Tales of the Dying Earth
The Compleat Dying Earth. Science Fiction Book Club, 1999. Illustrated by Gerald Brom. Hardcover, 741 pp.
Tales of the Dying Earth. Fantasy Masterworks. Cover art: Geoff Taylor (see Geoff Taylor's home page). Paperback.
The Dying Earth saga inspired writers like Michael Moorcock and Gene Wolfe, who freely acknowledges his debt to Vance in his own Book of the New Sun. Here, in one volume, is Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Award-winning author Jack Vance's classic Dying Earth saga comprisingThe Dying Earth, The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga and Rhialto the Marvellous. Travel to a far distant future, when the sun bleeds red in a dark sky, where magic and science is one, and the Earth has but a few short decades to live...
John Holbrook "Jack" Vance (1916–2013) was an American mystery, fantasy and science fiction writer. Though most of his work has been published as by Jack Vance, he also wrote 11 mystery novels using his full name John Holbrook Vance, three under the pseudonym Ellery Queen, and once each using the pseudonyms Alan Wade, Peter Held, John van See, and Jay Kavanse.
Vance won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1984 and he was a Guest of Honor at the 1992 World Science Fiction Convention in Orlando, Florida. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America made him its 14th Grand Master in 1997 and the Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted him in 2001, its sixth class of two deceased and two living writers.
The stories of the Dying Earth series are set in the distant future, at a point when the sun is almost exhausted and magic has reasserted itself as a dominant force. The various civilizations of Earth have collapsed for the most part into decadence. The Earth is mostly barren and cold, and has become infested with various predatory monsters (possibly created by a magician in a former age).
The Moon has disappeared and the Sun is in danger of burning out at any time. A certain fatalism characterizes many of the inhabitants as a consequence.
The series shows the influence of the picaresque tale, applied to a science fiction/fantasy setting.
Dying Earth consists of four primary books, and includes eight additional books that complement the series but are not considered mandatory reads. The current recommended reading order for the series is provided below.