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Author Topic: [July/Aug 2013] The Dying Earth, Week 2 (the rest of it)  (Read 2345 times)

Online simonster

[July/Aug 2013] The Dying Earth, Week 2 (the rest of it)
« on: July 19, 2013, 08:25:23 PM »
In The Dying Earth the world's population has fallen to a few thousand strange souls.

So it's probably fitting that the membership of this Book Club is similarly sparse. ;)

I'm opening this thread as it's been a week since the last one, but I'm a few pages away from the end of the book still, so I don't have anything more to add just yet.

Online simonster

Re: [July/Aug 2013] The Dying Earth, Week 2 (the rest of it)
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2013, 08:15:44 PM »
All done!

I must say I rather enjoyed the book.  It had its ups and downs (as you'd expect given that it's a collection of stories) but overall it was a breath of fresh air.  Its brevity is particularly striking compared with modern fantasy - what Jack Vance packs into a dozen pages would keep a modern writer going for a whole novel, if not trilogy.

I was interested to see where the book would fall between sci-fi and fantasy, given that the author is primarily known for writing science fiction.  To me it seemed that the stories were straight-up fantasy, with only one (Ulan Dhor) that was a sci-fi cross-over.  That story felt the most dated of the bunch, since its idea of futuristic is rather old-fashioned (i.e., flying cars).

As part of the whole 'Dying Earth' genre, I expected the stories to make more of the idea that people are living in the ruins of a technological society (like in The Book of the New Sun, for example).  In fact, the concept of the dying world showed up most in the attitudes of the characters: many are amoral, almost hedonistic, and driven to obsession by greed or desire.

Finally, I wish that more fantasy books had spell names like those here.  Phandaal's Mantle of Stealth, The Excellent Prismatic Spray, etc.  Wonderful! :D

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: [July/Aug 2013] The Dying Earth, Week 2 (the rest of it)
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2013, 08:50:06 PM »
Does feel like we have the basis here for a great rpg campaign. You can only remember a certain number of spells and each has a cool name and description of what they can do. While the last story is the most dated and the only one with a sci fi cross over, I found it the strongest of the collection.  And see where Mieville got his idea from for 'City and the City'.
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Re: [July/Aug 2013] The Dying Earth, Week 2 (the rest of it)
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2013, 10:56:03 AM »
I guess we'll end the book club at Week 2.

I'll definitely read the other Dying Earth books at some stage, but there just doesn't seem to be enough interest to justify dragging out the book club any further.

In conclusion: a good book, well worth reading. :)

Offline Victoria Hooper

Re: [July/Aug 2013] The Dying Earth, Week 2 (the rest of it)
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2013, 10:38:44 PM »
I guess we'll end the book club at Week 2.

I'll definitely read the other Dying Earth books at some stage, but there just doesn't seem to be enough interest to justify dragging out the book club any further.

In conclusion: a good book, well worth reading. :)

I'm doing a re-read of these, but have moved home and a bunch of other stuff is slowing me down a bit. Will post in the threads later when I catch up, but in general agreeing with what's been said. I'm a big fan of Jack Vance's writing, but wish he was better with female characters. I think these early stories do feel like a writer in his early stages. Great imagination and quicker pace than a lot of more modern fantasy. Also agree that it is more fantasy rather than sci-fi, and the names of the spells are brilliant. Looking forward to re-reading The Eyes of the Overworld and the rest of Cugel's adventures, as I remember them being really good.  :)

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Re: [July/Aug 2013] The Dying Earth, Week 2 (the rest of it)
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2013, 09:06:33 PM »
Looking forward to re-reading The Eyes of the Overworld and the rest of Cugel's adventures, as I remember them being really good.  :)

That's how I feel about Lyonesse. :)  But I should really read the other Dying Earth books first, now that I've started.

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: [July/Aug 2013] The Dying Earth, Week 2 (the rest of it)
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2013, 02:51:15 AM »
I've read the entire Cugel the Clever novel and it's hilarious!
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