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Jack Vance


The Dying Earth
Year 1950
Publisher Granada Publishing (Mayflower)



New races of man had evolved, new species of beast; science had vanished and magic had arisen to dominate the twilight of our world as it dominated the earth's morning.

The Dying Earth is Jack Vance's finest work - a stunning evocation of a world peopled by wizards, witches, demons, monsters, dashing princes and forlorn maidens.  A bejewelled gallery of strange and wonderful beings in the eminent tradition of Tolkein and William Morris.




"He writes with a great sense of style, with polish, sparkle and wit.  The surface of his prose glitters with exotic, fascinating names.  It blazes with pyrotechnic ideas and original concepts.  He is at once one of the most entertaining, and talented and thoroughly original of all science fiction writers ... extraordinary brilliance."
Lin Carter


Complex organic molecules, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons



Credit: NASA

Ingredients for Life
This artist's conception symbolically represents complex organic molecules, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, seen in the early universe. These large molecules, comprised of carbon and hydrogen, are among the building blocks of life. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is the first telescope to see polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons so early--10 billion years further back in time than seen previously. Spitzer detected these molecules in galaxies when our universe was one-fourth of its current age of about 14 billion years. These complex molecules are very common on Earth and form carbon-based materials are not burned completely. They can be found in sooty exhaust from cars and airplanes, and in charcoal broiled hamburgers and burnt toast. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are pervasive in galaxies like our own Milky Way, and play a significant role in star and planet formation.

NASA Image of the day archive





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