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Our Lady of Darkness

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,136 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Fritz Leiber (1910-1992) may be best known as a fantasy writer, but he published widely and successfully in the horror and science fiction fields. His fiction won the Hugo, Nebula, Derleth, Gandalf, Lovecraft, and World Fantasy Awards, and he was honored with the Life Achievement Lovecraft Award and the Grand Master Nebula Award. One of his best novels is the classic dark ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by Orb Books (first published 1977)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,778)
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Bill  Kerwin
Jul 06, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing

Although I love Conjure Wife more, I think this just might be Leiber's best novel of terror. It displays many intriguing elements: a candid self-portrait for its protagonist (aging widower and novelist of the supernatural “Franz Westen,” a recovering alcoholic afraid of commitment), an evocative mid-70's San Francisco setting so detailed and precise that walking tours have been based on it, affectionate homages to both the traditional English ghost story and Weird Tales (a specter which evokes M
...more
Marvin
Jun 15, 2012 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autographed, horror
Our Lady of Darkness is a horror novel for intellectuals. While Fritz Leiber started out as a pulp writer of Lovecraftian tales and sword-and-sorcery fantasy, his later writings delved in philosophical searching often of an intimate nature. This novel may be his best horror novel although most readers could argue that the best is really his early urban fantasy work, Conjure Wife Yet Our Lady of Darkness works on many levels. The basis premise is that pulp writer Franz Westen, a thinly disguised ...more
Jack Tripper
Fritz Leiber, despite being more widely known today for his award-winning science fiction and the sword and sorcery tales starring Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, was also one of the most original and most important horror authors in the history of the genre. His short stories from the 40's, such as "Smoke Ghost," "The Dreams of Albert Moreland," and "The Girl with the Hungry Eyes" -- along with his classic 1943 novel, Conjure Wife -- were groundbreaking, and cemented his status as the most influent ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
In this story, Leiber demonstrates an incredible knowledge base about dark and supernatural fiction, going back into the 19th and early 20th century. He writes this story in the style of Lovecraft, or should I say Machen, since he wrote The Great God Pan long before Lovecraft, in which the unknown menace is slowly being revealed to the protagonist. This is a knowledge too terrible to behold. Many have been damaged and have succumbed to it in the past.

I liked the nod and the reference to all thos
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Whereas I liked Conjure Wife, I found this book all but impossible to get into. There was a time when I made myself complete books I'd started, but I finally came to a point where I decided that there are only so many hours in a life that can be given to reading. So I put this one down. I'm sorry in that I've really liked Leiber's work in the past.

To bad really. Try for yourself obviously some do like it, but not me. This is a more complex book than Conjure Wife founded on a "fantasy magical sci
...more
Ann Schwader
May 16, 2012 Ann Schwader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovecraftians, fans of Clark Ashton Smith
Shelves: horror
Disclaimer: this is very much a YMMV review. Unless you are a fan of H.P. Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith, or interested in that circle of writers, this elegant dark fantasy might only come in at 4 stars for you. It is not "Mythos," but it does involve the life of Clark Ashton Smith (in possibly fictional detail) & refers more than once to Lovecraft & his works.

Our Lady of Darkness is an atmospheric, tightly written tale of curses, haunting, occult texts, & mystery. Although set in
...more
Jean-marcel
Apr 17, 2012 Jean-marcel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm so glad that I finally read this. I feel a strong connection with Leiber and his writing and I would like to collect all of this man's work. This book is a sort of modern, urban ghost story, like a really cool crossbreed of m. R. james, H. P. Lovecraft and existential pain. It's about the energy that builds up inside the conduits, tunnels, skyscrapers and buzzing antennae of huge cities and how that energy can be harnessed. Clark Ashton Smith is almost a character in this book, by way of a d ...more
Kitty


I want to make it perfectly clear that this is all. Neil. Gaiman's. fault.

