[Epub] ➚ The Eyes of the Overworld By Jack Vance – Lectinshield.co.uk

The Eyes of the Overworld chapter 1 The Eyes of the Overworld , meaning The Eyes of the Overworld , genre The Eyes of the Overworld , book cover The Eyes of the Overworld , flies The Eyes of the Overworld , The Eyes of the Overworld bf61dd15ce1d2 Scoundrel Cugel Is Sent Far Away, By A Magician He Has Wronged, To Retrieve Magical Lenses That Reveal The Overworld Goaded By A Homesick Monster Magically Attached To His Liver, He Journeys Across Wastelands Home To Almery With A Cult Group On A Pilgrimage, He Crosses The Silver Desert, And Meets Danger And Betrayal As He Betrays Others


10 thoughts on “The Eyes of the Overworld

  1. says:

    Underneath the fading sun, Cugel a hero emerges Well, sort of a hero, but of a trickster Less Hector, Ulysses less Samson, Jacob less Tom, and a lot Huck Cugel, however, is less likable than any of the these Selfish, exploitative, and filled with unlimited self regard, he continually overestimates his own considerable intelligence and fails where a lesser man might have succeeded.Paradoxically, it is Cugel s flaws and failures that keep us on his side during his picaresque journey, and his personality helps organize what might otherwise seem a disconnect series of tales Vance s prose is still eccentric but fluid than in the previous Dying Earth collection, and his imagination continues to astound his descriptions of landscapes, individual flora and fauna are mesmerizing, and his plot inventions particular the eyes mentioned in the title are a source of continual delight.


  2. says:

    Tales of a trickster god.Like stories about Anansi, Coyote and Loki Jack Vance describes the misadventures of Cugel the Clever in picaresque fashion Set in Vance s far, far future world of the The Dying Earth, in his inimitable style blending elements of science fiction and fantasy, this 1966 publication is at times hilarious but always entertaining.While reading I smiled frequently and laughed out loud at least a couple of times and Vance made me think about the irascible nature of loveable rogues No doubt from time immemorial, their have been stories about those who think outside the box, those who march to the beat of a different drummer, who for all purposes make their own rules and make the rest of us insane, make us roll our eyes and smirk.My wife and I raised three boys and there were times when, as parents, we needing to punish a child for some behavior I can recall many times when, even amidst the scolding, I had to turn my head so the little imp would not see me smile What is it about mischievous comportment that draws the grudging veneration from us all at some time or another Is it a latent sense of respect for creativity Are we inside at least a little jealous or admiring of those who can set convention aside and accomplish outside of rules what we wish we could Reading Vance s story, I thought of the fascination with outlaws and criminals, of the charisma of gangsters and ne er do wells Vance, in describing Cugel, has hit the nail on the head of a true anti hero and Vance with his tongue in cheek wit and his subtle humor is uniquely qualified to deliver such a work.A must read for Vance fans, this is just fun reading and let me opine that American readers who do not quite get Sir Terry Pratchett s British humor, may enjoy Vance s quirky writing.


  3. says:

