Lin Carter’s Simrana Cycle

Lin Carter’s Simrana Cycle

Edited and with an introduction by Robert M. Price

Lin Carter, enthralled by the “Dreamland” tales of Lord Dunsany and others, contributed to the growing genre with a series of his own stories, dubbed “The Simrana Tales.” Some of them were published in a variety of small-press magazines and other publications, but they were never collected into a book, and many tales have never been published at all.
Until now.

As Carter himself commented in his afterword to Lord Dunsany’s Beyond the Fields We Know (Ballantine), “The most Dunsanian of my fiction is the Simrana series … the name was coined many years ago and lay in my notebooks awaiting the right kind of story to occur to me.” A complete collection of his Simrana tales could hardly be called complete without including the stories that inspired him to write them in the first place: Lord Dunsany’s masterpieces of fantasy.

Thanks to Bob Price, we are proud to be able to bring out, for the first time, the complete Simrana Cycle, accompanied by outstanding stories in the genre including Dunsany’s own “The Sword of Welleran” and others; Henry Kuttner’s 1937 Weird Tales gem “The Jest of Droom-avista,” and new stories by leading authors in the field: Gary Myers, Darrell Schweitzer, Adrian Cole, Charles Garofalo, and Glynn Barrass. Thanks to J. David Spurlock and Barry Klugerman, the book also features a series of six ink drawings by Roy G. Krenkel, originally done for the publication of Carter’s “The Gods of Neol Shendis” in AMRA No. 41.

The fantastic tales of Dunsany and his compatriots were snapped up by avid readers of Weird Tales over half a century ago, taking root in the imaginations of authors and artists who continue to craft new myths and tales today.
Here’s your invitation to a world of fantasy and fable that is as alluring and thriving today as it was in the heyday of Weird Tales!

The book features a commissioned cover by Stephen Hickman, master of delicate and colorful fantasies.


Contents

  • Lin Carter
    Introduction
    The Gods of Nion Parma
    The Whelming of Oom
    Zingazar
    How Sargoth Lay Siege to Zaremm
    The Laughter of Han
    The Benevolence of Yib
    How Ghuth Would Have Hunted the Silth
    The Thievery of Yish
    How Her Doom Came Down at Last on Adrazoon
    How Jal Set Forth on his Journeying
    The Gods of Neol Shendis
  • Lin Carter & Robert M. Price
    How Shand Became King of Thieves
  • Lin Carter & Glynn Owen Barrass
    Caolin the Conjurer (Or, Dzimdazoul)
  • Darrell Schweitzer
    The Philosopher Thief
  • Gary Myers
    The Sorcerer’s Satchel
  • Adrian Cole
    An Unfamiliar Familiar
    The Summoning of a Genie in Error
  • Charles Garofalo
    The Sad but Instructive Fable of Mangroth’s Tomes
    How Frindolf Got his Fill of Revenge
  • Robert M. Price
    The Devil’s Mine
    The Good Simranatan
    How Thongor Conquered Zaremm
  • Lord Dunsany
    The River
    The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth
    The Sword of Welleran
    Carcassonne
    How Nuth Would Have Practiced His Art Upon the Gnoles
    The Distressing Tale of Thangobrind the Jeweller, and of the Doom That Befel Him
    In Zaccarath
    How the Enemy Came to Thlunrana
  • Henry Kuttner
    The Jest of Droom Avista

Reviews

  • Lin Carter’s tales herein are not just pastiches of Lord Dunsany’s work. That’s like saying the best of the current weird fiction writers working today are just doing pastiches of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. … Simply put, if you are a fan of fantasy that dabbles in the weird, you owe it to yourself to acquaint yourself with Mr. Carter and his stories. Now, thanks to this book, that is easier than ever.
    Brian M. Sammons, Hellnotes

Available now in several editions:

One thought on “Lin Carter’s Simrana Cycle

  1. elipsett Post author

    Review by contributing author Gary Myers
    ===================
    LIN CARTER’S SIMRANA CYCLE

    Lin Carter (1930-1988), an accomplished fantasist in his own right, probably did his most important work editing the fantasies of others. Under his guidance, the old Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series infused new life into writers like Lord Dunsany, James Branch Cabell, Hope Mirrlees and Clark Ashton Smith, all at a time when one could reasonably expect their literary careers to be over. With the present book, editor Robert M. Price performs the same service for Carter himself.

    The book is built, as the title suggests, around Lin Carter’s stories of Simrana the Dreamworld, stories written under the heady influence of the early tales of Lord Dunsany. The book falls easily into three parts, with each part comprising about a third of the whole. It begins with the complete Carter cycle, the Simrana stories written by Carter or, in a couple of cases, begun by him and completed by later writers after his death. It continues with a collection of stories written in tribute to Carter and Simrana by later writers. It ends with a selection of some classic stories, all but one by Dunsany, that influenced Carter’s Simrana work.

    Readers of Dr. Price’s other Cycle anthologies will have noticed that this structure subverts his usual plan. Where earlier books trace the literary geneology of a story or theme from a parent work down through some of its more important children, this book starts with one of those children and only later works back to the parent. It is easy to see why Price had to do this. Even today, a hundred years and more since he wrote his earliest and most influential fantasies, Dunsany still stands tall enough to overshadow any and all of his imitators. Price could not give him primacy of place in the book without throwing the book out of balance, without changing its emphasis as well as its title to Lord Dunsany’s Pegana Cycle. Nor is that all. Of all Dunsany’s imitators, Lin Carter is the most faithful to his model, faithful to a fault. It would serve him ill to have his imitations placed too close behind the originals they imitate. It does not serve him all that well to have them placed together in the same book.

    But we must not make too much of this. Carter’s pastiches are charming in themselves, the tribute stories accompanying them are as imaginative as one could wish, and the selections of classic Dunsany make a very nice introduction to the form. The book is as much a celebration of Dunsany and Dunsanianism as it is a tribute to Carter and Simrana. Not everyone cares for this kind of thing, but we who do tend to love it. If you love it too, you can do worse than give this book a try.

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