and exotic encounters, just like Cugel the Clever s tales.The language is very baroque, much like that of Vance, and his imagination when it comes to grotesque creatures and vivid physical descriptions is boundless The third story is like diving into Bosch s Garden of Earthly Delights for a long and extended trip into multiple netherworlds lit by demonic suns and populated with all forms of nightmare beings I hope to never encounter in dreams The final story centers on enormous metal devouring herd animals, a giant dead insect goddess sealed in glass, and attempts by various religious groups to use their powers for their own purposes It is one of the strangest stories I ve ever read, and really can t be described properly here, but I guarantee you won t forget it.I have wanted to read Nifft the Lean ever since I found it mentioned in David Pringle s Modern Fantasy The 100 Best Novels, and discovering it won the 1983 World Fantasy Award as well It always seemed like a neglected dark fantasy classic, much like its progenitor The Dying Earth I ve had the Daw 1982 paperback with the creepy Michael Whelan cover artwork for over two decades, but it was not till I checked Audible on a lark just in case, and there it was along with two later sequels I didn t even know about, narrated by John Morgan He certainly does his best to capture the whimsy, horror, and swashbuckling spirit of the story, which I highly recommend to fans of Vance or Leiber


  3. Malum Malum says:

    This is a collection of Sword and Sorcery tales that oweto Moorcock than Howard In any event, this is some of the best sword and sorcery fiction I have ever read Whenever I sit down to read some S S, this is what I am wanting to find and I am usually left wanting Bloodsucking vampires, mind bending demons, trips to hellish underworlds, black magicthis book has it all This is a collection of Sword and Sorcery tales that oweto Moorcock than Howard In any event, this is some of the best sword and sorcery fiction I have ever read Whenever I sit down to read some SS, this is what I am wanting to find and I am usually left wanting Bloodsucking vampires, mind bending demons, trips to hellish underworlds, black magicthis book has it all


  4. Scott Scott says:

    An exquisitely written aberration from the early 80s Lusty, dreamy sword and sorcery showing all the passion and thirst of Robert E Howard with aadvanced prose style Not much by way of character depth, but lushly beautiful conception and execution Deserves to be lovingly remembered along with the work of Howard, Leiber, and Vance.


  5. Jamie Jamie says:

    With Nifft the Lean, Michael Shea presents a dark vision of a dying Earth Two of the four tales have the feel of Journey to the Center of the Earth as if written by HP Lovecraft, with Nifft descending to an underworld teeming with eldritch landscapes and demons that are as uncanny as they are disturbing Shea s writing and style are masterful, with dense prose sometimes bordering on the baroque, yet sprinkled with wit As much as Shea is compared to Jack Vance, I found his writingvisceral With Nifft the Lean, Michael Shea presents a dark vision of a dying Earth Two of the four tales have the feel of Journey to the Center of the Earth as if written by HP Lovecraft, with Nifft descending to an underworld teeming with eldritch landscapes and demons that are as uncanny as they are disturbing Shea s writing and style are masterful, with dense prose sometimes bordering on the baroque, yet sprinkled with wit As much as Shea is compared to Jack Vance, I found his writingvisceral Whereas Vance keeps things moving swiftly in his The Dying Earth adventures, which can feel jaunty, Shea takes his time painting details of his landscapes, and the stories convey not so much adventures as harrowing journeys for survival rather than enrichment despite Nifft being a master thief Highly recommended to fans of dark and or sword sorcery fantasy


  6. Nomadman Nomadman says:

    I ordered this book a while back but only got round to reading it now It s a collection of four longish S S tales set in a far future dying Earth where science and magic have merged and demons aliens stalk the land At the start of the book Nifft, the titular character, is presumed dead, and the tales that follow are arranged as a sort of series of reminiscences by his good friend and chronicler Shag Margold In addition, each piece has an introduction giving a bit of background to the story I ordered this book a while back but only got round to reading it now It s a collection of four longish SS tales set in a far future dying Earth where science and magic have merged and demons aliens stalk the land At the start of the book Nifft, the titular character, is presumed dead, and the tales that follow are arranged as a sort of series of reminiscences by his good friend and chronicler Shag Margold In addition, each piece has an introduction giving a bit of background to the story that follows whilst the stories are narrated by Nifft, a self aggrandizing rogue with a flair for words and who, one suspects, cannot entirely be trusted to be telling the entire truth of his exploits This method of successive removes help the reader form an impression of added richness and depth to the world Stylistically and in general tone, Nifft the Lean reads like a mixture of Vance, Leiber, Moorcock and Clark Ashton Smith To say that Shea writes like an elaborate pasticheur, however, would be unfair These are fine tales, that can stand with the best in the genre Nifft himself is a marvellous storyteller, a not quite lovable rogue who relates his various thefts, rescues and daring crackpot schemes with a zeal and panache that s wonderfully entertaining and, sometimes, touching His world is a brutal one, but also filled with fascinating details, and much of the pleasure of these tales lies in simply savoring its wonders lying nestled amidst its horrors.As a writer, Shea has talent Like Leiber, he knows when to add little touches of realism to counterpoint the fantastic elements And like Vance, he knows when to temper his imagination to increase its potency In the wonderfully titled opening story, Come Then Mortal, We Will Seek Her Soul, Nifft and his companion embark on a literal descent into hell to reunite the soul of a witch with her lover in return for a key to a tower of untold riches It s a fantasmagoric ride through a horrific netherworld straight out of the mind of Hieronymus Bosch Yet the horrors are not merely visual but underline a particular moral or philosophical point The close of the tale is fitting and poignant.The second piece, Pearls of the Vampire Queen, is a littledown to earth, being a tale of a rather odd pearl hunting expedition in a marshland that s no less hellish than the setting of the first piece It s a stronger tale, however, due to the presence of an elegantly developed setting and a stronger cast of characters Shea creates an entire mini ecosystem here, as well as a culture revolving around vampire worship that s not only plausible within the confines of the setting but, perhaps, preferable as a system of rule compared to the despotic regimes otherwise in abundance The third story, Fishing on the Demon Sea, is by far the longest and most ambitious of the tales It s also my least favorite, however, being marred by some sloppy writing, plotting and unrealistic characterization Some, mind Arrested on trumped up charges whilst vacationing in a cattle town on the edge of nowhere, Nifft and his companion Barnar are forcibly coerced into rescuing a rich landowner s spoilt son, who has been taken to hell by an aquatic demon inhabiting the fabled Demon Sea This isor less a standard quest plot, and goes on for just a shade too long, though it includes some of Shea s most imaginative conceptions The fourth tale, The Goddess in Glass, returns Nifft to the world of men The city of Anvil Pastures is threatened by the imminent collapse of a nearby mountain after decades of careless mining have destabilised its foundations The city s goddess really a dead alien encased in a vast glass cage instructs the townsfolk via her oracle that the only way to deal with the threat is to retrieve a flock of her ancient cattle, giant, rock eating grubs that were lost centuries ago in a vast war that wiped out all trace of the aliens save the goddess herself Nifft is very much a background character in this one, and whilst the story itself isn t bad, it suffers from a slightly too detached feel which the other pieces all written in the first person lack.Even given these two relatively weaker pieces, the collection as a whole is a work of fine quality and well worth seeking out if you enjoy literate fantasy of the Leiber and Vance variety Shea wrote twobooks involving Nifft, The Mines of Behemoth and The A rak, the first of which was collected together with the tales I summarised above in The Incompleat Nifft