    I have already gushed enthusiastic about the opening volume in the Dying Earth epic It seems I should have kept some of the hyperbole in reserve for later books, as the appeal of the setting and of the characters show no sign of slacking with this second book It s also interesting to note that the saga of Cugel the Clever is not simply an iteration of a success formula In many ways it is an improvement over the experiments in style from the first book.For one thing, the book is better structured, with a framing story of the hero being sent on a quest and a sequence of related picaresque adventures as Cugel traverses exotic lands and meets monsters, maidens, ghosts, flying men, pygmies, giants, grotesque mutants and magic adepts Concentrating on a single main character also helps, as there s no need to introduce and establish a new face in every episode What lands lie between us and Almery They are wide and dangerous and peopled by gids, erbs, and deodands, as well as leucomorphs, ghouls and grues Otherwise I am ignorant If we survive the journey, it will be a miracle indeed For a second thing, the presentation is less melancholic and resigned to a doomed future Cugel is a lot pro active about saving his skin and getting ahead in the rat race The book is a lot funnier that I expected, often in a subtle, sarcastic way, as the self annointed Clever scoundrel gets tricked time and time again I would make a last observation on general approach it seems that once the worldbuilding was established with the first collection, the author felt less need to include the science fiction elements flying cars, underground data centers, nanotechnology, cloning tanks etc and the new saga is almost pure sword sorcery fun Cugel was a man of many capabilities, with a disposition at once flexible and pertinacious He was long of leg, deft of hand, light of finger, soft of tongue His hair was the blackest of black fur, growing low down his forehead, coving sharply back above his eyebrows His darting eye, long inquisitive nose and droll mouth gave his somewhat lean and bony face an expression of vivacity, candor, and affability He had known many vicissitudes, gaining therefrom a suppleness, a fine discretion, a mastery of both bravado and stealth Word of the day, kids Pertinacious 1 a adhering resolutely to an opinion, purpose, or design b perversely persistent 2 stubbornly tenacious Sound like a swell hero in this first presentation, does he not I m not well enough versed in Jack Vance lore to say whether Cugel is a typical hero or not for the author, but he sure makes for a memorable scoundrel Usually, when we say anti heroes, we refer to grumpy, cankerous, reluctant fighters who hide a heart of gold and who are ultimately ready to sacrifice themselves for some cause or some friend Not so with Cugel, who manages to be thoroughly self absorbed and without any moral scruples From the opening sequence where he casually tries to rob a powerful wizard only to get caught and sent on the main quest to recover a magical lens, Cugel will thoroughly demolish the myth of the noble Knight Errant by lying through his teeth, cheating at dice and cards, cowardly pushing other people in front when it comes to fighting, bashing innocent people on the head, selling the ladies he meets in bondage, leading a bunch of gullible pilgrims to their death, and on an on Yet, I have come to enjoy following the rascal around, mostly because his schemes usually go awry and he gets tricked in his turn Here s just one example of the sneaky sense of humor to be found in these pages Cugel tries to get a free meal and nympharium privileges from a wizard the wizard tries to discourage him I will gladly perform a comprehensive divination, though the process requires six to eight hours So long asked Cugel in astonishment, This is the barest minimum First you are swathed head to foot in the intestines of fresh killed owls, then immersed in a warm bath containing a number of secret organic substances I must, of course, char the small toe of your left foot, and dilate your nose sufficiently to admit an explorer beetle, that he may study the conduits leading to and from your sensorium But let us return to my divinatory, that we may commence the process in good time Uhmm, Thanks, but no thanks The use of language is superb throughout the volume, a little toned down in terms of polychrome psychedelic landscapes but with a jocular bent in the dialogue and in the pseudo scientifical theories Since like subsumes like, the variates and intercongeles create a suprapullulation of all areas, qualities and intervals into a crystorrhoid whorl, eventually exciting the ponentiation of a pro ubietal chute I guess that s a wizard explaining how a summoning spell works, or the operating principle of a washing machine, I can t remember precisely Beyond the picaresque adventures, there are deeper meanings for the reader that wants to discover them in the text The central quest sends Cugel to a village where all the inhabitants live in squalor, but also wear all wear rose tinted glasses that permit them to look upon the Overworld I dimly recall that I inhabit a sty and devour the coarsest of food but the subjective reality is that I inhabit a glorious palace and dine on splendid viands among the princes and princesses who are my peers It is explained thus the demon Underherd looked from the sub world to this one we look from this to the Overworld, which is the quintessence of human hope, visionary longing, and beatific dream We who inhabit this world how can we think of ourselves as other than splendid lords This is how we are This ecosystem is not self supporting, so a second village must exist, where peasants toil for years in the hope oneday they will inherit one of the magical lenses If you want, you might look upon it as a metaphor of the American Dream you might live in the gutter, but one day you too could live in the house on the top of the hill, eating posh food and hobnobbing with the jet set, looking at the world through distoring glasses and seeing only beauty and happiness all around.Another recurring theme for Vance is religious intolerance and faith as a con game In the first book, there was an island with two warring sects Here there s a group of pilgrims discussing their varied points of view around campfires and during a river journey A hilarious anti young earth argument develops The so called Funambulous Evangels, who, refusing to place their feet upon the ground, went about their tasks by tightrope In a curt voice Lodermulch exposed the fallacies of this particular doctrine They reckon the age of the earth at twenty nine eons, rather than the customary twenty three They stipulate that for every square ell of soil two and one quarter million men have died and laid down their dust, thus creating a dank and ubiquitous mantle of lich mold, upon which it is sacrilege to walk True to his character, Cugel is using his silvered tongue to make it look like he is one of the pilgrims, only to offer another opportunity to Vance to showcase his sarcastic sense of humor And you, Cugel the Clever, for once you are reticent What is your belief It is somewhat inchoate, Cugel admitted I have assimilated a variety of viewpoints, each authoritative in its own right from the priests at the Temple of Teleologues from a bewitched bird who plucked messages from a box from a fasting anchorite who drank a bottle of pink elixir which I offered him in jest The resulting visions were contradictory but of great profundity My world scheme, hence, is syncretic The ending is superb, I can t tell you much about it without spoiling the fun, but it is a typical Cugel messy project, one I believe would make a great Pink Panther or Monty Python skit On to the third book.


