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Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honour of Jack Vance (The Dying Earth #5)

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3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,351 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
Today, in order 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, suggest a Jack Vance tribute anthology called Songs of the Dying Earth, to encourage the best of today's fantasy writers to return to the unique and evocative m ...more
Hardcover, 670 pages
Published July 31st 2009 by Subterranean (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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seak
May 20, 2015 seak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, arc-review
Songs of the Dying Earth kind of popped up at my door one day and to be honest I never really had any interest. I adore (and yes, adore is a most fitting word) George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, but I can't say I was at all positive about this anthology. It's pretty much just fan fiction right? Why would anyone pay good money for this?

Not only that, but it's a tribute to an author I've never read. Yes, I have debated picking up Tales of the Dying Earth at one point or another. Y
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Stephen
dying-earth-1-1v2
***The above quotes really say it all when it comes to the talent of Jack Vance and his singular creation: the Dying Earth***

Easily, and I mean EASILY the single best tribute anthology I have ever read and in the top 10 for anthologies period. What a monumental achievement in honor of such a monumental achiever. I worked my way through this collection slowly, SAVORING all of the deliciously VANCEtastic stories set in the world of the Dying Earth. I am a bit of rabid-mouth-foaming fan of Jack Va
...more
Kat  Hooper
May 10, 2010 Kat Hooper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance is the best anthology I’ve ever read. These stories will be enjoyed by any SFF reader, but they’ll be ten times more fun if you’ve read Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth, because they are all written in honor of that fantastic work. Each tale is written in the style of Vance, which is quite amusing in itself, and each takes place on the Dying Earth, that far-future wasteland in which natural selection mea
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Ben Babcock
Jan 18, 2011 Ben Babcock rated it really liked it
This is the reason why I hunted down a copy of The Dying Earth and read it. Subterranean Press told me it was publishing a huge anthology of short stories by authors I love, all as a tribute to this Jack Vance guy, who is apparently a Big Deal. See my review of The Dying Earth for thoughts about Vance and my reaction to his series.

As far as anthologies go, this one is awesome. There are no two ways about it: fans of The Dying Earth will love most, maybe not all, of these stories; neophytes lik
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Jean-marcel
Nov 24, 2015 Jean-marcel rated it really liked it
Just got this. Some of the authors are familiar to me from long ago (Lucius Shepard, Mike Resnick, Tanith Lee), but many are unknown to me. Looks really interesting and I can't wait to see what these folks have done with Vance's world. Dean Koontz writing the introduction is either vastly inappropriate or a stroke of genius, but he's pretty respectful and it's admirable that he wanted to have his name on this thing. Vance's own preface is the kind of perfunctory set of statements I've come to ex ...more
Violetta Vane
Aug 29, 2012 Violetta Vane rated it it was amazing
Finally wrote this sucker up! This was a damn good big compilation and thick enough to choke a pelgrane. Wonderful quality, gorgeous illustrations. A few duds, but going over my notes, I count eight awesome stories, and most of the others were worth reading as well. Highly recommended for any Vance fan.

An Invocation of Incuriousity/Neil Gaiman: B—I admired the ambition of this piece, but I wish Gaiman had made more of an attempt to slip into Vance style. This feels so much more Gaiman than Vance
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Metaphorosis
Sep 08, 2013 Metaphorosis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2013-rev
I'm thrilled that so many good authors came together to honor one of my own favorite writers. It's an especially nice tribute as I read it after Vance's death this year.

Wisely, most of the authors here emulate Vance or make use of his world, but don't try to imitate him. Many acknowledge that it may not be possible to imitate him successfully (as those few who have tried have I think demonstrated). That last is also part of the problem with the anthology - it's Vancian, but it's not Vance. Good
...more
Marcus Gipps
Aug 28, 2010 Marcus Gipps rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Jack Vance’s Dying Earth collection a year or two ago (http://marcusgipps.livejournal.com/61...), and thought it was patchy at best. I could see why it was revered, and the language was wonderful, but I had issues with some of the implementation. It was OK, but it didn’t become my favourite book overnight. So when Subterranean Press, who put out some utterly gorgeous editions and who take too much of my money, announced this collection of short stories based on Vance’s work, I didn’t jump ...more
Andreas
Oct 26, 2009 Andreas rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Jack Vance and the Dying Earth
"Songs of the Dying Earth" is an homage to the Dying Earth world of Jack Vance. The list of authors who have contributed to this tome reads like a who-is-who of today's top fantasy writers and I am delighted to hold this marvelous collection in my hands. As setting and style are predefined, the stories don't win prices for special originality. However, almost all entertain and some even manage to capture the unique spirit of Jack Vance or to enrich the existing tales. It was a pleasure to roam o ...more
Todd
Jul 30, 2012 Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I want to be very careful writing this review as to not be a spoiler. I had never read The Dying Earth going into this book, and for that I believe it was that much more rewarding. Not knowing that some of these stories were so closely related to - precluding or tying in or generally explaining - The Dying Earth, I never knew where the plot was going, which was great and always exciting.

