Summary

The stories in The Dying Earth introduce dozens of seekers of wisom and beauty - lovely lost women, wizards of every shade of eccentricity with their runic amulets and spells. We meet the melancholy deodands, who feed on human flesh and the twk-men, who ride dragonflies and trade information for salt. There are monsters and demons. Each being is morally ambiguous: The evil are charming, the good are dangerous. All are at home in Vance’s lyrically described fantastic landscapes, like Embelyon, where, “The sky [was] a mesh of vast ripples and cross-ripples and these refracted a thousand shafts of colored light, rays which in mid-air wove wondrous laces, rainbow nets, in all the jewel hues....”
The dying Earth itself is otherworldly: “A dark blue sky, an ancient sun.... Nothing of Earth was raw or harsh—the ground, the trees, the rock ledge protruding from the meadow; all these had been worked upon, smoothed, aged, mellowed. The light from the sun, though dim, was rich and invested every object of the land ... with a sense of lore and ancient recollection.” Welcome.
©2010 Jack Vance (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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Critic reviews

The Dying Earth and its sequels comprise one of the most powerful fantasy/science-fiction concepts in the history of the genre. They are packed with adventure but also with ideas, and the vision of uncounted human civilizations stacked one atop another like layers in a phyllo pastry thrills even as it induces a sense of awe [at] ... the fragility and transience of all things, the nobility of humanity’s struggle against the certainty of an entropic resolution.” (Dean Koontz)
"There are few enough of the writers I loved when I was 13 that I can imagine myself going back to in 20 years from now. Jack Vance I will read forever.” (Neil Gaiman)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 09-11-13

Ripe with ideas and peculiar characters

Imagine cooking together some Grimm Fairy Stories alongside a Dungeons and Dragons spell book, and then adding a flavour of the Canterbury Tales for good measure. Baste well and roast to perfection. The result is earthy, colourful and very engaging. I really loved it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Hugh on 19-12-11

Classic Sci Fi

This is a real gem. The sun is dying and mankind has evolved. There are strange creatures & men have learned magic. My biggest annoyance, and it it not resticted to this series, is that this series is in 4 parts. Parts 1 & 3 are availlable in audible. What about part 2," the eyes of the overworld"? I have purchased this on amazon, so it is availlable. What is the point of making part 3 availlable and not part 2.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Jim "The Impatient" on 11-06-14

WHAT IS BEAUTY?

IT ELUCIDATES
Trees fruited with many intoxications overhung his path, and flowers bowed obsequiously as he passed. An inch above the ground, dull as agates, the eyes of mandrakes followed the tread of his black-slippered feet. The whole book reads like this. The first chapter I was wow, this is cool. It is almost like reading Shakespeare and understanding it. Makes you feel smart. The language is beautiful. Each chapter is a short story. Well, not so much a story as a fable. After you get done congratulating yourself on how smart you are, you will also realize that you know how the story is going to end, long before it does. Chapter after chapter you figure the plot out or lack of plot early on. The only surprises are the strange creatures and vegetation.

If all you care about is pretty language, you will love this. If you want to be surprised or have a wow factor involving the plot or story line, you will be disappointed.

The narrator is excellent.

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17 of 17 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Jefferson on 27-06-10

A Decadent and Hopeful Dying Earth

The jaunty and amoral Liane the Wayfarer has no idea that he's in way over his head (even including the long red feather blinking and winking in his green cap) as "The red sun, drifting across the universe like an old man creeping to his death-bed," begins to set.

If you want to hear funny, scary, and moving stories about desperate questers after knowledge, beauty, or love in a beautiful and terrible far future earth in which the dying sun sheds bloody ruby light on eroded mountains and ruined cities as the decadent remnants of humanity live amid exotic (and often deadly) flora, fauna, magical artifacts, and half-remembered dreams of long past achievements and legendary figures, then you should give The Dying Earth a try.

The capable reading by Arthur Morey evokes the odd mixture of sardonic wit, decadence, hope, and imagination of Vance's book. Morey's voice is dry, but savory, and he pronounces Vance's strange names and unusual words clearly and changes tone appropriately for wizened men, giant demons, guileless or deceitful "girls" (i.e., women), tiny dragonfly riding Twk-men, self-centered rogues, determined wizards, man-eating Deodands, forgotten gods, and more. I would listen to more Dying Earth books narrated by Morey and highly recommend this one.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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