(urth) Origins of Ascians

Jordan Dennis jordanden at gmail.com
Sat Feb 4 17:52:12 PST 2006

I would like to throw in another perspective on the origins of the Ascians,
if I may.

In his interview with James Jordan, Gene Wolfe said that he owed a big debt
to Jack Vance. Let me quote that passage of the interview --

JJ:* Was Jack Vance's style an influence on the style of the Severian

*GW:* Oh, I'm sure. I'm sure. A lot of that was my deciding to rewrite *The
Dying Earth* from my own standpoint.

*JJ:* Wonderful book.

*GW:* Yes it is wonderful. And of course when you read wonderful books
sometimes you think, "Gee, I would like to do that"; and you go off and do
it, trying to make it different enough that you are not really ripping off
the author, but rather writing something in the same vein using some of the
same ideas. I have never concealed a debt to Jack Vance and a debt to Clark
Ashton Smith as far as that goes. I think Vance is very much in the debt to
Clark Ashton Smith.
The entirety of the interview can be found at

I recently picked up the Orb trade paperback, Tales of the Dying Earth, but
only started to read it this morning, with the context of this discussion
fresh in my mind, and something immediately jumped out at me.  On page 32,
one of the characters asked a magician to transport her to Ascolais. What if
Ascia and the Ascians were a permutation of Ascolais that Gene Wolfe meant
as a sort of homage to one of his inspirations? That would be a good reason
to explain why he was suprised when people began associating the Ascians
with Asians.

Anyway, just a thought.
Jordan D. Dennis
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.urth.net/pipermail/urth-urth.net/attachments/20060204/589779f5/attachment-0004.htm>

More information about the Urth mailing list