Why has Jack Vance never been adapted?

picklematrix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
464
I think a dying earth series or film could be excellent if done right. Problem is the IP is a rad obscure for hollywood. I would love it to happen.
 

Al Jackson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
839
Something that I've wondered about pretty much since I discovered him, is why Jack Vance has never, as far as I'm aware, been adapted for movies or television. Not that I mind the lack for my own sake—his work is perfect as it is—but Phillip K. Dick was a second-tier writer until studios began adapting his stories, whereon he became a household name even among non-SF readers. I'd love to see that for Jack Vance, and a lot of Vance's stuff seems much more amenable to adaptation that Dick's.
O my! Why has not , almost all, great prose science fiction not be adapted? Great Westerns and Mystery's. I think great science fiction is still unjustly unknown. Recently a movie like Interstellar (not a bad movie) but Anderson's Tau Zero would have been more interesting (if done right). Why that goof ball I Robot , awful film, when Harlan's Ellison's elegant screenplay for I Robot is out there? What the heck does The Stars My Destination lay fallow? Gad! A space opera like no other. There is tons and tons of really great SF , some World Building never touched, Poul Anderson's Technic History , space opera 10 steps beyond Star Trek.
Old Story.

Well I don't consider Man in a High Castle second-tier, it is a great novel.
 

15H43

New Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
1
Good evening.

I think that, if Jack Vance has never been adapted to the cinema, after having read all the answers, it is also because, he's an author whose science fiction of today drew all his ideas.

That being the case, in 1984, François Nedelec gave birth to a French role-playing game whose name is "Empire Galactique".

It is clear that the universe of this role playing game is linked to Jack Vance's universe and a few others (See list below for more details)

In this game (which I still play today), you get the spirit, social inventiveness visionary and revolutionary ideas of modern science fiction.
At this time, the game was a great success in France but was soon outpaced by the Star Wars role play from West End Games.

Here is a link that'd help out: 4. Passeport - Empire Galactique

Romans
  • Agent de l'Empire terrien et Tau Zero (Poul Anderson)
  • Le Temps des grandes chasses (Jean-Pierre Andrevon)
  • Le cycle de Fondation (Isaac Asimov)
  • Le cycle de la Culture (Iain M. Banks)
  • Marée Stellaire et Elévation (David Brin)
  • Ceux de nulle part (Francis Carsac)
  • Le cycle de Chanur (C.J. Cherryh)
  • Chants de la Terre lointaine (Arthur C. Clarke)
  • Nova (Samuel Delany)
  • Les Galaxiales (Michel Demuth)
  • Dorsai (Gordon Dickson)
  • La Mécanique du Talion (Laurent Genefort)
  • Le Monde-Forteresse (James E. Gunn)
  • Le cycle des Loups des étoiles (Edmond Hamilton)
  • Les Trois Solutions (Harry Harrisson)
  • Citoyen de la Galaxie (Robert Heinlein)
  • Le cycle de Dune (Frank Herbert)
  • Le Gambit des étoiles (Gérard Klein)
  • Chants de l'espace (R.A. Lafferty)
  • L'Anneau-Monde et Les Ingénieurs de l'Anneau-Monde (Larry Niven)
  • Guêpe (E.F. Russel)
  • Le cycle des "Bersekers" (Fred Saberhagen)
  • Oméga (Robert Sheckley)
  • Hyperion, La chute d'Hypérion, Endymion et L'éveil d'Endymion (Dan Simmons)
  • Le cycle des Seigneurs de l'Instrumentalité (Cordwainer Smith)
  • Tschaï, le cycle des Princes-Démons et le cycle d'Alastor (Jack Vance)
  • L'orphelin de Perdide (Stefan Wul)
  • L'ile des morts (Roger Zelazny)
  • Et d’innombrables romans de la collection Fleuve Noir Anticipation…

Bandes dessinées
  • Valérian (Christin-Mézières)
  • Les Naufragés du temps (Forest-Gillon)
  • L'Incal (Jodorowski-Moebius)
  • Storm (Lawrence)
  • Aquablue (Cailleteau-Vatine)
  • Aldébaran, Bételgeuse et Antarès (Leo)
  • Sillage (Buchet-Morvan)

Cinéma
  • Planète Interdite
  • Star Wars
  • Star Trek
  • Alien
  • AlienS
  • Dune
  • Battle Beyond the Stars
  • The Last Starfighter
  • Enemy Mine
  • Starship Troopers
  • Titan AE
  • Avatar

Télévision
  • Star Trek
  • Babylon V
  • Dune (mini-série SyFy)
 
Last edited:

ryubysss

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
57
pedantry: Jack Vance has gotten adapted. his non-sf thriller Bad Ronald got turned into a TV movie. I think I remember it scaring me.

not to disparage PKD, but I think he just got lucky. he had a novel of his optioned as movie and, as it happened, a great movie, even if not recognized as such at the time. his cult status snowballed into mainstream status. I think luck had a lot (not everything) to do with it.
 

