Tales of the Dying Earth
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Tales of the Dying Earth

4.14 (3,922 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 752 pages
  • 137.16 x 208.28 x 40.64mm | 544.31g
  • St Martin's Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Orb.
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0312874561
  • 9780312874568
  • 52,318

Review quote

-Vance is the greatest living SF writer. His work continues to exhibit imagination, originality, and style, three things sadly lacking in 95% of the SF being published nowadays.- --George R. R. Martin -You can't possibly pass up any book by Jack Vance . . . He has perfected the trick of creating new worlds so deceptively real that after a while your own home seems imaginary.- --Jerry Pournelle -There is a flavor to [Vance's] work that you can't find elsewhere, an underlying current of good humor and quick-wittedness that makes you reluctant to turn that last page and return to a far less interesting reality.- --Science Fiction Chronicle -Vance has virtually no peer when it comes to creating sophisticated yet decadent worlds.- --Starlog -Vance demonstrates his talent for creating exotic and sometimes bizarre cultures that offer ironic commentary on the excesses and foibles of human society. The author's arch prose and dry humor have won him an avid following.- --Library Journal -The works of Jack Vance have boasted an ardent following for the past four decades, and his newest should be cause for rejoicing among the faithful. The remarkable high consistency of Vance's poetic writing, coupled with his extraordinary visions of exotic planets, is one of the treasures of speculative fiction.- --Washington Post Book Worldshow more

About Jack Vance

Jack Vance is one of the greats of science fiction. He has been writing for more than 60 years, and in 1997 was honored as a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. He is the author of dozens of science fiction and fantasy novels, including the World Fantasy Award winning Lyonnesse series, and the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning The Last Castle. He lives in Oakland, California.show more

Rating details

3,922 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 45% (1,782)
4 33% (1,282)
3 15% (589)
2 5% (200)
1 2% (69)

Our customer reviews

"Tales of the Dying Earth" is a collection of 4 novels written over 35 years - "The Dying Earth" (1950), "The Eyes of the Overworld" (1966), "Cugel's Saga" (1983) and "Rhialto the Marvellous" (1984). All are set in the far future as the sun flickers and dies, with magicians, lost marvels, time travel and trickery. The Dying Earth is a succession of linked short stories, with the protangonist of story A becoming a bit player in story B, and so on. The chapters cover the adventures of Turjan, Mazirian, the "sisters" T'sain and T'sais, Liane the Wayfarer - and the unforgettable Chun the unavoidable. The real jewel of the collection - although this is to distinguish Miss Universe from the mere runners-up - is the centre novels Overworld and Saga, both of which deal with Cujel the Clever (admittedly self-titled) who is not so clever after all, as a rule. Cujel is a thief, swindler, rogue, and rake, who is motivated by greed, lust and revenge. Both novels are about Cujel's long quest to avenge himself on Iucounu the Laughing Magician, who had the temerity to catch Cujel robbing his manse, and set him a hard task as penance. Cujel's view of the world is unique - his ego astonishing, his cunning low. Yet, he somehow manages to escape any danger, usually without funds, treasure, or willing woman. Rhialto the Marvellous is a last collection of 3 stories, after the magician of the same name. Rhialto is more sinned against than sinner, although a cursory thought about the state of witches in the world - ie, there are none, as is made clear by the first tale - shows him as no saint. Rhialto deals with potential ensqualmation, jealousy and more in his comparatively simple life. All of these characters are individuals, well written and placing in an intriguing world. Vance is a true wordsmith, both in the creation of dry, witty dialogue and in the description of the dying earth itself. There are layers of meaning and imagery in each sentence - sometimes, it seems, in each word - and it is a joy to read, even if a dictionary is required on occasion. These are pure stories - nominally "fantasy" or "science fiction" or whatever - but really modern adult fables. They are about people, and human nature, and the flaws that come with being human. There is no preaching or exhortation to self-improvement; what is, is, and this book can simply be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys reading.show more
by John Middleton
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