Jack Vance - Cugel the Clever
|Cugel the Clever
cover art by Li-An
Iucounu the Laughing Magician dispatches unwilling Cugel on a difficult quest, to deliver a violet glass cusp worn in the overworld by warring demons of the eighteenth aeon. Cugel's trials and adventures are diverse as he makes his way from Shanglestone Strand back to Almery, and his revenge upon Iucounu.
The Dying Earth
Cugel the Clever is part 2 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.