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The Dying Earth by Jack Vance

The Dying Earth (original 1950; edition 1972)

by Jack Vance

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956209,073 (3.85)1 / 21
Title:The Dying Earth
Authors:Jack Vance
Info:Grafton (1972), Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Dying Earth by Jack Vance (1950)



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English (17)  Finnish (2)  Italian (1)  All (20)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Set far into the future where the sun is dim red and dying. The great civilizations on Earth have decayed. The human population is thin and scattered.
“There is evil on Earth now, evil distilled by time.”

There are six slightly interconnected stories in this work. We see wizards and sorcerer’s searching for knowledge. Humans grown in vats. Small green men called twk-men riding dragonflies and trading information for salt.

I loved these strange, fantastic stories with dark undertones. I loved the lush, Beautiful prose with evocative imagery. These stories can be silly and disturbing at the same time. The underlying melancholy for the lost past makes it more beautiful.

“There is your home; there is Saponce. Do you wish to return?”

She shook her head. ”Together we have looked through the eyes of knowledge. We have seen old Thorsingol, and the Sherit Empire before it, and Golwan Andra before that and the Forty Kades even before. We have seen the warlike green-men, and the knowledgeable Pharials and the Clambs who departed Earth for the stars, as did the Merioneth before them and the Gray Sorcerers still earlier. We have seen oceans rise and fall, the mountains crust up, peak and melt in the beat of rain; we have looked on the sun when it glowed hot and full and yellow…No, Guyal, there is no place for me at Saponce…”

Guyal, leaning back on the weathered pillar, looked up to the stars. “Knowledge is ours, Shierl—all of knowing to our call. And what shall we do?”

( )
  kasyapa | Oct 9, 2017 |
What a ' role playing games ' should always have looked like

Merged review:

In the future - everyone is a complete paranoid asshole nutcase ( )
  Baku-X | Jan 10, 2017 |
Meh, what on earth?

I went into the book expecting to like it, and it is nice and short, but after a good start it just went downhill for me. The first couple of stories about a wizard and two identical girls created by magic are great, but the subsequent stories just bored me. The prose is nice and elegant but sometime the extreme eloquence just leave me floundering. Also, in this cynical day and age the Abracadabra! (not to be confused with the more lethal Avada Kedavra) kind of unsystematic magic just does not cut it for me any more. My fault I guess, I just can not suspend disbelief when a wizard simply speaks some words (wiggling fingers optional) and POOF! Lo and behold! Something materialize / dematerialize / turns into a frog.

I do not doubt that Jack Vance is a great writer and his prose is beautiful but this book is not my bag. I remember reading the first Lyonesse book and liking it so I think I will reread that instead of trying any more Dying Earth books. I respect The Dying Earth, but we are just not meant to be together. ( )
1 vote apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
A collection of stories with some overlap of characters and places. Vance weaves stories that will transport and captivate your imagination. His characters are complex and at times original. Many of his plots follow a Dunsany pattern, but with his own stamp of mystery.
A great book of classic fantasy that I am happy to discover, but sad to have overlooked for so many years. ( )
1 vote wvlibrarydude | Sep 6, 2015 |
Couldn't finish it. Got halfway through and had had enough. The stories were arranged in an order that was all over the place. The characters caricatures. The dying Earth itself didn't play much part in the parts I red, wich is not want I was after. This was not the book for me. ( )
  StaticBlaq | Apr 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Vanceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barr, GeorgeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emshwiller, EdCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foss, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Poyser, VictoriaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the Vance Integral Edition "The Dying Earth" was retitled as "Mazirian the Magician".  But do not combine with "Mazirian the Magician" the short story.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0583120911, Paperback)

The setting is in an age millions of years into the future of Earth, decades before the Sun goes Red Dwarf to wipe us all out. Humanity is almost extinct, and in an age where science and sorcery are interchangeable, powerful wizards try to recreate people using alchemy and chemical cloning vats. Most of their experiments create short-lived monsters. After one experiment fails spectacularly, a leading mage summons aid from another, for which he has to perform various near impossible magical tasks. This other magus has already failed to create a perfect woman, leaving his creation free to wander the World, though she is incapable of seeing or understanding what is beautiful. She tries to destroy every living thing, flowers and wizards alike. Together, the magicians, one of who is never seen by the other, create a twin of the hate-filled woman, and she is perfectly formed. She is even able to subdue her sister-clone's passion for destruction. T'sais, the woman filled with hate, embarks on a quest to find love and beauty in he dying World, finding both love and hate on her quest. In another thread, a wayfarer, who rashly tries to use it to gain a woman's love, finds a powerful amulet carelessly discarded by one of the magicians. He finds himself pursed relentlessly by the unstoppable and terrifying, if aptly named Chun The Unavoidable. Two other characters embark on a quest to find a library that holds the sum of all human knowledge, a place guarded and threatened by demonic ghosts. They find themselves assigned to protect it until the end of the World, which they know to be soon, but they value the work well enough to standby their duty.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:35 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Travel into the future: to an Earth with a dwindling red sun that meekly fills a dark blue sky; an Earth that is on the brink of dying out; an Earth where science and magic mean the same thing; an Earth populated with vibrant, interesting people and creatures that are unaware of the fate their planet has in store for them.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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