Jack Vance's The Dying Earth was published in 1950, some 60 years ago. A slim book of 156 pages, The Dying Earth is a brisk and enjoyable read, and is far cheerier than its brother, The Eyes of the Overworld.
The Dying Earth is composed of six short stories, some of which are cleverly interconnected. Those short stories are: Turjan of Miir; Mazirian the Magician; T'sais; Liane the Wayfarer; Ulan Dhor; and, Guyal of Sfere. The accompanying picture is Joe Bergeron's depiction of a confrontation between T'sain (the twin sister of T'sais) and Mazirian the Magician, beneath the waters of Sanra, the Lake of Dreams.
While Mazirian the Magican and Liane the Wayfarer both ultimately receive their comeuppances, many of the other characters in The Dying Earth enjoy a better fate.
Jack Vance's Dying Earth series is well-known as the basis for the D&D magic system. In The Dying Earth series, most Magic Users can employ only 4 or 5 spells, much fewer than the number permitted for middle-to-high level spellcasters in earlier versions of D&D.
In Vance's Dying Earth series, only some 100 spells remain, from the thousand or more that existed in earlier times. Among the spells still know are the Charm of Untiring Nourishment, Call to the Violent Cloud, the Excellent Prismatic Spray, Phandaal's Mantle of Stealth, Phandaal's Gyrator, the Spell of the Slow Hour, the Spell of the Omnipotent Sphere, the Spell of Immobilization, and Felojun's Second Hypnotic Spell. Looking at the spell lists in early versions of D&D, and those in some of the Arduin and Delos rulebooks, one is struck by how often the Vancian naming conventions were employed. A credit to Gygax, Hargrave and others, who treated the source material with respect.