Awhile ago, I came across a list of Gaiman's favorite books and this was on it. What the hey, I said. I'll take a stab at that! Well, stab taken, and it's a good thing that I wasn't planing on sleeping any time soon. Wow, wow, wow - it's been awhile since a book creeped me out this badly!

Recovering alcoholic, horror writer Franz Westen has a particularly soft spot in his heart for San Fransisco's quirky history - especiall
...more
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Fritz Leiber dips into the lore and literature of the weird tale and Megapolisomancy, the pseudoscience of haunted cities, using an array of texts and lore from Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and other weird pulp writers, in addition to dark occult societies to produce a novel that, if not particularly scary, is absorbing. Leiber's style in delivering this novel is more Ramsey Campbell, then HP Lovecraft or CA Smith.

A former alcoholic pulp writer, Franz Westen, living in San Francisco, finds a se
...more
Andy
Apr 28, 2013 Andy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the most disappointing reads I've ever endured. I love Leiber, he's one of my favorite authors and I spent six years trolling the bins at used bookstores for his material, which is why I thought it a great coup when for the first time ever I spotted this book and mistook it for a lost gem. It tried for a Salem's Lot style horror-in-a-prosaic setting, this time modern (mid 70's) San Francisco and it tosses in a Lovecraftian element with a book of forbidden knowledge that opens up ...more
Andrew
Oct 18, 2015 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book edition for some reason is not shown here on GR but is the 1978 version with a very distinctive cover. This cover I will admit is what first caught my attention as at the time I didn't really know much about Fritz Leiber - just that he was cited as being one of the grand masters of science fiction and that he had contributed so much to the genre.

How wrong I was - not for the contribution but to how great it was. He wrote for many genres often crossing the boundaries (if there were reall
...more
ᴏᴍᴀɪʀᴀ
Dec 25, 2015 ᴏᴍᴀɪʀᴀ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weirdfi, en-digital
No voy a empezar la reseña alabando al señor Leiber porque sinceramente, después de leer esta “novela”, considero que no tengo la más mínima obligación de elogiar sus trabajos y mucho menos sus logros. Intento no sentir nada y analizarlo todo objetivamente pero no puedo. Este señor ha traspasado la línea y me ha ofendido. Y no hay punto de retorno en esta mierda.

¿Qué es Nuestra señora de las Tinieblas? Pues no lo sé, sinceramente no hay una historia, hay un montón de reflexiones que no llevan a
...more
Lee Broderick
Jan 03, 2016 Lee Broderick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently revisited 100 Must-Read Fantasy Novels . In one of his lists, Nick Rennison recommends Our Lady of Darkness as a 'Dark Fantasy'. It turns out it also won the World Fantasy Award, among others, in 1978. I enjoyed Leiber's Lankhmar books so I was pleasantly surprised and intrigued. I had thought that his other books were horror but perhaps I was wrong?

Well, as it turns out, no. 'Science-Fiction and Fantasy' often get lumped together by publishers and by large segments of the public. Th
...more
Jason
Jul 26, 2014 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the horror novels that'll get under your skin. It's got no serial killers in it (at least no living ones; the jury's still out on a non-living one), no gruesome deaths, no blood and gore, almost none of the stuff you might think of when you think of a horror novel. But it's one of the better ones I've read, and that's saying something.

The tone is highly realistic. Franz, the main character, sits in his buddy's apartment two floors down, late into the evening, discussing the legali
...more
Patrizia
Aug 31, 2012 Patrizia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just reread Our Lady of Darkness for -- what? Like the 20th time?

I like this book a lot. It's kind of like a bibliological waystation. When I reread it, I remember a little bit about my life from the last time I reread it. Otherwise, I'd hardly remember anything about my life at all.

