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Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance Hardcover – 7 Dec 2010


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Hardcover, 7 Dec 2010
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--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 669 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (7 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076532086X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765320865
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 5.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Review

‘The Dying Earth is one of the best and most influential fantasy works of the twentieth century’ Terry Pratchett

‘The world that Vance created ranks with Tolkien’s Middle-earth and Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age as one of fantasy’s most unforgettable and influential settings.’ George R R Martin

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

George R.R. Martin is the author of the bestselling A Song of Ice and Fire series and award-winning writer of books and screenplays.
Gardner Dozois is a science fiction writer and editor who has won a record fifteen Hugo Awards for his work. He was the editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine from 1984 to 2004.

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Millions of years hence, the Sun has grown old, bloated and red and is about to go out. In these dying days humanity, now capable of great feats of magic, shares the much-changed Earth with hostile races such as the deodands and pelgranes. This is the vivid setting of Jack Vance's Dying Earth series, four books (now usually published in one volume) which now stand as one of the cornerstones of modern fantasy.

Songs of the Dying Earth is an all-star 'tribute album' by some of the biggest names in modern SF and Fantasy, featuring twenty-three stories set in the Dying Earth setting. Some of the authors employ existing characters (Cugel makes several appearances and is central in Kage Baker's The Green Bird, whilst Rhialto plays a strong supporting role in Glen Cook's The Good Magician), whilst most create their own characters to explore various stories and ideas. Robert Silverberg's entry deals with a peculiar form of maudlin depression brought about by the imminent end of eternity, whilst Matthew Hughes' Grolion of Almery is a crazy mash-up of the Dying Earth and Cthulu with a bit of Little Shop of Horrors chucked in for good measure. Some of the stories are extremely funny, others are tragic or very dark in tone.

One thing that stands out about the collection is its very high quality. The weakest stories in the collection are the ones where the writer tries to evoke Vance's language and fails - 'Caulk the Witch-Chaser' by Liz Williams and Jeff VanderMeer's 'Final Quest of the Wizard Sarnod' are notable examples - but even they successfully capture some of the setting's tone and feel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alen B Curtiss on 21 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Many years ago, when I was still a moody teenager, I was browsing in a local used book store. I read a lot in those days – still do, but sadly not as much as when I was a teen, as life has a habit of interrupting like it never did when I was a kid. I enjoyed mostly horror and fantasy, with the occasional foray into science fiction. Sci-fi hadn’t caught my attention as much as the other two genres, though I did enjoy Ray Bradbury’s stories, and the Dune series.

I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, I just had nothing better to do on that particular day. Nothing had caught my fancy on any of the many shelves, so I turned my attention to the cheapest of the cheap books, piled in wooden boxes set on the floor. And there it was – Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth. At the time, I’d never heard of Jack Vance, didn’t know what he wrote, didn’t know if he was any good. But the title had caught my attention. In the midst of my depressing and negative teenage angst, the Earth dying had a certain appeal to me. I paid a few coins for the dog-eared paperback and ambled off home.

Hours later, bleary eyed and yawning, I read the final page and closed the cover. Although tired, with a slight headache from reading for too long in poor light, I was ecstatically happy and grinning like a loon. What I had just read, just experienced, was, for me, nothing short of amazing. Pure brilliance. That world, under it’s fading red sun. Those people, in their crumbling cities. The magicians, sorcerers, thaumaturges, with their spells. Spells so vast many years were needed to memorise just one. The creatures, the demons, the created beings. And the stories! Oh, what imagination, what creative genius! I fell asleep a very happy teenager.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. F. Stevens HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 27 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This anthology of twenty-two original new stories is written by top quality authors as tributes to the weird and wonderful Dying Earth created by the late Jack Vance.

George R R Martin and Gardner Dozois are co-editors of the anthology with Martin contributing one of the stories. Dean Koontz leads off with an interesting introduction, and Jack Vance himself offers a page of appreciation to all those who wanted to add another tale to his magical world of the future.

Each of the twenty-two stories has a preface introducing its author and outlining its relevance in the fading times of the Dying Earth, and finishes with an appropriate afterword from its author. Some of the tales are stronger than others, some offer a much more accurate emulation of the unique Vance style than others, but all are well worth while reading, all strongly evoke the memories of Vance's unique future vision, and the anthology would be weaker without them.

But best of all as a long-time fan of Jack Vance with almost a complete collection of his works, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to re-visit old `friends' and their adventures (or perhaps with Cugel, mishaps) in brand-new stories. Now I feel the overpowering urge to revisit all of Vance's books again...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Hamilton TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
I am a huge fan of Jack Vance and have always felt that his Tales of the Dying Earth novels have been scandalously overlooked. I have read and re-read the struggles and adventures of Cudgel the Clever so many times he feels like an old friend (not one you would alone with the silverware however).

Songs of the Dying Earth are stories set in this most wondrous of worlds created by Vance and each stands on its own merits. It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and writers on offer here have captured the baroque, melancholy and brilliant world imagined by Vance all those years ago.

There is no filler here, all of the stories are well rendered, some interlink and all pay homage to, and sometimes, expand Vance's world.

I urge the reader to absorb Vance's original work before reading this, the experience is much enriched.

An absolutely essential book and one that pays homage to a man who is, in my mind, a master of the genre.
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