Review of “Turjan of Miir” by Jack Vance

SFFaudio Review

We forgot to mention that this short review is part of the 7th Anniversary SFFaudio Reviewapalooza! Those responsible have been sacked.

Science Fantasy Audiobook - The Dying Earth by Jack Vance“Turjan of Miir”
Contained in The Dying Earth
By Jack Vance; Read by Arthur Morey
42 Minutes – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2010
Themes: / Science Fantasy / Spells / Mathematics / Artificial Life /

“Turjan of Miir” is the first story in Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth. It’s a densely rich story – when my mind wandered, I had to stop and back up the audio because each and every word is important and very much worth hearing. And a pleasure to hear, too – kudos to Arthur Morey for the fine narration.

The story opens with Turjan trying to feed his latest creation.

Turjan sat in his workroom, legs sprawled out from the stool, back against and elbows on the bench. Across the room was a cage. Into this, Turjan gazed with rueful vexation. The creature in the cage returned the gaze with emotions beyond conjecture. It was a thing to arouse pity.

The creature won’t eat, though, and dies in front of him. Out of frustration (for he’s attempted to create life many times before), he decides to visit an otherworld where a man (or ex-man) named Pandalume will be able to help him stabilize the pattern he needs to successfully make life.

Vance is luxurious with detail. In very little space, he tells us how Turjan can only carry four spells at a time, so for the trip to the otherworld he takes “three spells of general application”. The Excellent Prismatic Spray, Fandale’s Mantle of Stealth, and the Spell of the Slow Hour. It’s marvelous. There are many descriptive gems here.

I immediately see how The Dying Earth spawned an RPG, and I can also see that Wolfe, Zelazny, and Gaiman were all influenced by Vance.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #008


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #008 – here there be podcasts – we’ve adorned ourselves in too much gold, now we can’t move! So join us on our 8th show, where we’re always etymologically correct.

Scott: Oh ya right. I just forgot something man. Uh, before we dock, I think we ought to discuss the bonus situation.

Jesse: Right.

Scott: We think… we think we deserve full shares.

Jesse: Right.

Scott: Pass the cornbread.

Topics discussed include:, METAtropolis, Jay Lake, John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Karl Schroeder, Mr. Spaceship, Philip K. Dick, Stefan Rudnicki, Wonder Audio, Anne McCaffrey, The Ship Who Sang, Michael Hogan, Battlestar Galactica, 18th Century Spain, Cascadia (Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and sometimes Idaho), Detroit, “Turking”, The Turk (the chess playing automaton), alternative economy, Kandyse McClure, infodump, shared world, Brandon Sanderson, hard fantasy, Elantris, Larry Niven, The Magic Goes Away, manna, unicorns, dragons, Dungeons & Dragons, Mistborn, Robert Jordan, The Wheel Of Time, Writing Excuses Podcast, Howard Tayler,, Dan Wells, The Dark Knight, Aural Noir, The New Adventures Of Mike Hammer, Stacy Keach, Mike Hammer, Full Cast Audio, Red Planet, Robert A. Heinlein, Bruce Coville, Mars, Heinlein’s Future History sequence, the Red Planet TV miniseries, Princess Academy, Shannon Hale, Blackstone Audio, The Collected Stories Of Philip K. Dick Volume 1, and Volume 2, Inferno by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, David Farland, Runelords, Collected Public Domain Works Of H.P. Lovecraft,, October, Ray Bradbury, “Autumn ennui”, AUTHOR PAGES, LEIGH BRACKETT, FREDERIC BROWN, JAMES PATRICK KELLY, BBC7,, Beam Me Up Podcast, MACK REYNOLDS, Robert Sheckley, Religulous, Constantine’s Sword, The Ultimate Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction: The Definitive illustrated Guide edited by David Pringle, space opera, planetary romance, Julie D., Forgotten Classics podcast, The Wonder Stick, time travel, alien intrusions, metal powers, Slan, The Demolished Man, comedic SF, aliens, artificial intelligence, “cosmic collisions”, Deep Impact, cyborgs, dinosaurs, the dying Earth, Gene Wolfe, elixir of life, immortality, Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, genetic engineering, nuclear war, overpopulation, parallel worlds, robots, androids, Joanna Russ, Ben Bova, space travel, suspended animation, teleportation, transcendence = the Singularity ?, Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke, religion, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Monica Hughes, Crisis On Conshelf Ten, Hard SF, cyberpunk, psychology, New Wave, lost races, military SF, science fantasy, shared worlds, steampunk.

Posted by Jesse Willis