Appendix N Book Club July 2014:The Dying Earth by jack Vance

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Appendix N Book Club July 2014:The Dying Earth by jack Vance

Post by Wayfaring_Sword » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:07 am

Going to modify the way we are doing this. People have lives and sometimes a book a month is just easier to manage. So for July we are going to tackle "The Dying Earth" by Jack Vance. If you want to pick up a nice collection that also contains "The Eyes of the Overworld," "Cugel's Saga," & " Rhailto the Marvellous" I would suggest "Tales of the Dying Earth" by Jack Vance, published by ORB. We will just be reading the first book in the series at this time.
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Re: Appendix N Book Club July 2014:The Dying Earth by jack V

Post by Doug Kovacs » Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:28 pm

I started with The Eyes of the Overworld. That is the first story with Cugel the Clever in it and the character that Vance spends the most time with.

I think The stuff before that is a kind of hodge podge of smaller stories, but for anyone who wants something to bite their teeth into right off the bat I recommend Eyes of the Overworld. It hooked me. It's easy enough to go backward and forward from there if you have Tales of the Dying Earth with the spaceship looking stuff on the cover. That covers everything. The final stories are more focused on the wizards which are somewhat different from the Cudgel stuff but just as rewarding to read.
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Re: Appendix N Book Club July 2014:The Dying Earth by jack V

Post by Mad Mage » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:08 pm

Double +1 to everything Doug just said. I read The Dying Earth stories in publication order, and it's all good, but The Cugel the Clever stories are when the series really starts to sing!
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Re: Appendix N Book Club July 2014:The Dying Earth by jack V

Post by finarvyn » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:44 am

Doug speaks truth. The first Dying Earth book I ever read was EYES OF THE OVERWORLD and it's still my favorite. That's the best place to start.
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Re: Appendix N Book Club July 2014:The Dying Earth by jack V

Post by Wayfaring_Sword » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:35 am

If you would all prefer to read Vance's The Eyes of the Overworld, that is fine with me.
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Re: Appendix N Book Club July 2014:The Dying Earth by jack V

Post by Brock Samson » Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:43 pm

I'm up for The Eyes of the Overworld, might take me a little time to grab a copy!

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Re: Appendix N Book Club July 2014:The Dying Earth by jack V

Post by Wayfaring_Sword » Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:32 am

Just finished chapter 1. Already Cugel the clever is one of my favorite fantasy characters. This chapter gave me several ideas that will be used in future games.
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Re: Appendix N Book Club July 2014:The Dying Earth by jack V

Post by catseye yellow » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:12 am

i love stranger in a strange land start of the eyes. it is heavy handed but usable in dcc especially for a funnel. for example old uk module eye of the serpent uk module starts with pcs being carried of to a distant mountain peak by a roc and than they have to get down that mountain.

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Re: Appendix N Book Club July 2014:The Dying Earth by jack V

Post by Randall » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:36 am

Eyes of the Overworld was a great pick! It's maybe my favorite Appendix N title and certainly my favorite Vance novel. There's so much inspiration for a DCC game, from the amulet that makes anything edible but does nothing to help the taste (I wonder how much less trouble Cugel would have gotten himself into if he carried a bottle of hot sauce) to the weird civilization of a million years past. That's without getting into the complete lack of morality of almost every character coupled with their ornate style of speech, which is what makes it a Dying Earth book. If you haven't read this, do yourself a favor.

What should we read next month? If I can make a recommendation, I'd like to read either Almuric (which I have not read yet) or A Princess of Mars in honor of the Purple Planet kickstarter.

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Re: Appendix N Book Club July 2014:The Dying Earth by jack V

Post by Wayfaring_Sword » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:56 pm

Princess of Mars....it has been years since I read that.
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Re: Appendix N Book Club July 2014:The Dying Earth by jack V

Post by jozxyqk » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:02 pm

Everyone should read everything by Vance.* I have to at least take mock offence that Doug referred to The Dying Earth as "a kind of hodge podge." It really represents one of the greater feats of literature/creativity in the 20th century. Also Vance conceived/wrote it on a clipboard ... On the deck of a freighter in the South Pacific ... While serving in the merchant marine during World War II ... In his 20s(!). So that's awesome. It's maybe not as immediately accessible as Eyes of the Overworld (which is superb in its own right), but I think there is greater profundity there.

But in any event, if you liked EotO, you should definitely read the next Dying Earth book, Cugel's Saga (recently retitled "Cugel: The Skybreak Spatterlight"). It is very similar to EotO in plot and also stars Cugel, but I think even funnier and better. Buy Vance's stuff in non-DRM ebooks at http://www.jackvance.com . Because Vance was writing at a time when Sci-fi/fantasy writers were looked down upon even more than they are now, some of his stuff was truly butchered in the editorial process as originally published. In the early 2000s, a bunch of crazy people got together with Vance and re-edited literally everything he ever wrote to remove the liberties and restore everything consistent with Vance's intent. The ebooks at jackvance.com are the correct versions. They also published the remarkable "Vance Integral Edition"--a collection of all Vance's work that now sells on ebay for more than $3k. I regrettably did not subscribe to it when it was originally published.

If you're looking for other stuff by Vance, Vance's one true fantasy saga is Lyonesse which is a masterpiece. If you like Daniel Bishop's take on faerie in adventures like The Revelation of Mulmo, you should absolutely read Lyonesse--lots of great stuff to mine there. But you should also just read it because it's amazing. One of my personal favorites is Showboat World -- it's a picaresque like Eyes of the Overworld, but set on a distant planet colonized in the future. The planet is so metal poor there's not much technology, and the story focuses on travelling "Showboats" that go up and down the River Lune putting on shows for all sorts of bizarre (but compelling) societies.

*Well, almost everything. There are a few that aren't quite up to Vancean standards. With that much production it's hard to imagine that there wouldn't be. Also a lot of Vance's earlier stuff in particular suffers from an attitude towards women that is -- archaic to put it gently. I can see it being tough to read as a woman when almost every single female character exists only as an object of desire for the male hero. He got better in later works.

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