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Date: Mon, 20 May 2002 13:39:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jerry Friedman 
Subject: RE: (urth) Vancean  influence on Wolfe

--- Dan'l Danehy-Oakes  wrote:
> > In addition, I think it is important to isolate TDE from
> > the other Vancean "Dying Earth" novels: TDE has an
> > "earnest" quality, maybe something like sombre-mode Dunsany, 
> Bingbingbingbingbing! I found myself thinking "Dunsanean" (or,
> occasionally, less flattering: "Bad imitation Dunsany") over
> and over again while going through TDE -- especially the Dunsany
> of "The Castle of the Gnolls" and the story of "Chu-Bu and 
> Sheemish."
> > that is burlesqued in the other novels in a way closer to that
> > of joking-mode Clark Ashton Smith (as opposed to decadent-mode,
> > which is the voice CAS used in most of his Zothique stories).
> (I really need to read those sometime...)
> So are the other Dying Earth novels, uh, better? Or to put it
> differently: do they have more of the gentle irony I tend to
> associate with Vance?

I feel about them the way people who dislike BotNS feel about *it*:
a thoroughly unsympathetic character goes through one pointless
episode after another.  There was enough invention (I certainly
can't criticize Vance on that score!), and of course the questions
of whether Cugel and Rhialto would ultimately succeed, to keep me

It's sort of like BotNS without the aspects I like, or Pratchett's
Rincewind novels without the jokes (though I think admirers of
Vance find the later three Dying Earth novels funny).

Jerry Friedman

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