Leiber’s central conceit is a Big Bad called megapolisomancy, which uses the geometries and features of large cities to summon malevolent creatures called paramentals. San Francisco’s various landmarks are the most
...more
Perry Lake
May 21, 2015 Perry Lake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Perry by: Mike Humbert
This popped up on someone's list and I thought I should give it a long-overdue review.
It's a great horror story but it's also a window onto the late 70s, showing us, reminding us of that half-forgotten era. "Lady" is worth a read just for that.
It's also genuinely scary in several places. The best horror is the horror most tightly rooted in the real, the believable. And I know the locations are real because I visited them! Check out this article I wrote a few years back, relating my investigation
...more
Dagny
Sep 22, 2012 Dagny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could have given this book five stars for all the references to authors, books, short stories, even illustrators. Fun reading for me as always.

There were some parts I didn't care for, although some of them played into the resolution, surely not all of them though. I also thought the ending was a bit weak, but I might not have been totally into all the phases because at that point I was reading very fast, probably too fast to assimilate the various aspects; it was quite a breathless race to the
...more
C McDaniel
This is technically a 2.75/2.8ish rating for me. That might be nit-picking, but it's how I feel after finishing the novel. Despite (still) being a work I think any Mythos and/or Lovecraft fan should read and one that **is** Lovecraftian in (so) many respects, it barely held my interest--and it reminded me why I've always loved Lovecraftian Weird much more in its short form rather than its long.

Along those lines, I've skimmed a few pieces online that do not count it as part of the Mythos. I susp
...more
George
Mar 14, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Έχω όλα τα βιβλία του Λάιμπερ που έχουν μεταφραστεί στα ελληνικά (δεν είναι και πολλά, δυστυχώς, μόλις έξι συν σκόρπιες ιστορίες εδώ και κει), αλλά αυτό είναι μόλις το πρώτο που διαβάζω. Συνδυάζει στοιχεία urban fantasy και τρόμου και αυτός ο συνδυασμός μου άρεσε πολύ.

Σίγουρα το βιβλίο δεν είναι για όλα τα γούστα, υπάρχει αρκετό μπλα μπλα και οι χαρακτηριστικές σκηνές όπου υπάρχει δράση δεν είναι ιδιαίτερα πολλές, αλλά σίγουρα η όλη ατμόσφαιρα είναι σκοτεινή και υπάρχουν σκηνές (ειδικά στο τέλο
...more
Loren
Feb 02, 2012 Loren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
From ISawLightningFall.com

I'll admit it: Sometimes I'm a bad book reviewer. In Picked Up Pieces, literary icon John Updike urged critics to not let their personal ideologies or prior opinions color their comments on a title. I try to do this, I really do. But occasionally I catch myself importing prejudices before I've even finished a novel. Consider what happened when I picked up Fritz Lieber's supernatural thriller Our Lady of Darkness. Lieber has a reputation as a godfather of speculative fic
...more
Sarah Sammis
Jun 08, 2007 Sarah Sammis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: released
Written originally in 1978 after fighting depression and alcoholism after the death of his wife this book takes a very dark view of magic. Whereas The Conjure Wife could take place in any college town, Our Lady of Darkness is set specifically in San Francisco.

The novel supposes that modern magic, specifically black magic is tied to the building of large cities. San Francisco with its hills, history of earthquakes and of course the Transamerica pyramid is a 20th century necropolis.