The world is as rich as any I have ever known. Simply put, Jack Vance is a brilliant story teller. Every revie
...more
Neil
Feb 09, 2012 Neil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had tried to read the original Dying Earth stories by Jack Vance a few years back, and I couldn't finish them. It wasn't that I hated them, but they just weren't gripping me--I'm not sure if the flowery language just wasn't catching me, or if I just couldn't get past the irredeemable protagonists.

So I picked up this book on the strength of its editor and many of the contributors, and I did enjoy it. There was a good variety in the stories, and the author's comments at the end of each story did
...more
Paul Weimer
Aug 07, 2009 Paul Weimer rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Psychophant
Jan 25, 2010 Psychophant rated it really liked it
The actual score would be three and a half, but as collected shorts have trouble scoring high as always there are a few disappointing ones in the bunch, I prefer to round up rather than down.

This big book is a homage to Jack Vance's Dying Earth series, probably one of the biggest secret influences in fantasy, from Majipoor to the Book of the New Sun. Quite a dazzling cast of writers tackle Vance's idiosincratic world at the end of time, complex amoral characters and rich flowing language, with v
...more
Dean
Jun 26, 2012 Dean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This book was not what I expected. I picked it up mostly on a whim when cleaning out the sci-fi section during the closing sales of a certain national bookstore chain. I saw the lsit of powerhouse authors and decided it was worth a shot. Having never read any Jack Vance, I heard the title mentioning a Dying Earth and the dust jacket speaking of a far-future world where the sun is going out and all manner of wonders were to be found, I was expecting science fiction. Specifically, I was expecting ...more
Scott
Apr 03, 2011 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When it comes to getting my attention, Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honour of Jack Vance has nearly everything going for it when it comes to a collection of short stories. Nearly everything except that I have to rather sheepishly admit that I’m not very familiar with Jack Vance. But when you have George R.R. Martin editing and contributing to a collection, it’s likely to be a winner.

Throw in one of my favorite authors of all time, Lucius Shepard and heavy hitters like Robert Silverberg,
...more
Jason
Dec 15, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it
A collection of short stories placed in the world of Jack Vance's Dying Earth. The collection includes a mix of big-name and small-name authors, including Neil Gaiman, Tad Williams, Tanith Lee, and Phyllis Eisenstein.
Each author then briefly writes about the influence of the Dying Earth series on their own work.

As an anthology honoring another author, it's easily one of the best, and actually caused me to appreciate the original Dying Earth series all the more. All of the authors do a phenomena
...more
Robert Delikat
Sep 01, 2012 Robert Delikat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, fantasy
Reviewers on Audible are all over the rating-board with this one but reviewers of the written version of Songs Of the Dying Earth pretty much agree: this is a great title. On Audible, one reviewer wrote that if you like Jack Vance’s style, this book is for you but if you don’t or don’t yet know Jack Vance, steer clear. I disagree with the last part of this statement. It would suggest that either Jack Vance in general is an author to avoid or that this work does not represent the writings of the ...more
Zachary Stewart
Aug 04, 2011 Zachary Stewart rated it really liked it
The book itself is very well crafted. The woodcut style illustrations and page boarders give it the feel of an old tome in the type no longer produced today. I really recommend this Subterranean Press version if you can find it.



Dean Koontz for the intro/Thank yo to Jack seems like a strange choice for me. He admits he doesn't actually know much about Vance himself, he just likes some of the stories. I suspect he was invited so they could put his name on the cover and pick up some cross genre sal
...more
Mike
Sep 09, 2015 Mike rated it it was ok
What a disappointment. It was nice to read the appreciations of Vance's work that followed each selection, but the quality of the the stories was all over the place. Several were pretty good -- one story is a clever prequel to Cugel's adventure in Eyes of the Overworld, and a few authors like Tanith Lee managed to capture some of Vance's magic. But the worst stories were just vaguely imitative of Vance's style without the wit and inventiveness. Really even the better stories tended to read like ...more
Gary
May 28, 2011 Gary rated it it was amazing
Two stories in and it's all good so far....
5 stories in now and they are all glorious homages to the Master - really enjoying them! Only 5 stories left in this mammoth tribute to Jack Vance and I must say they have all been splendid evocations of the Master! All the authors so far have captured the essence of Vance's style and storytelling.
Finished! and I can honestly say that this is a splendid book that provides the reader with continual delights. All the stories bar one I felt were impressive
...more
Steve
The Dying Earth is a fascinating place, set in a distant future where the moon has vanished and the sun hangs red in the sky, nearly exhausted of its energy. Civilizations once glorious and advanced have collapsed into ruin and decadence, struggling to survive the cold temperatures and the monstrous beasts that have risen. And technology has devolved and yielded to a resurgence of the ancient art of magic. This is the world that Jack Vance crafted in a series of short stories, which were collect ...more
Ricardo Sanchez
Nov 18, 2014 Ricardo Sanchez rated it really liked it
Songs of the Dying Earth Jack Vancehas been one of my favorite writers ever since I first read his short story "Nopalgarth." I immediate read my way through everything of his I could find, and when I finally encountered The Dying Earth, my mind was blown. The merger of science and magic and the idea of an Earth so old nobody remembers it's history opened me up to a bunch of new fiction and established my taste in reading and writing.

