mtvessel: (Default)
Dec 2014
Tales of the Dying Earth - Jack Vance - Gollancz, 2002
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The four books of the Dying Earth series form one of the great fantasy sequences of the twentieth century. They have been hugely influential, not least in the bizarre magic system of the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game which steals the idea of a spell erasing itself from your memory once spoken, forcing a magician to re-learn it before it can be used again (a handy way to stop magic from becoming overpowered, but frustrating for the player who ends up with nothing to do once they have used all their spells for the day. My magic-user character used to carry a set of cheerleader pom-poms that he would get out and wave to encourage the other players when there was nothing more he could do in a fight.)

So I wanted to like them. I really did. Jack Vance is a great stylist with a wonderful vocabulary and one of the most inventive imaginations in SF. But his characters, oh dear.
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