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Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance
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Tales of the Dying Earth (2000)

by Jack Vance

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1,193266,721 (3.93)48
  1. 00
    Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg (LamontCranston)
  2. 00
    Hero of Dreams by Brian Lumley (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: Pleasing and sardonic stories of adventure, under the shadow of an expiring cosmos (the Earth for Vance, the dreamers for Lumley).
  3. 00
    Xiccarph by Clark Ashton Smith (Z-Ryan)
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» See also 48 mentions

English (24)  Dutch (1)  Greek (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
I've reviewed each book separately, which you can find here on Goodreads, or all together at FanLit's Jack Vance page. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
This really scared me at first. I had always heard it was great. Then I started listening to it. The narrator sounded kind of strange but it wasn't only him. The dialogue was so B movie, I just kept thinking this sounds like very 15-year-old role player trying to do serious role-playing. It was SOOOOO bad. I thought I might give up.

Then it started to grow on me and I think it got better too. THEN it got great. Vance has a vocabulary topped by none in the sci-fi field. He strings together 10 words you've never heard used before and the shocking thing is that you know what he meant at the end. It's not like Shakespeare where you're just left clueless and have to read it over 12 times to get 65% comprehension. This is the real deal.

I'm not saying that I would want all sci-fi fantasy to read like this but it's an incredible achievement that I would think even the most accomplished writers would have trouble duplicating.

The funny thing is that it really reminded me of the movie Heavy Metal. So if you wrote Heavy Metal as a novel this would be it. Even down to the "many short stories with a kind of common theme/setting". I do have a soft spot for the Heavy Metal movie (it had cartoon boobs, that may have been part of it).

Anyway, the moral of this story/review is: Don't give up. It gets better. Or at least it did for me. ( )
  ragwaine | Jan 12, 2014 |
Great fantasy, I love the Dying Earth, and its bizaare characters. ( )
  questbird | Oct 7, 2013 |
TBR
  Ebeth.Naylor | Sep 30, 2013 |
This collection of four books, sharing the same setting, appears on the famous-in-certain-circles "Appendix N": the "inspirational and educational reading" section of one of the early D&D rulebooks. (In fact, D&D's technique of spells needing to be memorised each day, then being forgotten when they are cast is known a "Vancian magic", after the author of this book). Vance mostly obliterates the line between antagonist and protagonist, so if you like to root for the main characters when you read, this probably isn't your book. Pretty much all the characters are selfish and, at best, kind of dickish, but still fascinating. Likewise, if you are looking for strong, or even slightly two-dimensional female characters, look elsewhere, as there are none to be found here.

The collection contains four books, written over wide timespan. The first of these, a collection of stories from 1950 clearly stands above the others, featuring a chain of characters, where a secondary character in one story becomes the main character of the next. The last (1984), also episodic, features the same cabal of characters and also shines. The center pair, which follow a single scumbag's misadventures, still entertain, but less strongly than the others.

All the characters in the last days of the earth speak in stylised language, which will have you saying things like "I do not care to listen; obloquy injures my self-esteem and I am skeptical of praise" for weeks after reading (though, I confess using my Kindle's dictionary lookup feature a lot while reading this one). This style, particularly the dialogue, make this book a delightful read, even when (especially when) all the characters are out to sabotage each other. ( )
  crop | Aug 8, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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The Dying Earth
Turjan sat in his workroom, legs sprawled out from the stool, back against and elbows on the bench.
The Eyes of the Overworld
On the heights above the River Xzan, at the site of certain ancient ruins, Iocounu the Laughing Magician had built a manse to his private taste: an eccentric structure of steep gables, balconies, sky-walks, cupolas, together with three spiral green glass towers through which the red sunlight shone in twisted glints and peculiar colors.
Cugel's Saga
Iocounu (known across Almery as 'the Laughing Magician') had worked one of his most mordant jokes upon Cugel.
Rhialto the Marvellous
These are the tales of the 21st Aeon, when Earth is old and the sun is about to go out.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Disambiguation notice
Dying Earth Band 1: Cugels Irrfahrten contains German translations of The Eyes of the Overworld (Cugel the Clever) and Cugel's Saga (Cugle: The Skybreak Spaterlight).

Band 1 (Vol. 1) in the title is misleading.
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Book description
Omnibus of the following novels:

The Dying Earth
The Eyes of the Overworld
Cugel's Saga
Rhialto the Marvellous
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312874561, Paperback)

Jack Vance is one of the most remarkable talents to ever grace the world of science fiction. His unique, stylish voice has been beloved by generations of readers. One of his enduring classics is his 1964 novel, The Dying Earth, and its sequels--a fascinating, baroque tale set on a far-future Earth, under a giant red sun that is soon to go out forever.

This omnibus volume comprised all four books in the series, The Dying Earth, The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga and Rialto the Magnificent. It is a must-read for every sf fan.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:34 -0400)

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