Coupe de Grace reviewed

Just to give some idea of my own taste where Vance’s work is concerned, I thought I might reprint a review of a Jack Vance sampler published by the VIE back in 2001 that I wrote for Locus. While the review is four years old – and was part of the background reading and prep. for the Treasury – my views haven’t changed much since then. I should add that the review lead to the longest response to any review I’ve done, a four page disagreement by Paul Rhodes published in the VIE magazine, Cosmopolis.

Coup de Grace and Other Stories, Jack Vance (The Vance Integral Edition)

When stories first began appearing under the byline ‘Jack Vance’, science fiction was largely a place of transparent prose, plainly spoken characters, and bug-eyed monsters with an inexplicable preference for Earth women. Vance’s early stories, characterized as they were by rich, stylized prose, mannered characters, and drawing-room plots must have seemed both refreshing and unusual to the readers of Thrilling Wonder Stories and Super Science Fiction. His stories weren’t about the latest gadget or technological doodad – instead they focussed on strange, alien cultures that allowed him to indulge in the often satirical social commentary that would prove characteristic of his entire body of work.

Continue reading Coupe de Grace reviewed

The Vance Treasury – You can help!

As I mention in the post below, Terry Dowling and I will soon be starting assembling the manuscript for The Jack Vance Treasury. The Treasury will collect between 175,000 words and 225,000 words of Jack’s best short fiction. It is our intention to assemble a completely definitive selection of Jack’s short fiction, a single volume argument for why he is an important and fascinating writer, the book that will always be the first stop for new Vance readers in years to come.

The reason I’m posting now is that you can help. If you’re an interested Vance reader we would welcome your input. Post your thoughts in the comments for this post, list what stories should be included, what we might be overlooking, and what should be dropped.

While we are working on the Jack Vance Treasury, we welcome any comments from Vance’s readers. Our working list is:

  1. A Bagful of Dreams
  2. Assault on a City
  3. Coup de Grace
  4. Gift of Gab
  5. Green Magic
  6. Guyal of Sfere
  7. Liane the Wayfarer
  8. Morreion
  9. Noise
  10. Rumfuddle
  11. Sail
  12. Shape-Up
  13. The Dragon Masters
  14. The Kokod Warriors
  15. The Last Castle
  16. The Man from Zodiac
  17. The Men Return
  18. The Miracle Workers
  19. The Mitr
  20. The Moon Moth
  21. The Narrow Land
  22. The New Prime
  23. The Seventeen Virgins
  24. The Sorcerer Pharesm
  25. When the Five Moons Rise

I’d add a quick thanks to all the good folks at the VIE, whose hard work digitising texts are making our job much easier.

Note: I managed to delete this post earlier. This is a quick re-creation of it. I’ll try to re-do it properly late.

The Jack Vance Treasury

A week or two ago I mentioned that I had a new project that I’m co-editing with Terry Dowling suddenly come to life. That project is The Jack Vance Treasury. As you’ll be able to see from following the link, it’s a 175,000 word hardcover collection bringing together a selection of Vance’s very best short fiction, including such classics as “The Moon Moth”, “The Last Castle”, and “The Dragon Masters”. Just as soon as Terry and I both clear our schedules, we’ll do the final reading, assemble the manuscript, get the main intro together, along with some story notes, and the book will be barreling towards being completed.