YMMV / Dying Earth

  • An Aesop: There's a possible parallel between the Dying Earth and the Cold War period when the books were written. In the books, the people of Earth have turned to sybaritic self-indulgence, outright villainy and various other fatalistic behaviors because the Earth could die at any moment. In Real Life, the books were written when many people were struggling with the fact that nuclear war hung over their heads and the Earth could die at any moment. The books' repeated Laser-Guided Karma and Aesop Amnesia deride the behavior of the Nietzsche Wannabe characters.
  • Values Dissonance: Hoo boy. While not as bad as Gor, its treatment of women can be cringe-inducing to modern readers. Many of Cugel's antics have slid from Anti-Hero to Villain Protagonist territory over time.
    • To be fair, Cugel the Clever is intended to be a Villain Protagonist. He uses and manipulates everybody around him – for example, he cons pilgrims to accompany him on a dangerous journey, using them as Human Shields. When he found a relic that previously had belonged to the family of an old man, who had taken his whole life to search for that artifact, he did not give it to said person – instead, he expected from the old man to explain, how he, Cugel, could use it (which is, needless to say, the equivalent of somebody who found your ATM card asking for its pin code). And when the old man refused to help, our hero called him petty. He is almost on par with Alex from A Clockwork Orange, and he was always considered a bastard (mind you, when The Eyes of the Overworld was published, Cugel-like anti-heroes were not common).
    • Also, the Dying Earth is a Crapsack World turned Up to Eleven, where 99 percent of the inhabitants are complete and utter assholes without any conscience. That does not exempt Cugel from his atrocities – but the Dying Earth was never meant to be a good place to live in, unlike Gor, which is a Fetish-Fuel Planet Mary Suetopia that not only tries to give excuses for its societies, but tries to paint it as a more honest place than our ’hypocrite Earth’.
  • The Woobie: Shalukhe the Swimmer. One of 5642 people, the best of their generation, placed in suspended animation to found a new golden age, she is revived to find that she's the last of her kind. In the hundred centuries since she was recruited, the power protecting them faded, and cannibals found the sleepers easy prey. Her 5641 comrades have already been eaten, and she's next on the menu. Rhialto saves her life, but she's left alone at the end of time. Everything and everyone she knew has been dust for millennia, and none of her skills are of the slightest use.