Teresa Edgerton

Goblin Princess
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
14,296
Location
California
I haven't read a lot of Vance's work, but what I did read (Lyonnesse, The Dying Earth, a couple of Cugel novels) seemed to me to be exceptional largely because of the prose, and that is exactly the sort of thing that is difficult to translate to film.

It's why we don't see a lot of Lovecraft made into films.
 

Finch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2019
Messages
120
The other week I discoverer someones Jack Vance collection in a charity shop . Jack Vance is not so well know in the UK. All the books I bought had the original Borders American price sticker on them . The first and only Vance I book I have read to-date is Planet Of Adventure . I enjoyed it . It is a old school boys adventure story . It did suffer from the old school short comings of being misogynistic and a bit racist . I don't believe it would make a good film.
PKD has written some poor books , but the body of his work is highly original , and overall has been a big influence to many science fiction film makers and writers .
I don't believe it is luck that PKD has had this influence , he is a better and more original writer than Vance .
 

hitmouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2011
Messages
1,944
The other week I discoverer someones Jack Vance collection in a charity shop . Jack Vance is not so well know in the UK. All the books I bought had the original Borders American price sticker on them . The first and only Vance I book I have read to-date is Planet Of Adventure . I enjoyed it . It is a old school boys adventure story . It did suffer from the old school short comings of being misogynistic and a bit racist . I don't believe it would make a good film.
PKD has written some poor books , but the body of his work is highly original , and overall has been a big influence to many science fiction film makers and writers .
I don't believe it is luck that PKD has had this influence , he is a better and more original writer than Vance .
With respect, if you have only read a single novel by Jack Vance, then the basis for your comparison with PKD is flimsy.
 

Elckerlyc

Achieved Score: "None Correct"
Joined
Aug 27, 2019
Messages
612
Location
The Netherlands
...Jack Vance is not so well know in the UK...
...The first and only Vance I book I have read to-date is Planet Of Adventure...
...I don't believe it is luck that PKD has had this influence , he is a better and more original writer than Vance...
Well now...
Is it true that Jack Vance is not so well known in the UK? If so, I am flabbergasted. I think there's no SFF writer from the 60's and 70's that´s been translated more in Dutch as Jack Vance. His prose is unique. I am not saying the best, just very distinctive. And a joy to read.
I would go so far as saying that - to just pick one of this novels - Durdane is a must read. You'll never forget Vance's voice.
PKD and Vance are 2 totally different writers. You can't compare the two without doing one or the other injustice.
 

Star-child

Science fiction fantasy
Joined
Oct 8, 2019
Messages
478
With respect to all the various writers, PKD has had many films made because the synopses of his books sound exactly like movie pitches:

A game show where people are actually hunted to death.
Not being able to tell whether a virtual adventure is real or not.
A policeman that hunts down illegal androids who just want to be treated as people.

Difficult to find ANY SF novels that can be summarized so briefly.
 

Finch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2019
Messages
120
With respect, if you have only read a single novel by Jack Vance, then the basis for your comparison with PKD is flimsy.
What you say is sort of true . Planet of Adventure is actuly a series of four novels , but the point is I have read a lot of PKD and not much of Vance. It would be easy to read PKD at random and read some not very good books . However , Out of the small collection of Vance I have , The planet of adventure is considered to be one of his best .
 

J Riff

The Ants are my friends..
Joined
Apr 11, 2010
Messages
4,876
Location
Sleeping in Lab
ah, re-reading Demon Princes, so very good, the writing is. Plus, right from the beginning, it's a straight detective novel, a very strong story grabs you. Each novel is not terribly long, so we know that our MC Gersen is going to find these naughty Princes, and terminate them, but it is not going to be easy. If hollywood got hold of this, it could be plastered up there as one more space-avenger action-fest, and be trite or bland, like usual, to bring it down to the level of comic book stuperhero... quite likely that's what would happen.
But, he's so good at slipping in the lyrical stuff, and descriptive stuff, and characters, and just the overall feel of the Oikumen, the Galaxy, that it really gives these particular books an added level or two. There are a lot of memorable sentences, abundant nine-dollar words, and the odd zinger just to let you know he can really write, so the chances of a movie adaptation satisfying habitual readers of Vance is remote - equal to, say, - the chance of finding Howard Alan Treesong on any of a thousand bizarre planets...
 

BrightSparrow

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
11
I love Vance, but I think an adaptation would miss out on the really great part of his writing which is the descriptions.

I watched the Good Omens adaptation recently and it was fine but I think the humour is so much in the writing that they needed the voice of god narrator to deliver a lot of the jokes. I didn't enjoy the approach they took that much.

With Vance I could see it coming out the same. They joy of reading is his prose, and it would be a great project for a creative team to work on. But who would fund it? Netflix and Amazon do more quirky stuff so I could see a champion of his work in the industry making something nice.
 
Top