Take then a ske
...more
Carla Remy
May 01, 2016 Carla Remy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Horrific atmosphere in a gentle nightmare world. When I got to the end, I was pretty sure it was symbolic not literal. Like a dream...
As much is taken here from De Quincey's Three Sisters concept ("Our Ladies of Sorrow") as in Dario Argento's three movies (of declining quality). Yet this book was published in 1977, and the film Suspiria is also from 1977. So... zeitgeist or coincidence?
I love that the main character writes novelizations for a TV show called "Weird Underground."
Daniel Ausente
Jul 12, 2014 Daniel Ausente rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tras una relectura subo de 4 a 5 la puntuación porque es maravillosa. Lieber se pasó un lustro borracho por la muerte de su esposa y acabó convirtiendo el paisaje urbano que veía por la ventana de su apartamento en la base de una de las novelas de terror más originales y avanzadas jamás escrita. Enriquecida por la presencia de secundarios como Jack London, Ambrose Bierce, Dashiel Hammett o Clark Ashton SMith entre mucho otros a los que se cita o menciona. No diré que es la precursora de ese tipo ...more
David
Mar 17, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The thing I liked about OLOD was, I really didn't see the horror coming. It starts out a happy-go-lucky story of a horror-writer living in SF, meeting all his friends, and then a strange occurrence. And another, but it's more weird than frightening at first. And the levels of dread rise, subtly, until the moment I realized just how dark things had gotten, and then the horror spiraled down quickly. Very well done.
Μιτς Γιωτίξ
Nothing too epic or too "young adult-y"; just some old school post modern "urban" fantasy. I'd describe it as science fiction but Leiber talks abou occultism and how this can be applied in our post modern setting instead of aliens, science, spacecraft etc. I liked it mainly because it was so... simple. Nothing fancy or extremely mind-boggling. Just some good, entertaining literature.
Andy
Dec 07, 2015 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that have been on my TBR pile for years. I was thoroughly impressed by Leiber's collection "Horrible Imaginings" for it's range of themes and originality. This is a sort of cult horror novel favorite, probably not for everyone, certainly not for casual readers.

In brief, the plot focuses on Franz Westen who discovers two old books -- one the work of a possible crackpot occultist Thibault de Castries titled Megapolisomancy on how to harness the psychic forces of cities.
...more
Miles Zarathustra
Feb 08, 2014 Miles Zarathustra rated it liked it
Another bizarre find ... I enjoyed it because I'm planning to spend some time in San Francisco, and the city is almost like a character in the book. Some good (human) characterizations, and fun macabre elements, and a decent if thin plot line. The main character is clearly a fictionalization of the author, who indeed lived at 811 Geary for a while.

Unfortunately, the narrative weighed down by a seemingly endless array of dry historical and literary references, of which it is difficult to separate
...more
Richard
Jun 23, 2014 Richard rated it really liked it
Recommended to Richard by: Possibly Annalee Newitz of io9.com
I have no recollection of how this book ended up on my to-be-read short list. I suspect my interest in all things San Francisco found it for me —I love the city I call home.

I picked up the book because it was on my list. I thought at the time, very vaguely, that Fritz Leiber might have been the author of that famous science fiction classic about the jewish engineer who is sainted after World War III. Hah! No, that was Leibowitz, and he was the titular character, not the author.

Our Lady of Darkn
...more
Matthias Ferber
Fritz Lieber's novel of city magic, Our Lady of Darkness, is a classic in this regard. He invents the term megalopolisomancy - the magic of big cities - to describe a strange hex that has been cast on the entire city of San Francisco. A mystical triangle emerges when the Transamerica Pyramid is erected, forming the dark symbol with the toothy peak at Corona Heights and the apartment of a sorcerer. (io9.com, http://io9.com/5359282/megalopolisoma...)
Jeanie
Since I love reading all things San Francisco, fiction and nonfiction, I tried to reserve it at the San Francisco Public Library and was surprised they didn't have it, since the public library does carry a lot of San Francisco-based fiction.

So I ordered it through my local bookstore (not through Amazon, thank you, but I digress...). The main character in the book at one point steals an old city directory (reference book) from the San Francisco Public Library. I'm convinced that's why the SF pub
...more
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23001
Fritz Reuter Leiber, Jr. was one of the more interesting of the young writers who came into HP Lovecraft's orbit, and some of his best early short fiction is horror rather than sf or fantasy. He found his mature voice early in the first of the sword-and-sorcery adventures featuring the large sensitive barbarian Fafhrd and the small street-smart-ish Gray Mouser; he returned to this series at variou ...more
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