Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mazarian the Magician

Been reading Jack Vance's Tales from the Dying Earth this morning. A friend recommended it to me on Google+.

Interesting book. I wasn't completely sold on it until I read that it had inspired some of Michael Moorcock's work, but now that I've started, the thing is like some kind of fanstasy fever-dream. 

While we're talking, can I mention that I was practically the only asshole riding his bike through the blistering cold in the Park this morning?  I saw one rather serious-looking rider and one other commuter, and that was it. 

Also: why does it feel like the air is thicker when it's cold, and why is the wind always in my face?  Argh. 

Anyway, it's a slow-looking Thursday and almost Christmas, so the pre-Holiday malaise is on in full in the City. So that's all I got for today. 

What's up with you?


  1. I put that book on my wishlist. It got great reviews. It's $18.25 for a collection of the first four books on Bound together in one book. I read Altered Carbon and the one after that one. Both were good reads, but I wanted to read something lighter afterwards. I felt kind of depressed reading how people are still power hungry idiots even in the future. Human nature I guess.

    I'm in Southern California, so a cold day is anything below 60 degrees. On the other hand, I always feel worst if I don't workout. Do you have any type of indoor alternative?

    Why yes, I am on winter break, so I have time to read your blog and make comments. :D

    1. I'll be interested to see what you think of The Dying Earth.

      Jack Vance is famous for being the guy who inspired the magic system behind Dungeons and Dragons. When people describe "Vancian" magic, they're talking about the concept that a mage or wizard can memorize a set number of spells per day, depending on their complexity. Which makes a lot of sense in Vance's novels but not so much, necessarily, within the many iterations of D&D and its various rulesets.

      As I said in the post, I also think they're a lot of similarities between Vance's work and Michael Moorecock's, both of whom have a distinctly different fantasy sense than, say, Tolkein or his many, many followers. D&D is mostly Tolkeinesque, so it's a little weird reading through the Vance stories, which very obviously influenced the actual design of the game and some of its early world-building fiction.

      Anyway, I wouldn't say that Vance's stuff would appeal to everyone, but it's not without its charms. Like I said, I'll be curious to see what a non-nerd makes of it.