On January 17th, I started reading Tales of the Dying Earth, by Jack Vance. I finished that book on Thursday and yesterday I eagerly started reading Songs of the Dying Earth – which is a tribute to Mr. Vance, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, and containing stories written by numerous writers who have enjoyed Mr. Vance’s work, and written in the style and setting used in Vance’s Dying Earth stories.
And I have to say that I have never experienced anything like Jack Vance’s books before – they are simply remarkable; clever and entertaining with a wry sense of humor that is just magnetic. I had the distinct impression reading his work that it would be a lot of fun to write it. I thoroughly enjoyed all of it – especially the stories about “Cugel the Clever” – I just loved these stories! And I am also really enjoying the stories I’ve so far read in Songs. I’m very glad to have discovered this guy, but sad to learn that he passed away just this past year.
I was interested to read some of the things said on Amazon.com about this book and Mr. Vance’s work, particularly from the writers involved in the project:
“Half a century ago, Jack Vance created the world of the Dying Earth, and fantasy has never been the same. Now, for the first time ever, he has agreed to open this bizarre and darkly beautiful world to other fantasists, to play in as their very own. To say that other fantasy writers are excited by this prospect is a gross understatement; one told us that he’d crawl through broken glass for the chance to write for the anthology, another that he’d gladly give up his right arm for the privilege. That’s the kind of regard in which Jack Vance and “The Dying Earth” are held by generations of his peers.”
UPDATE: I finished this book on March 2nd. These stories were very enjoyable to read and enabled me to stay in Jack Vance’s world a little bit longer. Jack Vance is definitely one-of-a-kind, and one of those authors whose work will stick with me forever, leaving me forever changed and enriched by the experience. I will never forget these books!