On a recent plane trip I realized I'd forgotten to pack any boo
...more
Jack
Jack Vance's The Dying Earth is a singular work, a creation of such astonishing originality and style that Vance himself never matched it. This is not to dismiss his later works in the same setting: The Eyes of the Overworld in particular could be placed within the same covers as the first set of stories. But his world of loss, fatalism and melancholy is also thick with beauty, peril, horror, and adventure. No wonder that an all-star lineup of writers would be eager to try to meet the challenge ...more
Palmyrah
Mar 20, 2014 Palmyrah rated it it was ok
A very assorted bag of stories. How well they evoke the Dying Earth of Jack Vance I cannot say, since I have never had the opportunity to read those books. I found this in a library and picked it up because I am a great fan of Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun, which he says was inspired by Vance's Dying Earth milieu.

As stand-alone tales, these stories work more or less well. The best, for me, was 'The Laughably Comic Tragedy...' by Tad Williams, a really brilliant horror story. Others I like
...more
edifanob
Finally I finished the book.

So far I have not read Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth. So did not really know what to expect. In the end it was a mixed reading. Nearly half of the stories have not been my kind of story.

I think this book is definitely one for Jack Vance fans.

Based on MY TASTE I gave three stars. This rating does not say anything about the quality of the stories.
Vera
Jan 22, 2016 Vera rated it it was amazing
Нужно читать в оригинале - от красоты языка можно улететь в астрал, наслаждаешься каждой буквой. Лучшая антология на мой вкус в этом жанре. К тому же, один из авторов - Нил Гейман! I'm sold :D

"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 Moon has disappeared and the Sun is in danger of burning out at any time, often flickering as if about to go out, before shining again.
...more
Anthony Wilson
I would consider myself fairly well-read in SF, but although I remember seeing a copy of "Big Planet" a while ago at my local library Jack Vance is an author I was not really aware of. The existence of this book, in which a huge number of authors, including Neil Gaiman and George R R Martin, have written stories set on his "Dying Earth", suggests that I am in the minority. Each comes with a brief introduction describing their first encounter with the works of JV and the way it influenced their w ...more
Pedro Fragoso
Jan 21, 2015 Pedro Fragoso rated it it was amazing
By any standard that I could conjure up, this literary feast in the form of heartfelt tribute and homage by some of the greatest "writers of the imagination" of the English language currently living, to a master whose body of work inspired and influenced them (Dan Simmons, for instance: "Reading Jack Vance’s work today, I am transported back forty-eight years to the sounds and smells of Chicago coming in through that third-floor window on Kildare Avenue and I remember what it is like to be truly ...more
Robert Hepple
Jun 05, 2014 Robert Hepple rated it really liked it
A tribute anthology of 22 short stories all by different highly proficient writers, in honour of Jack Vance’s Dying Earth stories. Each story is preceded by a thumbnail sketch of the writer, and each finishes with an afterword by the writer telling you what inspired them to write a Dying Earth story. All of the stories were well-written, although I thought the stories by Robert Silverberg and Tad Williams particularly stood out. The stories themselves are, for the most part, a pastiche of the un ...more
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George R. R. Martin was born September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father was Raymond Collins Martin, a longshoreman, and his mother was Margaret Brady Martin. He has two sisters, Darleen Martin Lapinski and Janet Martin Patten.

Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and Marist High School. He began writing very young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies,
...more
More about George R.R. Martin...

Other Books in the Series

The Dying Earth (4 books)
  • The Dying Earth (The Dying Earth, #1)
  • The Eyes of the Overworld (The Dying Earth, #2)
  • Cugel's saga (The Dying Earth, #3)
  • Rhialto the Marvellous (The Dying Earth, #4)

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“She sighed, staring down at the foothills of Cobalt Mountain. “I have been summoned to the Paeolinas’ court to attend the coronation after-ball.” “I was unaware the Queen was ill.” “The Queen was not aware of it either,” replied Paytim. “Her brother poisoned her and seized control of the Crimson Messuage. He has impertinently invited me to attend his coronation as Paeolina the Twenty-Ninth.” “An occasion for celebration. The charm is then a gift for him?” “Only insofar as death is that benefaction offered by envious gods to humankind. My intent is to destroy the entire lineage of Paeolina, so that I will never again be subjected to their abhorrent notions of festivity.” “It seems excessive,” suggested Saloona. “You have never eaten with them.” 1 likes
“The red sun pulled itself from sleep and glared upon the world that it must still serve, though itself of more than pensionable age.” 0 likes
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