In my youth, I was a prodigious reader of science-fiction and fantasy. Tolkein, Asimov, Clarke, Donaldson, Brooks, Eddings, Herbert, Haldeman, Heinlein, Moorcock, Lovecraft, Howard, Norton, Lieber, Zelazney and so many others, I read them all, every spare moment. When others my age were going to the high school dance, I was locked away in my bedroom reading (or playing D&D, of course). But through the years, one writer had always eluded me, Jack Vance. He was right there in the heart of D&D, Vancian magic, but I could never find a copy of The Dying Earth in the bookstores and this was a time before Amazon or eBay. If the local bookstore didn't have it, you were out of luck.
Jump ahead to today. I'm all grown up with a wife and kids, a job and a mortgage. I don't have much time for recreational reading anymore, but lo and behold, a chance trip to a big bookstore and there in a corner of the fantasy section is Tales of the Dying Earth, a compilation of all Vance's Dying Earth works. I had to have it.