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The Eyes of the Overworld (The Dying Earth #2)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  1,786 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Scoundrel Cugel is sent far away, by a magician he has wronged, to retrieve magical lenses that reveal the Overworld. Goaded by a homesick monster magically attached to his liver, he journeys across wastelands home to Almery. With a cult group on a pilgrimage, he crosses the Silver Desert, and meets more danger and betrayal as he betrays others.
Paperback, 190 pages
Published February 2nd 1977 by Pocket (first published 1966)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,646)
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Algernon
I have already gushed enthusiastic about the opening volume in the Dying Earth epic. It seems I should have kept some of the hyperbole in reserve for later books, as the appeal of the setting and of the characters show no sign of slacking with this second book. It's also interesting to note that the saga of Cugel the Clever is not simply an iteration of a success formula. In many ways it is an improvement over the experiments in style from the first book.

For one thing, the book is better structu
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Steve
The Eyes of the Overworld is the second novel in Jack Vance's Tales of the Dying Earth. I think I liked this installment even better than the first (which I loved). The story is about the adventures and misadventures of a Cugel the "clever," who is a pretty thorough rogue. I suppose he is clever at times, but he can also be stupid. Fortunately for Cugel, he does have some luck (good and bad -- though the bad is of the non-killing sort). I know this is Fantasy, but if you like the historical fict ...more
Stephen
5.0 stars. Jack Vance deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Robery Heinlein. He is a master story teller and, unlike the aforementioned authors, Vance's books do not seem dated and can be read today with the same sense of wonder as when they were first written. The Dying Earth books are special, timeless classics that should be read and enjoyed by all fans of Science fiction. Superb world-building, amazing characters, like Cugel the Clever, and top not ...more
Shelly
I am officially in love with Jack Vance's writing and now I want to add Cugel the Clever among my list of favorite characters. Book 2 of the Dying Earth series follows Cugel as he lies, cheats and steals his way across the Dying Earth in order to find a rare artifact for conniving wizard. Vance's prose is so much fun to read and he has a real talent for writing. I can't believe it took me so long to find him.
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I’ve already said, numerous times, how much I love Jack Vance, so I’ll skip all that this time. You can read other reviews on this page if you missed that.

The Eyes of the Overworld is the second part of Tales of the Dying Earth and the main character is one of my favorite Vance characters: the self-titled Cugel the Clever. Cugel is not the kind of guy you want to have dealings with — he’s clever, sneaky, completely selfish and remorseless. He is always try
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Bryan
An absolute masterpiece of literature. Every word is sublimely exquisite, and reading this book is a sheer pleasure for those who appreciate language. Deft turns of phrase, arcane vocabulary, and humorous (yet adultly gruesome) situations abound in this classic. A simply magnificent and wondrous book - definitely one that should not be missed.

Do NOT delay - get this book and immerse yourself into the most sumptuous writings you'll encounter. But don't read this book when your mind is cluttered -
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John
Unlike "The Dying Earth", which was an interesting but somewhat awkward collection of interlinked stories set in a fantastical far-future earth, "The Eyes of the Overworld", which follows the adventures of 'Cugel the Clever' through magical landscapes and eras, was a much more coherent and enjoyable story.

Either that, or maybe it just took me some time to get used to Vance's outlandish prose and baroque vocabulary, which I found myself enjoying much more in this book.
Jim
This was my reading choice to commemorate the upcoming end of the world on Friday, December 21, 2012, the so-called end of the Mayan calendar according to conspiracy theorists and gullible fools. What better choice than one of jack Vance's The Dying Earth series of stories, in this case the second volume of the series, The Eyes of the Overworld. The series is set in a time when our sun is a red giant and could blink out at any time: Our civilization and most of the civilizations that followed it ...more
William
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike
Sep 17, 2011 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Jack Vance was a great writer in a genre that did not have a lot of respect or wealth during the majority of his life. This is one of the few books of his that I got "new" (vs. from a Used Bookstore) and I was given it to write a review in a student newspaper years and years ago.

It is imaginative, fast-paced and humorous (of the sarcastic variety) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I was aware of (and may have read) the second book of Cugel's adventures, but I did not know that another author
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Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

The Eyes of the Overworld is the second part of Tales of the Dying Earth and the main character is one of my favorite Vance characters: the self-titled Cugel the Clever. Cugel is not the kind of guy you want to have dealings with — he’s clever, sneaky, completely selfish and remorseless. He is always trying to figure out how he can take advantage of other people in order to make his own circumstances better.

