Jack Vance - Mazirian the Magician
|Mazirian the Magician
cover art by Li-An
Jack Vance's masterpiece Mazirian the Magician (originally published in 1950 as The Dying Earth) has 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). The book contains six works of loosely-connected fantasy short fiction including "Turjan of Miir", "Mazirian the Magician", "T'sais", "Liane the Wayfarer", "Ulan Dhor", and "Guyal of Sfere". Set in a bizarre, darkly beautiful far future near the very end of Earth’s lifespan, wizards duel with spells of dreadful potency under a waning, almost burnt-out red sun. A must-read for any fan of fantasy.
The Dying Earth
Mazirian the Magician is part 1 of 4 of The Dying Earth
The stories of the Dying Earth series are set in the distant future, at a point when the sun is almost exhausted and magic has reasserted itself as a dominant force. The various civilizations of Earth have collapsed for the most part into decadence. The Earth is mostly barren and cold, and has become infested with various predatory monsters (possibly created by a magician in a former age).
The Moon has disappeared and the Sun is in danger of burning out at any time. A certain fatalism characterizes many of the inhabitants as a consequence.
The series shows the influence of the picaresque tale, applied to a science fiction/fantasy setting.