Fritz Leiber (1910-1992) is best known as the creator of the popular heroic-fantasy duo, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, but his accomplishments, far more diverse than this suggests, have been strongly influenced not only by fantasy but also by science fiction and horror. His fiction has won the Hugo, Nebula, Derleth, Gandalf, Lovecraft, and World Fantasy Awards, and he has been honored with the Life Achievement Lovecraft Award and the Grand Master Nebula Award. Two of his best novels are the classic dark fantasies Conjure Wife (in 1943 filmed as Weird Woman and Burn Witch Burn) and Our Lady of Darkness (1978 winner of the World Fantasy Award), available in a single volume as Dark Ladies.
In Conjure Wife, Professor Norman Saylor, ethnologist and rationalist, is enjoying rapid career advancement and a happy marriage until the day he discovers that his wife, Tansy, is a witch. When Norm reminds her that magic is baseless superstition, she destroys her charms and protections--and Norm finds his career disintegrating and himself and his wife in dangers he'd once thought impossible.
Our Lady of Darkness introduces San Francisco horror writer Franz Westen. While studying his beloved city by binoculars from his apartment window, he is astonished to see a mysterious figure waving at him from a hilltop two miles away. He walks to Corona Heights and looks back at his building, to discover the figure waving at him from his apartment window--and to find himself caught in a century-spanning curse that may have destroyed Clark Ashton Smith and Jack London. --Cynthia Ward