Mazirian the Magician

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"Mazirian the Magician" is a sword and sorcery short story by American writer Jack Vance. It was first published in 1950 as part of The Dying Earth, a collection of loosely linked tales. It has been reissued in numerous anthologies since 1965, including The Spell of Seven, edited by L. Sprague de Camp.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

A depiction of Mazirian.

Mazirian the Magician paces his enchanted garden, wrestling with the problem of how to invest the humanoid creatures he has created in vats with intelligence. The secret is held by the sorcerer Turjan, who has kept the secret to himself despite imprisonment, reduction in size, and torment by a small vicious dragon.

Mazirian is interrupted by a distantly spied beautiful woman who tempts him to follow her out of the garden and into the wild country. He resists but when she comes repeatedly, he eventually follows her, armed with only five spells. In this age, such spells that remain to the knowledge of sorcerers are very complex and difficult to memorise, and disappear from memory once used.

The eager magician follows the girl through hills and valleys, chanting his spells to avoid or destroy the strange creatures he encounters; these include the Deodand (a flesh-eating mutated man-creature) and Thrang the ghoul-bear.

In due course, he closes upon the girl and is about to capture her - but they are both attacked by deadly vampire-grass. As Mazirian, out of spells, struggles drawing the attention of the deadly grass, the girl slowly crawls away with her life not disturbing the grass. Battered and barely alive, she returns to Mazirian's garden, enters his house and releases Turjan. It is now revealed that the girl, known as T'sain, is a creation of Turjan and sacrificed herself to free him out of love. He bears her lifeless body away to his vats to recreate her.



  1. ^ Mazirian the Magician title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2012-06-12.

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