In The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel decides to bu
...more
Simon
And so, continuing on with the "Dying Earth" series, this time following in the footsteps of Cugel (the "clever"), a conniving and amoral rogue as he attempts to fulfil a quest he is unwillingly enrolled on by a wizard.

Cugel is an interesting character, an anti-hero and unusual protagonist for a fantasy novel. He is not especially well endowed with any particular skills or abilities (he's not even particularly clever). He is opportunistic and cowardly, quite willing to sacrifice his friends and
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Olethros
-Mucho más picaresca que la primera parte.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. El mercader Fianosther convence a Cugel el Astuto, un ladrón que valora mucho sus propias habilidades personales y técnicas, para que robe en casa de Iucounu el Mago Reidor. Cuando el mago sorprende al ladrón en la faena, a Cugel no le quedará otro remedio que servir a Iucounu buscando unas lentillas violetas de legendario poder, pero para asegurarse la colaboración del ladrón, Iucounu fija al hígado de Cugel
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Hein
If your experience with Fantasy is that it is tediously long, badly written, and always involves some morally-beige quest of good conquering evil, then I urge you to read Jack Vance, and in particular the Dying Earth series (collected in "Tales of the Dying Earth"). His immaculate prose and vast command of the English language creates wonderful conversations between characters and a fascinating glimpse into an old version of Earth, basking in the last rays of the sun. Here we have a few last inh ...more
Johaneth
I found the main character totally unsympathetic. I guess maybe he was supposed to be something of a loveable scamp, but he pretty much just screws over every single person he meets. The ending is good for a larf though...
Riccardo
General description
'The Eyes of the Overworld' is the second book of the 'Dying Earth' saga. It focuses on the person of Cugel and his Odyssey to return home to Almery. If you like fantasy and travel literature, you will enjoy this book! I used the word Odyssey on purpose. Cugel is not an able swordsman or an accomplished wizard. Like Ulysses needs to use his wits to survive in the rough world of the Dying Earth. However, unlike Ulysses, Cugel is an anti-hero: he is petty, selfish and immoral. H
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Vinnie Tesla
Guh.

All the inventiveness of the first Dying Earth volume is still there, all the wonderful language and delicious turns of phrase. The irony is turned up to eleven now, drowning out most of the first volume's sense of wonder. And the protagonist is thoroughly uncongenial company. Greedy, vindictive, by turns duplicitous and startlingly naive, he cuts a wide swathe of death and destruction through the communities he passes through. He has sex three times in the book, of which one instance is con
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Jim
The Eyes of the Overworld is a spectacularly fun picaresque following the adventures of Cugel "the Clever", a rogue living in the times of the Dying Earth billions of years in Earth's future as the sun is approaching death.

Cugel is a complete and utter jerk who goes about his life taking any and every opportunity to take advantage of other people. However, because the far future is a cruel and hostile place, Cugel's antics get him into trouble just as often as his wits (and luck) get him out of
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kaśyap
This is the second book in the “tales of dying Earth” and follows the journey of our protagonist, the self-proclaimed Cugel the clever, across mountains, deserts and seas.

Cugel is a selfish, greedy and a remorseless charlatan. He is capable of performing a lot of despicable and ignoble actions to get himself out of sticky situations. He is filled with a sense of his own greatness and despite his self-proclaimed title, we find Cugel to be gullible and often a victim of a trick himself.

This book l
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Minna
My all time favorite anti-hero, Cugel the Clever! This man rocks and he knows it!
Brad
Aug 20, 2014 Brad marked it as to-read
Shelves: own, rn, rn-1sts, rn-1sts-sf
I'm suprised at how few comments there are about the extent of Vance's vocabulary in The Eyes of the Overworld. Either this is common reading for most folks or they are embarrassed to mention that they needed their dictionaries more often than usual. Enjoying more than The Dying Earth but the word usage is astronomical. I usually enjoy looking up a word or two that I'm not sure of during the course of a book. I have a hard time passing by a word I'm not sure of so I look up the definition. I'm f ...more
Roddy Williams
Sixteen years on from his first ‘Dying Earth’ novel, Vance returns to the Dying Earth to a tale of a quest in search of what are almost literally ‘rose-tinted lenses’ or at least violet-tinted, which have the power to transform all one's perceptions so that one perceives the Overworld in which the gross realities of life are transformed into visions and sensations of beauty.
The hero, or rather antihero, Cugel, is caught attempting to steal from the wizard Iucounu. As a penance, Iucounu sends hi
...more
D-day
Cugel (self proclaimed 'the clever) attempts to burgle the castle of Iucounu the Laughing Magician, but is caught. In punishment Iucounu sends Cugel to obtain one of the fabled Eyes of the Overworld to match one already in the wizard's possession. To ensure Cugel's loyalty Iucounu afixes a sentient alien of barbs and hooks to Cugel's liver. Whenever Cugel wavers from his purpose Firx inflicts him with terrible pain. The story chronicles Cugel's subsequent adventures to obtain the jewel and retur ...more
Morgan
I have really mixed feelings about this. On one hand the book is populated by a number of brilliant vignettes, on the other hand Cugel the Clever is such an unlikable dick that I just about can't stand reading stories with him. In addition, while the first book certainly didn't have any binding plot, everything was tied together thematically. Here, it is just a crap episodic quest story, where the stories are tied together by the fact that Cugel has to move through the world to get back with the ...more
Jordan
After quite enjoying the first in this series, "The Dying Earth" I decided to press on into volume two. I'm sorry I did now as the main character for this volume, alternatively titled 'Cugel the clever'. Sometimes described as "ambiguously appealing", I found he was perhaps the most aggravating character I've had the misfortune to see a story from the P.O.V. of since Steerpike in 'Titus Groan'.

