4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
6 little masterpieces, all in a row,
This review is from: Elak of Atlantis (Planet Stories) (Paperback)
Henry Kuttner was one of the fathers of pulp in the 30's and 40's. This 220-odd page book is a collection of 4 Elak tales, and two of Prince Raynor. Both characters are great fun, and for me Elak's drunken offsider Lygon steals most of his scenes.
In addition to Elak (which is in fact not his real name - there is some real depth to the characters if you look a little deeply) and Lygon, there are pretty girls, a pyromaniacal druid, and horrors both of this world and other worlds.
The tales are told with humor and full of derring-do. Its also a pleasant change to read a collection of short stories rather than a never-ending multi-volume fantasy.
Prince Raynor also makes an appearance, with the style of these stories clearly reflecting the Conan stories published in Weird Tales earlier in the decade. Once again there is an offsider (a giant, somewhat pessimistic nubian) and a pretty girl (the same one) across two linked stories.
The characterisation of the antagonist of the first Raynor tale is superb: in a few lines of dialogue we gain a glimpse of a irredeemably tortured soul wishing for redemption, but knowing it is out of reach.
These are forgotten masterworks, fantasy from before Lord of the Rings defined the genre, and well worth a read.