Monday, 30 January 2012

Songs of the Dying Earth edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

The Year Of The Short Story (Pt 1)
Review by The Mole

2012 is, officially, the year of the short story so maybe it's time to revisit some of those short story collections that are gathering dust.

With the birth of e-readers and the decline of the hardback novel the opportunity for people to read a whole story during a morning commute may mean a return to reading by people. Let's hope that works for at least some people.

This particular collection is written by a group of science fiction writers of repute who feel that they have read, enjoyed and been influenced by Jack Vance. The Dying Earth was Vance's first novel which he wrote while working in the merchant navy and is a book that I haven't read. Each of these stories has been set on that dying world.

The first contributor is Robert Silverberg, possibly one of the more universally known writers who has quite a list of stories and awards to his name. I have read many stories by both authors over the years and enjoyed their worlds, times and events.

The True Vintage Of Erzuine Thale by Robert Silverberg

Puillane of Ghusz is a poet. Well, not just a poet, but a celebrated poet, celebrated as the greatest and most prolific poet alive. He is also a man expecting the planet to die imminently. This constant expectation of the sun's death breeds in him a depression that leads him to drink. But the local wines are rather special and when drinking the poetry spills forth like an uncorked barrel. In his wine cellar is a bottle of the most special wine that there ever was, The True Vintage Of Erzuine Thale. This particular bottle he is waiting to open until the sun actually goes out because he believes that if he drinks it then then the greatest poem ever written will pour from him. All his property is protected by magic and this bottle especially so. Travellers come to see him but will they persuade him to open the bottle early?

Truly a good opening to the collection this story delivers much of it's enjoyment through the telling as all good stories should although to say more would be to give spoilers. And as a first story in the collection it sets the scene and treats the reader to the delights of both Vance and Silverberg leaving the reader with high expectations for what is to come from the rest of the collection.

Publisher - Voyager
Genre -
Science Fiction, Fantasy, Short Story

Buy Songs of the Dying Earth from Amazon

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