Jack Vance’s Dying Earth stories portray the exploits of characters ranging from vat-grown beauties to wandering scoundrels to vainglorious magicians, who eat, drink, gamble, explore, and cheat their way through what is widely presumed to be the final era of history. Above them, the sun has reddened and grown spotty with age; all assume it will soon extinguish itself. The cities of the Dying Earth are places of exotic and decadent beauty. Strange foods and bizarre clothing are commonplace. The world is littered with forgotten ruins and plagued by dangerous predators. Only the foolhardy or powerful venture far from the safety of their communities. The latter group is intimately familiar with arcane secrets of magic, which, though wondrous and impressive, are mere shadows of the achievement of previous ages.
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