Jack Vance was one of the ten best literary fantasists in English of the last century, and an often brilliant writer of science fiction and crime fiction as well. (He ghosted three Ellery Queen novels, as well as writing his own suspense and mystery fiction.) His death, on Sunday, at age 96, was announced today. Further memoirs: Bill Crider; Carlo Rotella in the New York Times; Richard Robinson; Lawrence Person leading off covers with To Live Forever.
|This one was adapted for the television series Thriller.|
|This one was filmed.|
|From an interview/profile published last year.|
Thanks very much Todd - Can;t believe that I've read so little by him other than the ghosted 'Queen' books and some short stories but will have to remedy this - love the look of the memoir.
I can't imagine you'll be too disappointed, wherever you start again...
I think Vance had some of the richest language I ever encountered in sf (Poul Anderson being another of the breed, doubtless because of the bardic tradition of Scandinavia). For that reason he takes some getting used to, and there are probably some people who just can't get into him at all, especially the later, longer works.
Though Anderson could be a bit stiff, particularly when he felt most bardic (so elegantly pellucid at other times), while the range of Vance prose in my experience ranges from the dazzlingly fluid and witty to, at worst, subdued. Fritz Leiber, Ursula Le Guin, Joanna Russ at her most lyrical, Avram Davidson were his peers (Jane Yolen, Gene Wolf and A. A. Attanasio among his students). CA Smith and I think Cabell and Dunsany his inspirations...
Jack Vance also admired P.G. Wodehouse so some of that classic wit can be found in his work. I plan to post a tribute to Jack Vance next week on my blog. I agree with you Todd: Jack Vance should be considered one of the great writers of the 20th Century.
I look forward to your post, George.
Todd, thanks for this fine tribute to Jack Vance. I have completely neglected his work.
A nice tribute, and the collection of covers shows how well-rounded he was.
The CPL has a copy of the Edgar Award winner MAN IN A CAGE and I'm eager to read it. I'm glad I read one of his SF books, but now I want to try his crime fiction.
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