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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  1303 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: February 15th: What are you reading this week?

I think early childhood is a good place to hit it. I read Hobbit in 4th grade and it was already too late. By the time everyone else was reading Lord of the Rings I had already read The Dying Earth.

bfv  ·  1303 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I wonder if it would be as highly regarded as it is if, say, Lord Dunsany had written a Pegana novel.

kleinbl00  ·  1302 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I had to do considerable googling to make sense of this comment.

Which makes me a little ashamed.

bfv  ·  1302 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Sorry. I think maybe Tolkien has the reputation he does because he wrote the first high fantasy novels, not so much because they're really great. Lord Dunsany was playing in the same space first, and was pretty well known, but he didn't write novels in it.

kleinbl00  ·  1302 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Are they any good?

bfv  ·  1302 days ago  ·  link  ·  

He made up a mythology and aped the style of religious texts to tell it. I enjoy him. Lovecraft liked him enough to try to be him early on. Where he tells an actual story the story isn't the point, and there are no characters you're meant to relate to, so from your criticism of other things I wouldn't recommend him to you. Here are a few sections from In the Land of Time that are representative, though. If books full of this stuff doesn't sound excruciating to you, you might like him.


    Yonath was the first among prophets who uttered unto men.

    These are the words of Yonath, the first among all prophets: There be gods upon Pegana.

    Upon a night I slept. And in my sleep Pagana came very near. And Pagana was full of gods.

    I saw the gods beside me as one might see wonted things.

    Only I saw not Mana-Yood-Sushai.

    And in that hour, in the hour of my sleep -- I knew.

    And the end and the beginning of my knowing, and all of my knowing that there was, was this -- that Man Knoweth Not.

    Seek though to find at night the udder edge of the darkness, or seek to find the birthplace of the rainbow where he leapeth upward from the hills, only seek not concerning the wherefore of the making of the gods.

    The gods have set a brightness upon the father side of the Things to Come that they may appear more felicitous to men than the Things that Are.

    To the gods the Things to Come are but as the Things that Are, and nothing altereth in Pegana.

    The gods, although not merciful, are not ferocious gods. They are the destroyers of the Days that Were, but they set a glory about the Days to Be.

    Man must endure the Days that Are, but the gods have left him his ignorance as solace.

    Seek not to know. Thy seeking will weary thee, and thou wilt return much worn, to rest at last about the place from whence thou settest out upon thy seeking.

    Seek not to know. Even I, Yonath, the olden prophet, burdened with the wisdom of great years, and worn with seeking, know only that man knoweth not.

    Once I set out seeking to know all things. Now I know one thing only, and soon the Years will carry me away.

    The path of my seeking, that leadeth to seeking again, must be trodden by very many more, when Yonath is no longer even Yonath.

    Set not thy foot upon that path.

    Seek not to know.

    These be the Words of Yonath.


    When the years had carried away Yonath, and Yonath was dead, there was no longer a prophet among men.

    And still men sought to know.

    Therefor they said unto Yug: "Be thou our prophet, and know all things, and tell us concerning the wherefor of It All."

    And Yug said: "I know all things." And men were pleased.

    And Yug said of the Beginning that it was in Yug's own garden, and of the End that it was in the sight of Yug.

    And men forgot Yonath.

    One day Yug saw Mung behind the hills making the sign of Mung. And Yug was Yug no more.


    When Yug was Yug no more men said unto Alhireth-Hotep "Be though our prophet, and be as wise as Yug."

    And Alhireth-Hotep said: "I am as wise as Yug." And men were very glad.

    And Alhireth-Hotep said of Life and Death: "These be the affairs of Alhireth-Hotep." And men brought gifts to him.

    One day Alhireth-Hotep wrote in a book: "Alhireth-Hotep knoweth All Things, for he hath spoken with Mung."

    And Mung stepped from behind him, making the sign of Mung, saying: "Knowest though All Things, then, Alhireth-Hotep?"

    And Alhireth-Hotep became among the Things that Were.


    When Alihireth-Hotep was among the Things that were, and still men sought to know, they said unto Kobok: "Be thou as wise as was Alhireth-Hotep."

    And Kabok grew wise in his own sight and in the sight of men.

    And Kabok said: "Mung maketh his sign against men or withholdeth it by the advice of Kabok."

    And he said unto one: "Thou hast sinned against Kabok, therefor will Mung make the sign of Mung against thee." And to another: "Thou hast brought Kabok gifts, therefore shall Mung forbear to make against thee the sign of Mung."

    One night as Kabok fattened upon the gifts that men had brought him he heard the tread of Mung treading in the garden of Kabok about his house at night.

    And Kabok, who knew All Things, grew afraid, for the treading was very lought and the night still, and he knew not what lay behind the back of Mung, which none had ever seen.

    But when the morning grew to brightness, and there was light upon the Worlds, and Mung trod no longer in the garden, Kabok forgot his fears, and said: "Perhaps it was but a herd of cattle that stampeded in the garden of Kabok."

    And Kabok went about his business, which was that of knowing All Things, and telling All Things unto men, and making light of Mung.

    But that night Mung trod again in the garden of Kabok, about his house at night, and stood before the window of the house like a shadow standing erect, so that Kabok knew indeed that it was Mung.

    And a great fear fell upon the throat of Kabok, so that his speech was hoarse; and he cried out: "Though art Mung!"

    And Mung slightly inclined his head, and went on to tread in the garden of Kabok, about his house at night.

    And Kabok lay and listened with horror at his heart.

    But when the second morning grew to brightness, and there was light upon the Worlds, Mung went from treading in the garden of Kabok; and for a little while Kabok hoped, but looked with great dread for the coming of the third night.

    And when the third night was come, and the bat had gone to his home, and the wind had sunk, the night was very still.

    And Kabok lay and listened, to whom the wings of the night flew very slow.

    But, ere night met the morning upon the highway between Pegana and the Worlds, there came the tread of Mung in the garden of Kabok towards Kabok's door.

    And Kabok fled out of his house as flee a hunted beast and flung himself before Mung.

    And Mung made the sign of Mung, pointing towards The End.

    And the fears of Kabok had rest from troubling Kabok any more, for they and he were among accomplished things.

kleinbl00  ·  1302 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Actually, that's pretty fuckin' awesome.

It reminds me a lot of Dying Earth.