  7. Derek Derek says:

    Thoroughly satisfying I am definitely seeking out the rest of Shea s fantasy work.Nifft and his partner Barnar are true thieving professionals, and the stories come off as mostly planned heists by mutually trusted, reliable, and exceedingly competent partners, recalling the relationship between Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.Shea s unnamed world owes much to Jack Vance and the Dying Earth series, particularly Eyes of the Overworld Where Shea s follow on to Eyes, A Quest for Simbilis, felt constr Thoroughly satisfying I am definitely seeking out the rest of Shea s fantasy work.Nifft and his partner Barnar are true thieving professionals, and the stories come off as mostly planned heists by mutually trusted, reliable, and exceedingly competent partners, recalling the relationship between Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.Shea s unnamed world owes much to Jack Vance and the Dying Earth series, particularly Eyes of the Overworld Where Shea s follow on to Eyes, A Quest for Simbilis, felt constrained by an adherance to Vance s style, here he goes his own path in both characters and setting and it just feelsnatural.I wound up enjoying every part of this book Even the framing device, commentary by the scholar historian Shag Margold on the provenance and background of the various manuscripts, is entertaining in its own way, and it does smooth over or at least hang a lampshade on the different styles between the stories


  8. Michael Michael says:

    I wasn t expecting this book to be as good as it is Nifft the Lean, a thief of renown accompanied by fellow thief Barnar , steals things, insults morons, and goes to hell Very reminiscent of Fritz Leiber, in a good and not particularly derivative way Ugly and sensual Very entertaining, as though Michael Shea wrote a really, really good D D novel That is, better than any D D novel I wasn t expecting this book to be as good as it is Nifft the Lean, a thief of renown accompanied by fellow thief Barnar , steals things, insults morons, and goes to hell Very reminiscent of Fritz Leiber, in a good and not particularly derivative way Ugly and sensual Very entertaining, as though Michael Shea wrote a really, really good DD novel That is, better than any DD novel


  9. Aaron Singleton Aaron Singleton says:

    Nifft the Lean reads like a Vance Lovecraft Howard collaboration done in the late sixties Does that explain anything Michael Shea got his start writing a sequel to Vance s The Eyes of the Overworld, with Vance s kind permission He says that Vance told him If you can get it published, go right ahead Shea also offered Vance half of his advance and royalties on the book Vance politely refused, telling Shea he deserved the money and congratulations He did get it published, a book called A Nifft the Lean reads like a Vance Lovecraft Howard collaboration done in the late sixties Does that explain anything Michael Shea got his start writing a sequel to Vance s The Eyes of the Overworld, with Vance s kind permission He says that Vance told him If you can get it published, go right ahead Shea also offered Vance half of his advance and royalties on the book Vance politely refused, telling Shea he deserved the money and congratulations He did get it published, a book called A Quest for Simbilis.The book I m reviewing, Nifft the Lean, consists of several can t remember the exact number longish short stories featuring the title character and his partner, Barnar the Chilite The stories are every one great reads and Shea is a hell of a prose stylist, somewhere between Vance and Lovecraft bordering on purple, but in a GOOD way.These stories are rip roaring adventures, packed with a great setting and unforgettable characters Each story features a central problem or situation for Nifft to figure out Grotesque monsters and giant bugs, sea demons and a world beneath our own, magic and vampires, all in a fantasy setting much like the Dying Earth What s not to like Michael Shea has since become one of my favorite writers He hasn t written as many books as I d like, but all those he has written are top quality in every way Nifft is his most well known creation There are also two books after this one, which I ll review later.Great stuff here Recommended


  10. Radoslav Radoslav says:

    This is a real gem of sword and sorcery storytelling, I was pleasantly surprised It really deserves to bepopular and widely known Put it on your shelf next to Vance, Leiber, Moorcock, Howard and Wagner.Favorite story The Fishing of the Demon Sea.