A novella. Design and illustration by John Coulthart.
The Wizard Sarnod has lived in isolation on an island in the middle of a lake for centuries. But one day, the Nose of Memory arrives to destroy his calm by dredging up the past, and he must send three of his familiars to the subterranean Underhinds on a quest to find two other people, long banished: his brother and a former lover. In the Underhinds they will encounter living dirigibles, fire dragons, the Bloat Toad, unimaginable perils, and long-buried secrets...
Based on Jack Vance’s Dying Earth series, “The Three Quests of the Wizard Sarnod” is a longer and very different version of a story published in the Dozois-Martin edited Songs from the Dying Earth.
From Jeff VanderMeer’s Introduction:
“When it came time to write the story for Songs of the Dying Earth, Sarnod and his three familiars leapt into my mind, and Grod was one of them. I wrote a draft, revised it, and sent it to the editors. When I heard back, the feedback indicated they liked the story but Grod wasn’t Vance-an enough, not tied enough in his quest to Vance’s world. So, thinking that eventually I might have a chance to publish my version, I cut Grod out of the story for the version published in the anthology...
“This version is very close to my heart, and I hope you enjoy it as much as you enjoy my friend and master designer John Coulthart’s marvelous approach to book art.”
Jeffrey Scott VanderMeer (born 1968) is an American writer. He was born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, but spent much of his childhood in the Fiji Islands, where his parents worked for the Peace Corps. This experience, and the trip back to the United States through Asia, Africa, and Europe, influenced him deeply. He currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida. In 2003, Jeff married editor Ann Kennedy.
Photo: Jeff VanderMeer and his Finnish translators. Taken by Johan A. Creative Commons license.