  4. says:

    Whereas Vance s previous volume in the The Dying Earth series was composed of several short stories, each featuring a different character, The Eyes of the Overworld focuses on one character, Cugel the Clever Though the book is episodic in nature each story was published separately over the course of a couple of years before being compiled in this volume , the character is consistent And while the characters in The Dying Earth were capably presented in their individual stories, Cugel the Clever is featured in every story in this volume.And rightfully so The character that Vance has created here deserves, nay, needs a lengthy format to shine Vance is able to extrude the subtleties if they can be called that of his main character with this form because Cugel is, if not clever, complex Well, he is clever from time to time or, appropriately, cunning, but there are several times when he fancies himself much clever than he actually is Still, he is no clown This presents a wonderful Wodehousian dynamic to the whole book In a nutshell, it is rather funny throughout The section that I will call The Lodermulch Ruse had me laughing aloud, and demonstrated one instance in which Cugel s ability to improvise proved brilliant Still, his mis steps make me think that Sergio Aragones must have read this work before penning his comic Groo The Wanderer If anything, the title clever should have been reserved for Vance, not Cugel, though Vance s use of the title for Cugel shows some genius.Cugel, caught in the act of thievery from the powerful magician Iocounu, The Laughing Magician, is forced on a quest for items of interest to Iocounu To ensure cooperation, a small demonic, alien being named Firx is affixed to Cugel s liver Firx, a la the bomb implant in Snake Plissken in the movie Escape from New York, keeps Cugel on task by torturing his liver whenever he became distracted This enforced quest is a sort of Grand Tour of the Dying Earth, introducing the reader to several strange peoples and customs I was about to say magic, as well, but in this setting, the line between magic, as thought of in most fantasy settings, and technological artifacts, as one would find in a science fictional setting, is blurred and sometimes altogether erased There is a sense of deep time here Not just of ancient magics, but of even ancient technology whose creators are forever lost in the dull light of the giant red sun that once glowed bright yellow when these artifacts were first conceived Vance continues in the wonderful writing voice from his first volume in the series Not too baroque or flamboyant as, I admit, my own work can sometimes be , but with enough flair to keep one enthralled and engaged The I read Vance s style, the I like it It strikes a great balance not too presumptuous, but not treating the reader like an idiot.He s saved the idiocy for Cugel, and the world, whether out own or that of the Dying Earth, is better for it


  5. says:

    Oddly enough, I think I enjoyed this second book of Vance s Dying Earth much better than the first It s not only smoother but it also tickles most of my funny bones.Cugel is one hell of a damned rogue Very flexible of morals, quick of wit, and easily a loveable hateable anti hero In most respects, I felt like I was reading a high fantasy version of Gulliver s Travels, always skirting the edge of high satire and always roving knee deep in extremely lucky circumstance, tragic reversals, and yet inexplicable adventure.The man is charmed and cursed in a very enjoyable fashion.Best of all, Vance never dumbs down his text I was very amused to find some awesome language and a highbrow vocabulary inserted so deftly I m not used to ANY modern fantasy being allowed a free hand with words.Fortunately, this came out in 1966 by a firmly established master of the craft with little interest in catering to the lowest common denominator Go, Vance


  6. says:

    ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.I ve already said, numerous times, how much I love Jack Vance, so I ll skip all that this time You can read other reviews on this page if you missed that.The Eyes of the Overworld is the second part of Tales of the Dying Earth and the main character is one of my favorite Vance characters the self titled Cugel the Clever Cugel is not the kind of guy you want to have dealings with he s clever, sneaky, completely selfish and remorseless He is always trying to figure out how he can take advantage of other people in order to make his own circumstances better.In The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel decides to burglarize the house of Iucounu the Laughing Magician so he can sell some of Iucounu s thaumaturgical artifacts But the magician catches Cugel and punishes him by setting him on a quest to procure a lens which allows the wearer to view the overworld.Cugel is clever, but as clever as he is, he often finds himself facing a foe who, at least temporarily, manages to outwit him which invariably surprises Cugel This time his quest leads him on a series of misadventures in which he gets captured by rat people is forced to be the watchman of a village steals than one person s inheritance deals with demons trades a woman for information impersonates a god and travels a million years into the past Wherever he goes, Cugel, sometimes purposely and sometimes unwittingly, leaves sorrow and destruction in his wake He deprives people of their hope, their faith and, often, their lives.This doesn t sound like it should be very entertaining, but oh, it is That s because the story is written in Jack Vance s singular style high language, bizarre occurrences, and Vance s characteristic humor I hate to say it again, but the best comparison I can make is to Monty Python If you re a fan of that type of strange dark humor, then this should be your thing.I listened to The Eyes of the Overworld in audio format I can t express how excited I was to learn that Brilliance Audio was producing these, and I m pleased to report that they did an excellent job Arthur Morey once again brought out all of the nuances of Vance s humor and he made a perfect Cugel In fact, The Eyes of the Overworld was even better than The Dying Earth, probably because it follows the same main character rather than being divided up into separate short stories I loved it.


