Jack Vance, The Dying Earth (1950)

Seekers of wisdom and beauty include lovely lost women, eccentric wizards and man-eating melancholy deodands. Twk-men 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.

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A collection of short forms by Jack Vance, his first book and the beginning of one of his most popular series, the Dying Earth. Vance isn’t really that widely discussed these days, but during his long (1916-2013) life he wrote many influential works and is one of the genre’s legends. And this short (only 156 pages!) tome is a good place to get a taste of him.

Then there are further volumes of the Dying Earth cycle and Lyonesse, one of the iconic retellings of the Arthurian myth. They are on my TBR, but, for now, lets concentrate on The Dying Earth.

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