October 24, 2021
So, after a quick visit to Thriftbooks online, I ordered the first two of the World’s End series. I’ve read the first, Warrior of World’s End, and have plunged into the second, The Enchantress of World’s End. Will I purchase the rest? Read on and see.
As I’ve only read one installment, I’ll mostly limit my comments to it.
Warrior of World’s End features one of Carter’s super men and demigods as its lead. Ganelon Silvermane is cast from the same mold as Amalric the mangod (see Flashing Swords #1 and #3 ). These heroes are more Hercules than Conan, superhuman rather than merely human. The adventures are set in the far distant future, one in which the continents have once again blended into a single super-continent, Gondwane. The book seems to be the result of Carter binging on Jack Vance’s Dying Earth stories (though Cugel’s Saga and Rhialto the Marvelous hadn’t yet been published), while lying atop a bed of silver age comic books.
And it is delirious, silly fun. Carter has always been an excellent mimic, particularly of Lord Dunsany. Here he does a fine Vance, so long as that aspect holds his interest. The later chapters read as if Carter is making it up as he goes and having a delightful time doing so, only occasionally recalling that he began the story as an homage to Vance. There’s an everything and the kitchen sink feel about it, that I think is what drew Gygax to the series. Anything goes: mighty-thewed warriors, mechanical, anti-gravity powered sentient metal birds, aliens from Canopus, ghosts, floating islands with electronic, oxygen sucking death rays, all manner of quasi-, demi-, and pseudo-humans, lady knights clad in impractical yet sexy armor, extra-dimensional lobster creatures, etc. Gonzo stuff.
The second book seems to have dispensed with the Vance pastiche. No footnotes so far, though I’m only a few chapters in. But it promises much of the same popcorn fantasy adventure.
So, yes, I’m in for the duration. I’ll put in my order for the remaining books.