  7. says:

    In this treasure island of a book Jack Vance had hidden two treasure troves his wild imagination and his flowery language And it is pure delight to find them both Cugel was a man of many capabilities, with a disposition at once flexible and pertinacious He was long of leg, deft of hand, light of finger, soft of tongue His hair was the blackest of black fur, growing low down his forehead, coving sharply back above his eyebrows His darting eye, long inquisitive nose and droll mouth gave his somewhat lean and bony face an expression of vivacity, candor, and affability He had known many vicissitudes, gaining therefrom a suppleness, a fine discretion, a mastery of both bravado and stealth Coming into the possession of an ancient lead coffin after discarding the contents he had formed a number of leaden lozenges.These, stamped with appropriate seals and runes, he offered for sale at the Azenomei Fair I wish I knew some tricks Cugel did know The Dying Earth is a fantastic place populated with malicious magicians, frivolous pranksters and all possible and impossible sorts of eccentric and cunning jugglers.But if one has enough imagination one would manage to survive in any fantastic world


  8. says:

    5.0 stars Jack Vance deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke and Robery Heinlein He is a master story teller and, unlike the aforementioned authors, Vance s books do not seem dated and can be read today with the same sense of wonder as when they were first written The Dying Earth books are special, timeless classics that should be read and enjoyed by all fans of Science fiction Superb world building, amazing characters, like Cugel the Clever, and top notch writing make these books as good as it gets HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


  9. says:

    The Eyes of the Overworld is the second novel in Jack Vance s Tales of the Dying Earth I think I liked this installment even better than the first which I loved The story is about the adventures and misadventures of a Cugel the clever, who is a pretty thorough rogue I suppose he is clever at times, but he can also be stupid Fortunately for Cugel, he does have some luck good and bad though the bad is of the non killing sort I know this is Fantasy, but if you like the historical fiction character Flashman, you may also like Cugel Just imagine Flashman in Alice s Wonderland The first story in the Dying Earth sequence also titled The Dying Earth , introduced the reader to a strange world that is a dangerous mix of science and magic In many ways I was reminded of The Wizard of Oz That novel is really a collection of short stories all taking place in the same world, a world increasingly haunted by shadows as the sun burns itself out The fact that the world is dying doesn t stop or alter the weirdness in any way In other words, humans will be humans no matter the circumstances The fact that the world may be ending is always on the back burner, and never of immediate concern In Eyes of the Overworld, the story resembles a novel, though the book is also a collection of stories However this time the book centers around one character, Cugel a thief , and his attempt to get back to his home after being sent away to perform a task by a vengeful wizard.What follows is a series of adventures that are quite funny, and often horrific Cugel will lie, betray, rape, and kill, though usually the people he s doing these terrible things to are not much better It s an amazing world filled with wizards, vampires, were things, rat people with ears on top of their heads, a long sleeping giant, a walking boat with detachable legs that will chase you , etc As a piece of imaginative writing, you would be hard pressed to find something original Enhancing all of this is Vance s appropriately baroque language that will have you, at least for a while, scrambling for a dictionary After a while, I just gave up and decided to go along for the ride and quit worrying about the verbal speed bumps In the end, as bad as Cugel can be, I found myself rooting for him Excellent Cover Art 4 1 2 stars.


  10. says:

    Vance s writing style is refined in the second volume in the Dying Earth series this story can be read without reading the first volume which makes for a smoother and interesting read Vance packs in a number of interesting locations and ideas along with his usual assortment of chaotic evil characters whose back stabbing antics are a never ending source of amusement The Vancian magic system was an inspiration to Dungeons Dragons and the fantasy genre in general.


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