I’ve always thought that Cugel the Clever (aka The Eyes of the Overworld) is the perfect Jack Vance novel. All of his strengths as a writer are on display here. Thus begins the saga of Cugel the not-so-Clever and the not-at-all-nice. We are given ample opportunities to dislike him. Similarly Cugel is. Cugel the Clever is one of the great archetypal figures in SF literature, the vain trickster in Jack Vance’s post-apocalyptic Dying Earth stories.
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Cugel comes across many new strange things: Why is Jack Vance so awesome? I especially liked those portions where Cugel would engage in insult battles with other characters. It pays for website hosting, postage for giveaways, and bookmarks and t-shirts.
If you changed the place names and a very few references to particular monsters and spells you’d never know that this was connected to the rest of the series. I also read more of the Dying Earth novels, two of them: Set up a giveaway. This is Vance at his classic best.
When in another book the characters might come to blows here they are more likely to reach for legal precedent. Strung together in a novel like this, you end up on a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, in which each peak of “Yay! She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. I hide under valances and in the leaves of outdoor bowers; I crouch on roofs; I wander through sleeping houses.
Bloody violence and killing this time are mainly restricted to people who are trying to do the same to Cugel – or, indeed, to others, since Cugel actually occasionally acts on alutristic impulses this time – the most notable exception being Iucounu, but then again it seems clear that Iucounu was about to do something completely appalling when Cugel intervenes and by stopping him Cugel might have saved the world.
Overall you see Cugel’s movement toward his return and hoped for revenge, but you also see Cugel’s development as a character. Cugel tossed over the jewel.
Vance often infuses wry or sardonic humor into situations that involve Cugel. The books share only two characters, and as I’ve mentioned, they’re almost the same book anyway.
Essay on Cugel the Clever – by Alan Robson
For punishment he is placed in a dungeon like temple in the ground where he is suppose to confess his crimes to the giant demon named Phampoun.
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Vance gets too bogged down with the world-building and detailing the various oddjobs available in his dying Earth. One of the defining features of Jack Vance’s work is his invention of fictional ethnologies, which encompass culinary, sartorial, marital, economic, architectural, musical, jurisprudential, social etc. Cuglel’s Saga opens where the first book left off, with Cugel on a beach, a world away from his home. If he clevre to survive, Cugel te have to live up to his epithet “the Clever” and use his wits to try to outsmart or trick Phampoun and Pulsifer.
As I mentioned in my review of Songspeople don’t actually treat this as much of a big deal; those with the capacity to travel to other worlds or dimensions such as the mysterious realm of Embelyon will doubtless do so once the Sun finally goes out, but even then people do not give much thought to such contingency plans.
Annemarie van Ewijck, publisher: Reminded me of,” Hercules, My Shipmate. A chance to win the big prize at a magical fair with his display of a wormwhole to another dimension turns nasty when Cugel messes with the stuff dreams are made off. Cugel’s Saga is currently available in a Kindle edition and apparently a trade paperback edition from Orb Books as part of the collection called Tales of the Dying Earth.
After reading Cugel’s SagaI figure Vance knew he had a good character, and any revisiting would have marred his amazingly amoral creation. In the previous novel Cugel had attempted to cast a spell upon others but because of a “misplaced pervulsion” he ended up sending himself across the Ocean of Sighs to the far northern sea where he sat on the beach called Shanglestone Strand looking out across the sea.
Ferretbrain – It Might Be Dying But It’s Still a Naughty Earth
More importantly, was the creature edible? Which makes it near impossible for me to write reviews about his best works.
I’m not sure if this is an improvement or not over the second in the series. When I say the writing has improved, Celver refer to the fact that I didn’t have to perform the dictionary dance as often: In the sequel Cugel is no longer gazing across the sea but has stood up and is striding back and forth, shouting and cursing.
It is one of Vance’s finest and most creative fantasy novels and is highly recommended. The local people think he is calling their work useless and challenging a tradition that has been continued for many centuries. His darting eye, long inquisitive nose and droll mouth gave his somewhat lean and thf face an expression of vivacity, candor, and affability.
In the novel the episode is longer and more elaborate, and reveals Cugel to be not only gullible, but also capable of thoroughly tne actions: He uses the ship to cugep a caravan to cross the desert and sells tickets to passengers who want a room and passage on his stolen ship. While still not a hero, our Cugel isn’t a complete monster, acting more like a karmic deliverer.
Cugel’s Saga – Wikipedia
For instance, in one village social status is denoted lcever the height of columns upon which husbands spend the day basking in the limited sunlight, the higher the better, and all the schemes of the wives to get their husbands higher in the world. I will reflect carefully upon the matter. Jack Vance has written a very dive Cugel the clever is a Puck-ish rogue who, at the opening of this book, is in a difficult situation – stranded on the the muddy shores of a far away land – at the hands of his nemesis, The Laughing Magician, Iucounu.
The Skybreak Cgel At the conclusion of The Eyes of the OverworldCugel’s ineptitude at magic allowed Iucounu cleved banish him once again to the very beach he was dispatched to at the start of the whole fiasco, without Firx or a mission to dignify Cugel’s exile with a purpose. The cuyel exists solely to confirm Vance as a boring old reactionary and to reiterate that Moorcock’s End of Time is a much cooler destination at least for the main three novels for time travellers holidaying at terminal Earths than this particular iteration of the Dying Earth.
Second verse, same as the first. Open Preview See a Problem?