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

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really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  1,442 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews

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 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 to return to the unique and evocative milieu of The Dying Earth, from

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Hardcover, 669 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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seak
Dec 10, 2010 seak rated it it was amazing
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
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Kat  Hooper
Mar 29, 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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KostasAt
6.5/10

Songs of the Dying Earth is a nice anthology but, as a fan of the Dying Earth series (especially to Cugel and Rhialto’s stories), I expected something more from so many talented authors gathered in this book.
Of course, every anthology has its good and bad, and I did actually liked most of the stories, some for the story itself and others more for the ideas, but only a few really stand out for me in the end.

One is certainly “The True Vintage of Erzuine Thale” by Robert Silverberg, who did a
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Ben Babcock
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
May 13, 2012 Jean-marcel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Fantasy Literature
Andreas
Sep 23, 2009 Andreas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Violetta Vane
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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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
Metaphorosis
Aug 04, 2013 Metaphorosis rated it really liked it
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
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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
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Neil
Feb 09, 2012 Neil rated it liked it
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
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Mike
Jan 24, 2013 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Ian
Jul 04, 2012 Ian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Few of us would disagree that Jack Vance is a man whose career deserves respect; and since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then an anthology of stories which ape one of his creations must seem like a fine and commercial tribute. And yet… The Dying Earth first appeared in 1950. It is over sixty years old. The average age of the contributors to Songs of the Dying Earth is no younger. This anthology, then, is an exercise in nostalgia. Though its cover proclaims it contains “stories in ...more
Paul Weimer
Aug 07, 2009 Paul Weimer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
Psychophant
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
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Jason
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
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Scott
Dec 12, 2010 Scott rated it really liked it
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,
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Dean
Apr 11, 2012 Dean rated it liked it
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
Zachary Stewart
Aug 04, 2011 Zachary Stewart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Gary
Mar 05, 2011 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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edifanob
Jan 14, 2011 edifanob rated it liked it
Shelves: my-books, 2012-reads
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.
Muhammad Rasheed
This was a tribute anthology by a group of professional sci-fi and fantasy authors, all of them fans of Jack Vance's Tales of the Dying Earth. They each wrote an original short story that took place during Vance's fictional distant future. It was okay. Of the 22 tales in the anthology, 4 were awesome, 6 were good, 2 were mediocre, and the remaining 10 ranged from simply boring to really bad. Over-all it was worth the read.

In Jack Vance’s truly great Tales of the Dying Earth, the world is ancient
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Jadewik
Dec 12, 2010 Jadewik rated it really liked it
I'm not familiar with Jack Vance or his world of The Dying Earth, but I'm really enjoying this collection of stories by various authors. Koontz did a great job introducing Vance to readers who aren't in the know (like me) in his "Thank You". I'm also enjoying the art that accompanies each story.

Because this is a collection of stories, I'd like to write a little blurb about each of them.... so this is quite lengthy. I'll give star ratings to them all and take a rounded-to-the-nearest-star amount
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Nico
Jan 28, 2017 Nico rated it did not like it
I tried but just couldn't get into it.
Ryan
Jack Vance’s Dying Earth books (and other works) no longer have the following that they did back in the ‘60s or ‘70s, which seems to be when most of the contributors to this collection were in their own formative years and discovered him for the first time. Judging from the “names” here (Simmons, Martin, Gaiman, Silverberg, Williams) and the praise that each author has to offer, Vance seems to have had a profound impact on a generation of fantasy and speculative fiction writers.

Which I guess isn
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Alex Sarll
I'm never quite sure when to add anthologies, given I naturally tend to read them with long breaks, lest diminishing returns set in. That's exacerbated when there's a shared theme, as here - but countermanded to some extent when it's the library's book, as also here. I think this one took me about three months in the end, during which period Jack Vance himself, appropriately if regrettably, exited our own rather younger Earth.

It's a strange and varied collection, which suits such a strange and v
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Steve
Jul 10, 2015 Steve added it
Shelves: bookreporter
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
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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,
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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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