- Gebundene Ausgabe
- Verlag: Gregg Pr (Juni 1977)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0839823665
- ISBN-13: 978-0839823667
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 23,2 x 16,7 x 2,8 cm
Anti-hero of this decaying world is Cugel, raconteur and self-serving everyman. Through the caprice of a magician Cugel is sent to a far-flung corner of the Dying Earth to retrieve items that the magician covets. His return, if it is to be effected, will be by any means that he can manage.
Vance's descriptions of his world are vivid. The plot is picaresque and linear and Cugel's motivation(s) to get home adds momentum to the tale. Vance's underlying philosopy may seem mordant to those raised on the Hollywood ethos, but the reader eventually realizes that no one cares for Cugel but Cugel. The Dying Earth stories take up an oft-neglected theme in literature; that of the individual against everything. Antagonists abound and surcease of life's travails seems almost impossibly far off.
However, what really distinguishes Vance's work is his use of dialogue. Best described as mannerist, characters speak in an archaic, overly-detailed mode that is at the same time descriptive, emotionally evocative., and humorous. While a pleasure to read, it is doubtful that this dialogue could ever be convincingly spoken. Accordingly, one should not expect audiobook formats of Vance's work anytime soon.
'Eyes of the Overworld' is followed by the excellent 'Cugel's Saga' wherin the same plot is reworked in an entirely different way. The other main component of the Dying Earth stories is a collection of short stories with the same name as the title of the series. The series is not for everyone, especially those who favor Harlequin-type plots and characters.
In the annals of fiction, Cugel is without doubt in a class by himself. He is anti-hero rather than hero - egotistical beyond belief, selfish beyond all doubt, vain as a peacock, and with an inflated sense of self-worth that would put a greek god to shame.
Caught in an attempt to steal from a powerful wizard, Cugel is exiled rather than slain, sent by that very magician on an impossible quest halfway around the world. In a world populated by monsters, madmen, magicians and mayhem, Cugel's odds for success are almost non-existent. Added to his burden is the fact that the magician, in an attempt to spur Cugel to success, has attached a demonic creature to Cugel's spleen; if Cugel delays overlong in accomplishing his mission, the creature will kill him. But Cugel, who aptly styles himself "Cugel the Clever" is nothing if not resourceful; with pluck, bravado and Narcissian vanity, he sets about accomplishing his mission via outrageous schemes and outlandish scams.
In short, the book is an absolute delight; laced with action, humor, and magic, it is an easy read that you won't easily forget and won't want to end.
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