As described by the author, Cugel is "a man of many capabilities, with a disposition at once flexible
...more
Ryan
I've heard mention of Jack Vance and his Dying Earth books more than a few times in fantasy circles, but this is the first work of his that I've read. Now, I can see why writers like George R.R. Martin and Dan Simmons consider him such an influence. Vance was quite imaginative and his droll, literate style of writing set him apart from many of his contemporaries.

This novel offers plenty that dedicated fantasy readers will find appealing. Its hero, Cugel, is a thorough scoundrel who manipulates o
...more
Kirt
I also read more of the Dying Earth novels, two of them: The Eyes of the Overworld and Cugel's Saga.

Unlike Vance's first novel in the setting, these two books focus on a main character: Cugel, a charming but completely amoral man who ends up on a long and complicated quest when he is caught trying to burglarize a wizard's home, and his complicated adventures in attempting to extract revenge on said wizard. Together, both books make up the complete story.

Vance excels at atmosphere; while more coh
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Rob Haug
How to explain Jack Vance? Having read the first two (of four) Dying Earth novels, I think I'm finally starting to get a handle on him. More apt comparisons may be made, but I think of him as biblical in his narrative (much can happen within a few sentences), Greek classical in his characterization, and vivid in a minimalistic way in his descriptive world building. I cannot point to another author, past or present, that has a comparable style.
This is not necessarily the most entertaining read. H
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Tim
Oct 02, 2012 Tim rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
This is the second story of Jack Vance's Dying Earth sequence. I didn't like the first at all, but decided to give the sequence a second chance with this entry.

Like The Dying Earth this is a picaresque tale, with each chapter bearing little relation to the preceding events. Unlike The Dying Earth, this one features a single central character and theme (Cugel the Clever, a trickster trying to make his way home after being send to the ends of the Earth after stealing from the Laughing Magician). T
...more
Joel Flank
The Eyes of the Overworld, by Jack Vance, is the 2nd book set in the Dying Earth series, and in my opinion, this is the book that really sets the tone of the series. While it's set in the same world as The Dying Earth, it shifts from vaguely linked stories featuring different protagonist to a series of stories featuring the misadventures of Cugel the Clever. While there is a overarching story about Cugel seeking revenge on the sorcerer who has caused him a large amount of trouble and pain, the f ...more
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5376
Aka John Holbrooke Vance, Peter Held, John Holbrook, Ellery Queen, John van See, Alan Wade.

The author was born in 1916 and educated at the University of California, first as a mining engineer, then majoring in physics and finally in journalism. During the 1940s and 1950s, he contributed widely to science fiction and fantasy magazines. His first novel, 'The Dying Earth', was published in 1950 to gr
...more
More about Jack Vance...
The Dying Earth Tales of the Dying Earth: The Dying Earth/The Eyes of the Overworld/Cugel's Saga/Rhialto the Marvellous Suldrun's Garden (Lyonesse, #1) The Green Pearl (Lyonesse, #2) Madouc (Lyonesse, #3)

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“I can resolve your perplexity,’ said Fianosther. ‘Your booth occupies the site of the old gibbet, and has absorbed unlucky essences. But I thought to notice you examining the manner in which the timbers of my booth are joined. You will obtain a better view from within, but first I must shorten the chain of the captive erb which roams the premises during the night.’

‘No need,’ said Cugel. ‘My interest was cursory.”
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“Excellent; all is well. The 'everlasting tedium' exactly countervenes the 'immediate onset of death' and I am left only with the 'canker' which, in the person of Firx, already afflicts me. One must use his wits in dealing with maledictions.” 1 likes
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