Not only is Earth dying, the Universe itself is collapsing into the void.
FANTASY BOOK REVIEW JACK VANCE RHIALTO THE MARVELLOUS MORREION 1984 Gollancz / Orion Fantasy Masterworks #4
The dramatic concluding story of the last book in The Tales Of The Dying Earth series.
As with the other wizards, Rhialto is particularly keen to preserve his IOUN stones, which prove able to absorb any magic thrown at the wizards by their opponents, and so prove to be powerful defensive amulets.
The wizards find a series of seemingly cryptic messages indicating that Morreion is close to nothing. The wizards recall that Morreion was a wizard they sent off many years ago to try to find the galactic source of the stones.
The wizards work out that the Nothing is just that – the point at which the Universe itself simply runs out of stars and planets and simply becomes an infinite void. The wizards decide to head there and see if they can find Morreion, and set off, using their palatial castle as a space ship.
They see that it is not just the Earth, which has a dying sun. The entire Universe seems to be wearing down, and they come within weeks of hyper-magical travel to the last planet itself, on the brink of the spreading nothing that will one day become the entire Universe.
They find Morreion, who initially has no recollection of any of his old friends. He has forgotten his quest for the IOUN stones, though he has many to hand. He has spent centuries translating whole libraries of books from forgotten dead civilizations, and re-building their artefacts. He seems intent on continuing this, until the wizards convince him of the need to come back to Earth with them just as the last planet is swallowed by the Nothing.
Morreion recalls that the IOUN stones are the husks of burnt out suns, that the wizards sent him on his futile eternal quest, and that he is at war with an IOUN stone devouring monster species, The Archveults, and insists on going into magical combat with them before going back to Earth.
Rhialto realizes that the stones themselves may need to be sacrificed to save the day, and ultimately there is a sense of doom over the otherwise fun story, with our own Sun dying down, and the Universe itself being swallowed by an encroaching oblivion.
A haunting conclusion to one of the greatest of all Fantasy works.