The Jack Vance thread

j d worthington

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Unless memory fails me, The Dragon Masters was merely a printing as a solo book of the novelette of that title, which won the Hugo Award; and hence can be found in that massive anthology, The Hugo Winners vols. I and II, which was kept in print by the SFBC for decades, hence should not be difficult or expensive to acquire... and which would also give you a massive dose of entertaining reading otherwise, as well (including Vance's "The Last Castle")....
 

dask

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Keep an eye open, both THE DRAGON MASTERS and THE LAST CASTLE were published as an Ace Double, I mean the same Ace Double.
 

Connavar

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Wow, I just stumbled upon a very large stash of Vance books (mainly 70's & 80's paperbacks) in one of my local charity book shops. They are all only £1 to £1.50 each. I picked up a few that I knew I wanted but I'm wondering whether I should go back and get some more before they disappear.

I picked up "Cugel's Saga" and "Rhialto the Marvellous" to complete the Dying Earth series I've been slowly making my way through. Also, I picked up "Planet of Adventure" (omnibus) that I also recall being spoken highly of.

But there were numerous other volumes there that I haven't heard of before. Can anyone offer any recommendations of what I should go back and look for? I've already read "Blue World", "Emphyrio", "Lyonesse" and "Dragon Masters".

Demon Princes books are a must if you like Vance stories you have read. Most of his solo books are of the quality of Blue World, Emphyrio that you have read.

Avoid the novel Gray Prince which is a weak later Vance SF. Get any short short story collection you might find in the shop of his rated science fantasy and SF short stories.

It depends on what books you find in the shops. Post 1953 Vance is recommended. Post To Live Forever where his style was made and he didnt write cheap pulp SF like World Thinker to appease SF pulp mags.
 

Connavar

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Unless memory fails me, The Dragon Masters was merely a printing as a solo book of the novelette of that title, which won the Hugo Award; and hence can be found in that massive anthology, The Hugo Winners vols. I and II, which was kept in print by the SFBC for decades, hence should not be difficult or expensive to acquire... and which would also give you a massive dose of entertaining reading otherwise, as well (including Vance's "The Last Castle")....
Hugo award is meaningless when it comes to Dragon Masters, its neat story idea but hardly among the most rated Vance shorter stories.

Last Castle is more vintage,timeless Vance science fantasy.

Dragon Masters is good but there is many better stories to read first that didnt win some popular SFF award. Im talking about Vance fans acclaim in general. We tend to agree on the most rated stories.
 

j d worthington

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Hugo award is meaningless when it comes to Dragon Masters, its neat story idea but hardly among the most rated Vance shorter stories.

Last Castle is more vintage,timeless Vance science fantasy.

Dragon Masters is good but there is many better stories to read first that didnt win some popular SFF award. Im talking about Vance fans acclaim in general. We tend to agree on the most rated stories.
The thing is, Conn, I was responding to F.E.'s question directly:

Can anyone offer any recommendations of what I should go back and look for? I've already read "Blue World", "Emphyrio", "Lyonesse" and "Dragon Masters".
My response was to indicate not to get a separate publication of The Dragon Masters because it is, essentially, a novelette published as a novel -- hence an unnecessary expense when he could get much more for little more in price.

I would, however, question your assessment of that particular tale; not necessarily among the Vance enthusiasts themselves (of which I know little) but among sf and fantasy readers in general. It remains a very highly regarded story because of its innovative approach to a rather old theme, as well as the seamless blending of the fantastic and the rational into a mythic whole.
 

Fried Egg

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They had the second "Demon Princes" omnibus but not the first, annoyingly. They may have had them as individual titles, I would need to go back and examine them more carefully.

I was trying to curtail my book purchases for a while and hadn't really planned on stocking up on Vance (beyond completing the Dying Earth series) but given they have so many and are so reasonably priced, it seems almost foolish not to grab a few while I can...

As for short story collections, I noticed a copy of "Fantasms and Magics" which I know somebody here recommended before.
 

Connavar

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The thing is, Conn, I was responding to F.E.'s question directly:



My response was to indicate not to get a separate publication of The Dragon Masters because it is, essentially, a novelette published as a novel -- hence an unnecessary expense when he could get much more for little more in price.

I would, however, question your assessment of that particular tale; not necessarily among the Vance enthusiasts themselves (of which I know little) but among sf and fantasy readers in general. It remains a very highly regarded story because of its innovative approach to a rather old theme, as well as the seamless blending of the fantastic and the rational into a mythic whole.
My bad JD i reacted alittle since some readers tend to overrate the story because the whole entertaining side of Dragon Masters, war with dragons. I dont disagree that it is a good story, with fresh approach. It just that Vance has written much more interesting stories with the same theme,blend of the fantastic, the rational. Many of his mature period Science fantasy novellas,short stories share that element. The Last Castle, The Miracle Workers etc

If you have read many Vance stories you see him do the same theme with different qualities. The Dragon Master, its action,adventure side is very interesting read but prose wise, character wise its clear imho to see the difference of quality in The Last Castle,The Miracle Workers. I mentioned hardcore Vance fans because we tend to agree on the best Vance shorter stories. Dragon Master has respect of quality but not great Vance science fantasy novella.

