Songs of the Dying Earth

George R.R. Martin has announced that he and Gardner Dozois have put together a Jack Vance tribute anthology called Songs of the Dying Earth.

From GRRM’s news page:

I’m thrilled to be able to announce that we have just sold Songs of the Dying Earth, a tribute anthology dedicated to the genius of Jack Vance featuring brand new stories from twenty-one of today’s leading fantasists, set against the sinking lands and swollen red sun of Vance’s Dying Earth, a universe that ranks with Tolkien’s Middle Earth and Howard’s Hyborian Age among fantasy aficionados.

We’ve assembled an all-star lineup of contributors for the book, we think. Songs of the Dying Earth will feature original stories from Dan Simmons, Robert Silverberg, Michael Moorcock, Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Hand, John C. Wright, Glen Cook, Jeff Vandermeer, Neil Gaiman, Paula Volsky, Tad Williams, Howard Waldrop, Michael Shea, Mike Resnick, and a host of other terrific writers and hardcore Jack Vance junkies, some of whom offered us their firstborn children for the chance to be a part of this project. And yes, I plan on doing a story for the book myself (after I finish A Dance With Dragons). Jack Vance and his representatives have been so kind as to give us permission to use Jack’s characters as well, so longtime fans can expect to appearances from Cugel the Clever, Chun the Unavoidable, T’sain and T’sais, and other favorites.

Tor will be publishing the trade editions in the United States, and HarperCollins Voyager in the United Kingdom. In addition, Subterranean Press will produce two special editions for the collector’s market — a deluxe illustrated hardcover of 1500 copies, and an even-more-deluxe signed, numbered, limited, illustrated, slipcased edition of 500 copies. The numbered edition will be signed by both editors, all the participating writers, and Jack Vance himself. And I’m delighted to be able to announce that both Subterranean editions will include extensive interior illustration by the award-winning artist Charles Vess. A Dutch edition is also in the works, and we expect many more foreign editions; Jack Vance has fans and readers all over the world.

A project this big can’t be put together overnight, of course. Look for Songs of the Dying Earth some time in 2009.

7 thoughts on “Songs of the Dying Earth”

  1. a universe that ranks with Tolkien’s Middle Earth and Howard’s Hyborian Age among fantasy aficionados.

    I must not be an aficionado, as I have never heard of Vance’s Dying Earth.

  2. Sounds really cool! And the writer roster is impressive. It’s only missing Gene Wolfe to be absolutely perfect.

    There was a similar project to write stories set in Clark Ashton Smith’s Zothique setting, titled The Last Continent: New Tales of Zothique. (Smith’s work greatly influenced Vance’s, by the way.)

    The only thing that bothers me a little is the possible reuse of characters. Wouldn’t it feel a bit fan-fictiony? I would much prefer that the authors created their own characters and stories, all the while trying to evoke a “Dying Earth feeling” and maybe even conveying a bit of Vance’s bleak vision oh human affairs (or challenging it, or commenting on it).

  3. I second the comment about Gene Wolfe.  LeGuin would also have been a nice addition but Wolfe seems essential to a Vance tribute.

  4. Unfortunately, found out about this after all copies were sold. Amazon was not on the ball: made all sorts of weird recommendations for me, books I had no interest in, but when this anthology came out, which I would have been interested in, based on previous purchases, I did not hear a d___ word about it from them. Now the only way to get a copy is to pay thru the nose for it. Well, just one more of life’s frustrations!

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