Summary

Jack Vance was a seminal figure in the development of modern fantasy - so much so that it's nearly impossible to imagine the genre as we know it today without him. In the course of his more than 50-year career, he has published dozens of major novels, as well as collections filled with marvelously crafted stories, winning the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Edgar Award, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, and several World Fantasy Awards, including the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.
Vance's masterpiece, The Dying Earth, may be the most influential fantasy novel of the 20th century, surpassed only by J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. It has not only inspired several generations of fantasy writers, from Gene Wolfe and Michael Moorcock to Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin, but its influence has reached deep into the realms of graphic novels, comics, fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, and even computer gaming.
The anthology Songs of the Dying Earth has assembled one of the most distinguished casts of authors ever - including Dan Simmons, Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, Paula Volsky, Mike Resnick, Robert Silverberg, Lucius Shepard, Tad Williams, Tanith Lee, Liz Williams, Glen Cook, and eleven other famous writers - to write stories in honor of the genius of Jack Vance, stories using the bizarre and darkly beautiful far future setting of the Dying Earth, near the very end of Earth's lifespan, where mighty wizards duel with spells of dreadful potency under a waning and almost burnt-out red sun, and adventurers and cutpurses strive to hoodwink and out-trick each other in haunted forests full of demons and monsters strange almost beyond comprehension.
Authors include George R. R. Martin (editor and author), Gardner Dozois (editor), Dan Simmons, Neil Gaiman, Paula Volsky, Mike Resnick, Robert Silverberg, Lucius Shepard, Tanith Lee, Liz Williams, Jeff VanderMeer, Kage Baker, Elizabeth Moon, Elizabeth Hand, Walter Jon Williams, Howard Waldrop, John C. Wright, and Glen Cook. Preface by Jack Vance.
©2009 George R. R. Martin (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By William on 01-08-11

Songs of the Dying Earth

While I really enjoyed the stories which were written by some of my favorite Authors, it was largely spoilt by the poor narration and was more of monotone drone than anything else, unfortunatley I have another Jack Vance audio book waiting by the same narrator, it's been put to the back of the pile until I can steel myself to listed to him again.
While the stories rated 4 stars the narrator rated 1star in my opinion.

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9 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Peter C on 29-08-17

For all lovers of Jack Vance

I learned to love Vance's quirky writing through Durdane, The Demon Princes (which I must have read some fifteen times) and Planet of Adventure. I came late to The Dying Earth through an original Lancer owned by my Dad. This collection is a wonderful and fitting tribute to an imaginative and mould breaking author. If you like his work - get this. Some fine authors working hard to extend and broaden a fantastic world. Each story has an afterword where the authors talk about how Vance influenced then. Very interesting.

Well narrated.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Gary on 16-12-09

The Snack that left me Ravenous

This tribute to one of the still living masters of fantasy made me realize just how under-represented the works of Jack vance are in audiobook form. The writers here have captured the odd cadences,the delicate pallettes of imagery and the whimsical ideas Mr Vance has entertained his readers with for countless decades. You can feel the respect of their tellings for the original works throughout,and until these treasures find their way to this website,I heartily invite all to have a taste of what Vance is and hope this will prompt the appearence of the classics these homages sprang from.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Robert on 01-09-12

If you are a fan of Jack Vance or don't know him:

Reviewers on Audible are all over the rating-board with this one but reviewers of the written version of Songs Of the Dying Earth pretty much agree: this is a great title. On Audible, one reviewer wrote that if you like Jack Vance’s style, this book is for you but if you don’t or don’t yet know Jack Vance, steer clear. I disagree with the last part of this statement. It would suggest that either Jack Vance in general is an author to avoid or that this work does not represent the writings of the Jack Vance. Neither could be further from the truth.

I wondered for the longest time why Fantasy and Science Fiction were often lumped together in the same genre. Separately they were not even similar. For me, at least, Fantasy has always seemed to be about the past and SciFi much more forward looking. Steampunk is kind of exception but in general, again, only for me, the two genres were quite disparate. Not so in the writings of Jack Vance. Particularly in the “Dying Earth” series, one has to think that a dying earth per se is not about something in the past nor even the present. And yet when we read about people, characters, places and things in this series, it very much and simultaneously conjures up feelings of a long past, possibly a middle- or dark-ages-kind-of-time. There is this tension between the past and the future or maybe it is the present but then the tension is between multi-universes or our earth and another earth far, far away. But this is Jack Vance pigeon hole if we must categorize him: Science Fiction and Fantasy at its best.

Jack Vance’s influence on this genre cannot be overestimated. Not that it necessarily always matters, but he has won every significant award in this category. This is a collection of short stories that reflect why so many accolades have been showered upon him. George R.R. Martin edits the work with some of the most esteemed other authors in the field contributing. In general, I think that the book is very well done.

So, bottom line what I would suggest is this: If you know of Jack Vance and like or dislike his style then simply let that be your guide. If you do not know Jack Vance, this would be a great place to start. I did not think ever one of the stories was great but they were all good and some were great. The narration of the audiobook is well-done. The selection informs and entertains. There is a lot of supplementary information conveyed about the author, the series and other masters in the science-fiction-fantasy genre.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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