Monday, July 2, 2012

What Cuccagna is Like

Precis: Jack Vance's The Tempest.  A beautiful island filled with petty wizards and their dumb struggles.

Conspectus: The Seven Who Were One, a group of ageless wizards that were all once the same wizard and now try to kill, eat, or imprison each other; idyllic meadows, beaches, and copses that hide dark secrets and hideous monsters; man-eating horses; beautiful maidens who devour the hearts of men; perytons, satyrs, unicorns, and dragons; horrid vat-things spawned by stupid wizards who don't know math;  The Cavern of Sorcerers where it is said one can enter to talk to the Devil himself; genies complete with matching lamps; Secretive mystery cults that worship gods long thought dead; cynocephaly, blemmyes, and monopods, oh my!; mountebanks exercising their trade on a gluttonous and slothful populace; lotus eaters; half submerged Greek ruins; crumbling castles haunted by strange spirits or fairies; beautiful yet sinister statues of wondrous power; the decadent port city of Great Wen, filled with charming ne'er-do-wells

Short Appendix N: Clark Ashton Smith's Poseidonis and Averoigne Cycles, Jack Vance's The Dying Earth; William Shakespeare's The Tempest; The Travels of Sir John Mandeville; Homer; Lord Dunsany's "The Horde of the Gibbelins" and "How Nuth Would Have Practiced His Art Upon the Gnoles"

Taste, Sound, Image: honey, olives, and feta; "Shangri-La" by the Kinks; Maxfield Parrish's Daybreak