I just recommend other novellas of Vance higher, before Dragon Masters. Its good but not to buy first if you want his shorter SF,science fantasy novellas.
 

Connavar

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They had the second "Demon Princes" omnibus but not the first, annoyingly. They may have had them as individual titles, I would need to go back and examine them more carefully.

I was trying to curtail my book purchases for a while and hadn't really planned on stocking up on Vance (beyond completing the Dying Earth series) but given they have so many and are so reasonably priced, it seems almost foolish not to grab a few while I can...

As for short story collections, I noticed a copy of "Fantasms and Magics" which I know somebody here recommended before.
Why not look for cheap second hand of his newer more complete short story collections ? The Jack Vance Treasury and the likes by Sub.press has his best stories in few collections.

The old collections of his are a mess to avoid if they are not very very cheap.
 

Grunkins

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I Picked up the Alastor omnibus and Emphyerio recently. Always looking to add to my Vance collection.
 

j d worthington

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My bad JD i reacted alittle since some readers tend to overrate the story because the whole entertaining side of Dragon Masters, war with dragons. I dont disagree that it is a good story, with fresh approach. It just that Vance has written much more interesting stories with the same theme,blend of the fantastic, the rational. Many of his mature period Science fantasy novellas,short stories share that element. The Last Castle, The Miracle Workers etc

If you have read many Vance stories you see him do the same theme with different qualities. The Dragon Master, its action,adventure side is very interesting read but prose wise, character wise its clear imho to see the difference of quality in The Last Castle,The Miracle Workers. I mentioned hardcore Vance fans because we tend to agree on the best Vance shorter stories. Dragon Master has respect of quality but not great Vance science fantasy novella.

I just recommend other novellas of Vance higher, before Dragon Masters. Its good but not to buy first if you want his shorter SF,science fantasy novellas.
In that (especially the prose, which is good, but nowhere near his best) I think we can agree. I would recommend the story, but not purchased as a solo item when it is available in other formats which would also allow a lot of other quality reading....
 

Fried Egg

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Why not look for cheap second hand of his newer more complete short story collections ? The Jack Vance Treasury and the likes by Sub.press has his best stories in few collections.

The old collections of his are a mess to avoid if they are not very very cheap.
Jack Vance Treasury if extrordinarilly expensive second hand as far as I can see. "Fantasms and Magics" was £1 in the charity shop. No contest really...
 

Fried Egg

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I've finished "Cugel's Saga" and it was most enjoyable. I now look forward the the last in the series...
 

Connavar

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I Picked up the Alastor omnibus and Emphyerio recently. Always looking to add to my Vance collection.
Alastor is one of few JV SF series i havent read yet along with Durdane. Please let me know what type it is. We know his themes,series type he likes but Planet of Adventure and Demon Princes is vastly different in series type.
 

hitmouse

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Alastor is a series of 3 loosely linked stories each of which takes a typical Vancean elaborately detailed, idiosyncratic, and ultimately fragile society which fails in some key respect when the protagonist gets involved. Very good and underrated. Marune is my favourite.

Durdane is an interesting trilogy which starts very well, but which peters out significantly by the final book.
 

Extollager

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I thought Cugel, and the story of what happens to him, quite hilarious. Quite the anti-hero that made him an unusual and interesting protagonist. I found myself constantly flipping between rooting for him one minute and despising him the next.
I got kind of a bad taste in the mouth from Eyes of the Overworld, and yet it influenced me as few fantasy stories have, to the extent that I wrote a story ("A Sojourn in Pasgue") or two that probably never would have been conceived otherwise. (Published only in a fanzine a long time ago & perhaps may as well rest there.)
 

Connavar

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I got kind of a bad taste in the mouth from Eyes of the Overworld, and yet it influenced me as few fantasy stories have, to the extent that I wrote a story ("A Sojourn in Pasgue") or two that probably never would have been conceived otherwise. (Published only in a fanzine a long time ago & perhaps may as well rest there.)
He did do somethings that troubled me too i remember the way he left a woman who was with to save himself and other similar things.

The darkly humor of how things went wrong for Cugel often made it more funny and easy to take his bad sides. It was pretty bleak future that was terrible for most humans that created people like Cugel. Not like he was worse than other people around him.
 

Extollager

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How good is the final (I think) Dying Earth book, Rhialto the Marvellous? Up to standard or -- best skipped?
 

Connavar

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How good is the final (I think) Dying Earth book, Rhialto the Marvellous? Up to standard or -- best skipped?
Its better than DE short stories that came out before Cugel and second only to the best Cugel book imo. They are dark and real fun,witty. More magic since its about a wizard in that weird future. They surprised me with their quality.

Frankly i have forgotten the details of the first DE stories but Cugel and Rhialtho still make smide at their messed up adventures.
 
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