Jack Vance, sorted by year written
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Contains the following stories:
- Turjan of Miir
- Mazirian the Magician
- Liane the Wayfarer
- Ulan Dhor
- Guyal of Sfere
According to Foreverness, the original title of the collection (The Dying Earth) was strongly disapproved by Vance. Later published under the title Mazirian the Magician. Vance also preferred a different order (starting with the similarly titled “Mazirian the Magician”) for the stories from the one originally used.
Vance wrote the stories while serving in de Pacific as a merchant seaman, during the Second World War. Foreverness writes:
Thought to be influenced by various writers; influences actually mentioned by author include: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jeffery Farnol, P. G. Wodehouse and L. Frank Baum; from The Emerald City of Oz: The Phanfasms were Erbs, and so dreaded by mortals and immortals alike that no one had been near their mountain home for several thousand years. Other interesting Oz echoes occur. [ref]
Jackvance.com asserts that the stories have...
...inspired generations of fantasy writers- from Gene Wolfe and Michael Moorcock, to Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin- and has deeply influenced today’s realms of graphic novels, comics, and fantasy role-playing games (in particular, Dungeons & Dragons). [ref]
See also the Wikipedia article.
Republished as Mazirian the Magician, Spatterlight, 2012
Comment: It’s a bit unclear to what genre this story exactly belongs (unless one reads SF simply as Speculative Fiction).
The affair had occurred five years previously. The house was abandoned and perhaps inevitably there was talk of haunting. Jean explicitly corroborated these reports. The group had been jocular, skylarking, inviting ghosts to the feast: all ostensibly casual and careless, but all inwardly thrilling to the spooky look of the house, and the memory of the macabre killing. Jean had noticed a flickering of red light at the window of the living room. She had assumed it to be a reflection of the fire, then had looked again. There was no glass in the window. Others noticed; there were squeals and squeaks from the girls. All rose to their feet. Inside the living room, clearly visible, hung a body, twisting and writhing, clothed in flames. And from within came a series of agonized throat-wrenching sobs.
Republished in Sail 25 and Other Stories, Spatterlight, 2012.