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Rincewiend June 1 2013 12:03 AM

R.I.P. Jack Vance, 1916-2013
Just found out he died last weekend...


Jack Vance's impact on science fiction can't be overestimated. His Dying Earth series alone would be enough to make him one of the genre's most important figures. But he also gave us the Demon Princes series and several others, and he helped revitalize the planetary romance genre with Big Planet. He died over the weekend in Oakland, aged 96.

A science fiction Grand Master, Vance is probably best remembered for his four Dying Earth novels, which take place in a far-future Earth where the sun has dimmed and magic has been reestablished as a dominant force. They feature a brilliant picaresque adventure tone, including the unforgettable thief Cugel the Clever, and they were also celebrated in a recent anthology Songs of the Dying Earth, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. These books contain Vance's characteristic ironic, lightly humorous style, which has influenced generations of science fiction writers.

But he also made a huge impact with his five-book Demon Princes series, in which Kirth Gersen takes his revenge on each of the five monsters who condemned his village to slavery.

His novel The Languages of Pao is a brilliant look at the Sapir-Worf Hypothesis and how language can be used to manipulate people in this case, how changing people's language can make them more warlike.

stj June 1 2013 12:19 AM

Re: R.I.P. Jack Vance, 1916-2013
One of the all time greats. I must second the mention of The Languages of Pao. I would add To Live Forever, The Blue World, Emphyrio and The Gray Prince as some of his best novels. He excelled at the novella, too, giving us classics like The Houses of Iszm, The Moon Moth, The Last Castle, The Dragon Masters and the Magnus Ridolph novellas fixed up as Monsters in Orbit.

As seen above, his series were very popular, especially his fantasies. Mostly I don't find those up to the standards of his standalones. But second-tier Vance is exceeding high standard anyhow. I even like his Brains of Earth!

Sir Rhosis June 1 2013 01:03 AM

Re: R.I.P. Jack Vance, 1916-2013
^^^What both of you said. RIP.

Sir Rhosis

Klaus June 1 2013 05:06 AM

Re: R.I.P. Jack Vance, 1916-2013
The Dying Earth series had a big influence on old-school AD&D as well... he'll be missed. :(

Nagisa Furukawa June 1 2013 08:53 PM

Re: R.I.P. Jack Vance, 1916-2013
R.I.P. Jack, the Dying Earth series is some of the best stuff I've ever read. Will continue to check out stuff he's done long ago long into the future.

Out Of My Vulcan Mind June 1 2013 09:12 PM

Re: R.I.P. Jack Vance, 1916-2013
He didn't have the name recognition of some of his peers, but he was a titan of the genre nonetheless. Rest in peace, Jack Vance.

Candlelight June 2 2013 04:36 AM

Re: R.I.P. Jack Vance, 1916-2013
The TrekBBS needs to have a 'like' button dammit!


RIP Mr Vance.

Daddy Todd June 2 2013 05:24 AM

Re: R.I.P. Jack Vance, 1916-2013
One of my proudest acquisitions is the VIE (Vance Integral Edition) set of Jack Vance's complete works (apart from his autobiography/memoir, that was written after the VIE was published.)

Google "Vance Integral Edition" to see what I'm talking about, if you've never heard of it. It's awesome.

The Lensman June 2 2013 07:00 AM

Re: R.I.P. Jack Vance, 1916-2013

Klaus wrote: (Post 8184016)
The Dying Earth series had a big influence on old-school AD&D as well... he'll be missed. :(

Loved the Dying Earth! Had multiple copies of "The Dying Earth" and "Eyes Of The Overworld". I remember about twenty six years ago, a co-worker saying that the landscape of (I think) the movie Willow reminded him of a book by Jack Vance...all he could recall was that it took place in the millionth century or something, had very exotic and strange lands and was awesome. He could recall Vance's name but he couldn't recall the name of the book. When I went to look for the book, I had forgotten Vance's name, only knew it was near the end of the alphabet and that it was in "the millionth century". Yeah, that's how I used to sometimes look for books...I discovered a lot of cool shit along the way.

By an amazing coincidence the book I thought was "The Dying Earth" happened to be the book that inspired that whole genre...."Zothique" by Clark Ashton Smith....a book (and author) that went on to be one of my all time favorites.

Thankfully in the intro to that book, it mentioned authors who were inspired by Ashton Smith's "Zothique" stories and it mentioned Vance and "The Dying Earth". I finally had the name of both author and book and finally found it and it's sequels. I read "The Dying Earth" on a trip to the middle of nowhere in New Mexico. This was sometime in the 90's....out in a million acres of National Forest where the nearest outpost of civilization was literally a small village with one general store. No power out there, and a full moon so bright it was a night time sun.

Out there in those mountains, the imagery of "The Dying Earth" was really vivid. Wandering around hiking, sitting on top of hills taking in the grand vistas and listening to the wind....walking under a canopy of tree's, seeing a giant boulder....or being amazed at just how a bright a full moon can truly was eerie and surreal and fit the whole vibe of the book. It wasn't hard to feel like I was there, as if I walked far enough I might come across the Museum Of Man or run into Chun the Unavoidable or spy a Twk-Man riding a dragonfly.

A truly memorable experience for a wonderful book.

Farewell Jack...thanks for taking us all into strange and wonderous lands at the end of the world.

Silvercrest June 2 2013 06:12 PM

I've never had the chance to read The Dying Earth, but one of these years.

Planet of Adventure, however, is awesome!


Klaus wrote: (Post 8184016)
The Dying Earth series had a big influence on old-school AD&D as well... he'll be missed. :(

Vecna agrees with you.

Wait a minute, he can't be dead. He's a lich!

Mistral June 2 2013 07:33 PM

Re: R.I.P. Jack Vance, 1916-2013
A great author. RIP

publiusr June 2 2013 10:25 PM

Re: R.I.P. Jack Vance, 1916-2013
Goodbye Jack--you were the real Star King.

Valin June 3 2013 11:56 PM

Re: R.I.P. Jack Vance, 1916-2013
RIP. Besides his Dying Earth books, I also read his Ellery Queen novels.

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