What's so great about the Dying Earth? Dec 7, 2018 3:24:24 GMT -6
Post by hamurai on Dec 7, 2018 3:24:24 GMT -6
I read the Fantasy Masterworks edition "Tales from the Dying Earth" featuring some shorts stories, The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga and Rhialto the Marvellous. I've often read that the Dying Earth stories are a must read for fantasy fans and many people pointed me there.
I honestly don't know why so many people are so excited about the Dying Earth. I stopped in the middle of Rhialto because it just wasn't interesting to me, and I had to force myself through some earlier parts of the book, too.
Disclaimer: I don't want to bash the books and I don't want to start a war here. I'm honestly trying to find out why these stories are so popular.
While I really love the setting (and I can clearly understand why the books are a great inspiration for role-playing), everything else in the stories feel mostly dull and stupid to me:
- The "heroes" seem to know a lot (being magicians and such) but seemed rather incompetent in all but conversation.
- Personally, I was a little disappointed that "low-level" magic spells didn't feature much in the book, despite all the magicians around. Lots of the magic seemed to come from magic items. Which is OK, I was just hoping for some inspiration for homebrew spells for D&D. When spells came up in the books, as I remember them, they were pretty much epic spells.
- The people encountered by the protagonists often felt ridiculously dumb, falling for the silliest tricks.
- While the places and situations are really imaginative and creative, often I felt like the story was just there to visit these "situations", the parts in between and how the protagonists got there was sometimes unbelievable or dull. Or more or less omitted entirely. It left me with a feeling of visiting a "fantasy fun house", like many old school dungeons which just don't make sense at all and are just built to present several creative ideas. In all, the longer stories just felt like the short stories but combined by some uninteresting story arc.
So, is it just my personal approach to the books which left me disappointed? Was I expecting something that's just not there? Can you point me to other short stories which might be more to my liking? As I said, I liked the setting a lot and the short stories (Turjan of Miir, Mazirian the Magician and others) I enjoyed, but the books felt constructed and not well-written - as books. They might have been great as short stories.
And what about Rhialto? Will the story be worth reading till the end, or will it be like the first half?
I'm honestly confused that I find a book with so many enthusiastic fans so boring. That never happened to me so far, except for the Amber books. I found they weren't that great either, but not such a deeply confusing disappointment like the Dying Earth stuff.