Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance

Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance

by George R. R. Martin
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Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance by George R. R. Martin

To honor the magnificent career of Jack Vance, one unparalleled in achievement and impact, George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, with the full cooperation of Jack Vance, his family, and his agents, have created a Jack Vance tribute anthology: Songs of the Dying Earth. The best of today's fantasy writers return to the unique and evocative milieu of The Dying Earth, from which they and so many others have drawn so much inspiration, to create their own brand-new adventures in the world of Jack Vance's greatest novel.

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.

This book contains original stories from George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Dan Simmons, Elizabeth Moon, Tanith Lee, Tad Williams, Kage Baker, and Robert Silverberg, along with fifteen others and an introduction by Dean Koontz.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780007277490
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication date: 09/28/2011

About the Author

George R.R. Martin is the author of the acclaimed, internationally bestselling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, adapted into the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. He is also the editor and contributor to the Wild Cards series, including the novels Suicide Kings and Fort Freak, among other bestsellers. He has won multiple science fiction and fantasy awards, including four Hugos, two Nebulas, six Locus Awards, the Bram Stoker, the World Fantasy Award, the Daedelus, the Balrog, and the Daikon (the Japanese Hugo). Martin has been writing ever since he was a child, when he sold monster stories to neighborhood children for pennies, and then in high school he wrote fiction for comic fanzines. His first professional sale was to Galaxy magazine, when he was 21. He has been a full-time writer since 1979. Martin has bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Gardner Dozois, one of the most acclaimed editors in science fiction, has won the Hugo Award for Best Editor fifteen times. He was the editor of Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine for twenty years. He is the editor of the Year's Best Science Fiction anthologies and co-editor of the Warrior anthologies and many others. As a writer, he twice won the Nebula Award for best short story. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Santa Fe, NM

Date of Birth:

September 20, 1948

Place of Birth:

Bayonne, NJ


B.S., Northwestern University, 1970; M.S., Northwestern University, 1971

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Songs of the Dying Earth 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Jvstin More than 1 year ago
Edited by George R.R. Martin (who contributes a story as well) and Gardner Dozois, this anthology is another journey to the Dying Earth world created by Jack Vance. Vance himself provides an introduction, and Dean Koontz provides an appreciation. But the heart and meat of the anthology are the stories. Many of the authors do a remarkable job in capturing the essence of the Dying Earth. The language, the picaresque characters, the strange rambling adventures. Some of the stories feature characters from Vance's stories as main protagonists, others rely on those characters as plot devices, or even just as background color. So how did they do? Given the truism that anthologies can vary in the quality and interest stories and authors bring, I thought the quality of the stories was uniformly high. I was gratified that my high expectations were met by the authors and their stories. And the range of subjects and stories is high. Therein you will find more doings of Cugel (contradictory stories, if you wanted to try and take all of these stories as canonical), an architect who uses his skills to defend a castle, magicians large and small scrambling for power as the sun dies, and more, much more. Dan Simmons has the only novella, the centerpiece of this anthology, The Guiding Nose of Ulfant Banderoz. It's one of the stronger stories in the volume. Like his digestion of Keats in the Hyperion novels, and the Iliad in Ilium, Simmons shows that he truly digests and does a good Dying Earth. Besides his story, I particularly liked Wright's Guyal the Creator (continuing the character's story from the Vance story), Matthew Hughes' Grolion of Almery. (Hughes' own novels show his prior affection for homage to Vance), Paula Volsky's The Traditions of Karzh (showing how a would be wizard really gets his power) and Walter Jon William's Abrizonde (the aforementioned story about a hero architect). But, really, few of the stories are poor, although I do wonder why Neil Gaiman felt the need to tie in the real world with the Dying Earth in his tale. I found that a bit atonal, even if its a decent story. In any event, fans of the Dying Earth should not miss this anthology, especially given the list of authors and the love and care they have given the world of Messr. Vance. The full list of stories: The True Vintage of Erzuine Thale --Robert Silverberg Grolion of Almery --Matthew Hughes The Copsy Door --Terry Dowling Caulk the Witch Doctor --Liz Williams Inescapable --Mike Resnick Abrizonde --Walter Jon Williams The Traditions of Karzh --Paula Volsky The Final Quest of the Wizard Sarnod --Jeff Vandermeer The Green Bird --Kage Baker The Last Golden Thread --Phyllis Eisenstein An Incident in Uskvesk --Elizabeth Moon Sylgarmo's Proclamation --Lucius Shepard The Lamentably Comical Tragedy (or The Laughably Tragic Comedy) of Lixal Laqavee --Tad Williams Guyal the Curator --John C Wright The Good Magician --Glen Cook The Return of the Fire Witch --Elizabeth Hand The Collegeum of Mauge --Byron Tetrick Evillo the Uncunning --Tanith Lee The Guiding Nose of Ulfant Banderoz --Dan Simmons Frogskin Cap --Howard Waldrop A Night at the Tarn House --George R R Martin An Invocation of Curiosity --Neil Gaiman
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Sixty years ago Jack Vance issued the classic Dying Earth saga in which magic practitioners, demons, other hostile paranormal and normal species fight for power when the red sun ebbs towards solar system extinction. This volume consists of twenty-two mostly famous authors paying homage to the great Mr. Vance by providing tales that occur on the Dying Earth. The quality level differs slightly as there are no clinkers, but a couple of well written disappointments because they attempt but fail at tying up some lose threads. Most of the entries capture the essence of Mr. Vance's timely dark vision of the future. Especially entertaining are "Grolion of Almery" by Matthew Hughes who seems like a Vance clone with a the person obtaining shelter in the wrong house and Terry Dowling's "The Copsy Door" in which cursed Amberlin the Lesser stumbles into a magical contest. Mike Resnick's "Inescapable" affirms the axiom don't lose your head to a female because she may take a literal connotation. Other strong contributions include "Abrizonde" by Walter Jon Williams, Dan Simmons's "The Guiding Nose of Ulfant Banderoz", Paula Volsky's "The Traditions of Karzh", "Caulk the Witch-Chaser" by Liz Williams and "The Green Bird"' by Kage Baker. This entire anthology is a great tribute. Harriet Klausner
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