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
It must be, I tell myself, that both objectivity and subjectivity enter into the situation. I receive impressions which my brain finds unfamiliar, and so translates to the concept most closely related. By this theory the inhabitants of this world are constantly close; I move unknowingly through their palaces and arcades; they dance incessantly around me. As my mind gains sensitivity, I verge upon rapport with their way of life and I see them. More exactly, I sense something which creates an image in the visual region of my brain. Their emotions, the pattern of their life sets up a kind of vibration which sounds in my brain as music...The reality of these creatures I am sure I will never know. They are diaphane, I am flesh; they live in a world of spirit, I plod the turf with my heavy feet.
Republished in The World-Thinker and Other Stories, Spatterlight, 2012.
Comment: A “twilight zone” short story.
“My partner, Andy Seguilo, disappeared vanished into nowhere; I’m alone out here.”
Superintendent Flint looked shocked. “Disappeared? What happened? Did he fall into the ocean?”
Republished in Golden Girl and Other Stories, Spatterlight 2012.
Out on the plain one of the Organisms, Alpha, sat down, caught a handful of air, a globe of blue liquid, a rock, kneaded them together, pulled the mixture like taffy, gave it a great heave. It uncoiled from his hand like rope. The Relict crouched low. No telling what deviltry would occur to the creature. He and all the rest of them unpredictable! The Relict valued their flesh as food; but the Organisms would eat him if opportunity offered. In the competition he was at a great disadvantage. Their random acts baffled him. If, seeking to escape, he ran, the worst terror would begin. The direction he set his face was seldom the direction the varying frictions of the ground let him move. But the Organisms were as random and uncommitted as the environment, and the double set of disorders sometimes compounded, sometimes canceled each other. In the latter case the Organism might catch him...It was inexplicable. But then, what was not? The word ‘explanation’ had no meaning.
Republished in The Moon Moth and Other Stories, Spatterlight, 2012
The scouts approached at breakneck speed, at the last instant flinging their horses sidewise. Long shaggy legs kicked out, padlike hooves plowed through the moss. The scouts jumped to the ground, ran forward. “The way to Ballant Keep is blocked!”
Republished as The Miracle Workers by Spatterlight, 2012.