Fritz Leiber (1910 - 1992) was an American writer of fantasy, horror and science fiction, best known for his fantasy series Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser.
His other works include the contemporary fantasy novel Conjure Wife; the science fiction novel The Wanderer; and the Time Travel Change War series (including the novel The Big Time).
- Alternate History: Happens a lot in the Change War series.
- Army of the Ages: The premise of the Change War stories.
- Brown Note: "Rump-Titty-Titty-Tum-TAH-Tee" is about the discovery of a waltz rhythm that causes anyone who hears it to become maniacally obsessed with it, listen for other examples of it, and recreate it at every opportunity.
- Catgirl: The Wanderer has a Sexy Alien Catgirl from a Superior Species teach the hero about Sexy Catgirl Sex. It's notable that this is a Western novel from the 1960s.
- Ear Worm: An in-universe example is at the center of the story "Rump-Titty-Titty-Tum-TAH-Tee".
- FemBot: The robot population in "The Silver Eggheads" is divided into males and females because it turns out to be very beneficial to robotic mental health to be able to have sex -- robotic sex, which entails sharing power on the same circuit. They don't have to do this by an exacting emulation of human sex, but that's the way it works out culturally.
- Forever War: The Change War, a war of time travellers between "the Spiders" and "the Snakes." The two sides span galaxies and species as well as ages, and no one, at least no one the reader meets, knows what the war is about. Both sides are trying to redesign the history of the universe, but no one knows to what end, nor does the war appear to even have a history.
- Interspecies Romance: The Wanderer included romance with an off-world female from a feline race. Think serious scratches down the back.
- Laser Blade: The "rods of wrath" in Gather Darkness (1943) are possibly the Ur Example.
"Like two ancient swordsmen, then, the warlock and the deacon dueled together. Their weapons were two endless blades of violet incandescence, but their tactics were those of sabers -- feint, cut, parry, swift riposte."
- Merlin Sickness: In "The Man Who Never Grew Young", it happens to everyone -- except the immortal title character -- and history itself runs backwards.
- Necro Non Sequitur: "Try and Change the Past", in which a Time Soldier tries to use his tools to prevent his own past death. (Time Soldiers are recruited just before the moment of their death, but -- for handwaved reasons -- remember dying.) He goes back and prevents himself from being shot, only to see his past self, with a look of despair, pick up the gun and shoot himself. So he goes back again and disables the gun -- only to see his past self hit by a bullet-sized meteorite in exactly the same place the bullet struck in the previous two deaths. At which point he understandably gives up.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: All human chess players in "The Sixty-Four Square Madhouse" are plays off the names of grandmasters active at the time (e.g. William Angler for Robert Fischer, Vasilly Krakatower for Savielly Tartakower, etc.).
- Non-Linear Character: The title character in The Dealings of Daniel Kesserich gains this ability as a side effect of messing with time travel.
- Ontological Inertia: Codified in the Change War series as the Law of Reality Conservation -- "Anything in existence will continue to exist until a sufficient force acts against it."
- Pick Your Human Half: The Silver Eggheads has Miss Willow, a "femiquin" (robot prostitute) who looks but doesn't act human, and the robot lovers Zane Gort and Miss Phyllis Blushes, who act but don't look human. The dichotomy is rationalized by Zane, who tells the human hero that, if you tried to cram all the AI circuitry of a real robot like himself into the same chassis with all the human-mimicry devices of a femiquin, the result would have to be 10 feet high or as fat as a circus fat lady.
- Recursive Adaptation: Leiber adapted Tarzan and the City of Gold starring Mike Henry into a prose Tarzan novel. He took pains to footnote past Tarzan adventures by Edgar Rice Burroughs to make this a canonical continuation of the Tarzan continuity of Burroughs.
- Robot Names: The Silver Eggheads has multiple examples.
- Time Travel: Especially in the Change War series.
- Women's Mysteries: Conjure Wife relates a college professor's discovery that his wife (and all other women) are regularly using magic against one another and their husbands. The story is set in the real world around the idea that women practice magic but not only keep it secret from all men but almost from themselves, as they just act as if it really isn't anything important but just superstitious meaningless acts, like not walking under a ladder.
- Zeppelins from Another World: Catch That Zeppelin! is about an alternate universe where things turned out (mostly) much better than our own, and includes the subtrope of zeppelins docking at the Empire State building, where a Real Life mooring mast was considered. Needless to say, they didn't use hydrogen to lift them.