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’s Saga: Who could imagine such protean depravity?

It cleverly makes the reader wonder just how ridiculous much of our own pomp and circumstance might appear to an outsider who is seeing it for the very first time. He even casts spells incorrectly and ends up being his own victim. It wasn’t until the last few stories where Vance mostly abandoned this approach does Cugel’s Saga reach the heights of the other three Dying Earth books and it is in the worthwhile portion of the book where the above passage came from.

A very worthy read. First time read in Brilliance audio Second time read in Swedish translation Third time Swedish translation legimus. I guess it was a bit better than The Eyes of the OverworldVance writing it almost 20 years later and all. At last he sat back and considered new approaches to the solution of his problem. Opting to take a different route, Cugel’s travels soon lead him to an encounter with Twango, who operates a curious business scouring a fetid swamp for the scales of Sadlark.

It’s a story crammed with novelty. The ruse is discovered and he flees the village before the women can lynch him.


Upon visiting Twango he meets Weamish, Gark, Gookin, and others and accepts a job as the supervisor at Twango’s home, Fluatic, where the main business is diving into a watery pit to find valuable scales from the demon Sadlark.

But if one may think that Cugel is doomed one would be naively wrong. Cugel’s Saga Dust-jacket of the first edition. No, the mystery of Lausicaa is neither Lilliputanians or Brobdingnagians but the lustful nature of its womenfolk, so strong that men are force to hide their faces behind burkas lest they drive the fair sex wild with temptation. The most valuable and highest prized of all, however, is the one of a kind Pectoral Sky-break Spatterlight that is reported to be the key scale that locks all the others together.

Cugel is a classic Vance anti-hero ; though he fancies himself an aesthete and a superior being to those around him, in his actions he is a liar, a cheat, an inveterate thief, a charlatan, selfish, greedy, vicious, and so on. She wants to have her mind blown.

For instance, in one village social status is denoted by 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. He lived in Oakland, California in a house he designed. Cugel is taken into custody after having ruined the Grand Pageant for the people of Lumarth. A new thought occurred to Cugel.

What Cugel the not-so-Clever teaches us about character | Rati Mehrotra

In the morning, Iolo releases Cugel from the grip of the tentacle when he promises to help him catch the supposed thief. Or he saves the world by mistake from an alien starship. In a bittersweet farewell, Cugel urges us to live our lives to the full, living in the present and enjoying every second of our journey regardless of how lucky the cards we have been dealt are, because the Sun might go off at any time and afterwards there will be only cold, darkness and emptiness.


More importantly, was the creature edible? Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Your email address will not be published.

Most of the fun comes from the desperate efforts of Cugel to avoid getting his hands muddied while stealing as many of the scales tge he can. In one case, we get to see how Cugel slowly twists and corrupts an honest man into becoming more roguish. The Jack Vance Treasury. It’s far more entertaining than Mazirian and his stuffy magicians, and just as caring as “Guyal of Sfere”, if in an unusual, off-kilter way.

Don’t see who you’re looking for? You will obtain a better view from within, but first I must shorten the chain of the captive erb which roams the premises during the night.

There are no shortage of puns here. The lenses cause their wearers tne see, not their squalid surroundings, but the Overworld, a vastly superior version of reality where a hut is a palace, gruel is a magnificent feast, etc. Oddly-benevolent people living on the site of ancient demon temples, a field of towers that reach towards the teh with men who lounge upon them to take in the sun’s healthy radiation, a festival of wondrous displays, and more. Currently in the middle of Assassin’s Apprentice for the first time.

Did you only start getting into fantasy after the Peter Jackson movies came out?