Vance Treasury amended

Looks like I posted the early copy of our reading list for the Treasury, that was sent to Subterranean Press. That list ran to 22 stories, but our current list runs to 25. The key addition, as has been pointed as a glaring omission, is “The Gift of the Gab”. The full current 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

Just to give you an idea of how length is running on this book, when we started we roughed a possible list of important stories to include. It ran to eleven stories (Coup de Grace, The Gift of Gab, Liane the Wayfarer , Noise, Rumfuddle, Sail 25, The Dragon Masters, The Last Castle, The Men Return, The Miracle Workers, The Moon Moth) which took up a total of 158,000 words of a book.  While we have freedom to run somewhat longer than that, it should give you an idea of the struggle to get all of the essential stories into the Treasury.

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11 Comments

  1. Jonathan,

    These are some terrific selections. For my own part, I would have selected “Dodkin’s Job” over “When the Five Moons Rise,” but, as I have read your review of Coup de Grace below this entry, I can understand your reticence to include it. I would have enjoyed reading Rhodes’s disagreement of your review, in Cosmopolis, but only because I suspect it would have excused Vance’s science fiction content as purely ancillary. ;)

    For my own part, before I owned the VIE, my introduction to Vance’s work was the Timescape Best of Vance collection, and, as I recall, that was an excellent overview of his “moods.” I see that you have selected some of what was included in that book, so I can only add that what worked on me is perhaps likely to work on others!

    It’s unfortunate you can’t include sections of his novels (aside from the few novels that are comprised of short works, like The Dying Earth), because I have found over my years of reading Vance that I love the short stories, but I REALLY love the novels best.

    Good luck and congratulations on this worthy project!

    Brian B.

  2. As long as Morreion is included, you can do whatever else you like. Morreion is Vance’s finest achievement combining a remarkable style, tone, atmosphere, and story (and a very typical Vancean conclusion).

    More later. Your list is so extensive that I have to go back and review many of the entries myself.

  3. I have always been fond of The Secret – a very different sort of Vance story, and to my notion his most allegorical. I would nominate it for your list.

    Thanks
    Billy Webb

  4. I too would like to nominate ‘Dodkin’s Job’.

    I’m a little unsure as to why you are including episodes from ‘The Dying Earth’ (‘Guyal of Sfere’,’Liane the Wayfarer’ etc.)- these seem to get reprinted an awful lot. Aren’t there some less well known pieces that you could include?

  5. As I’ve said elsewhere, we’ll take a look at “Dodkin’s Job”, but it did seem very dated, very ’50s.

    As to why include episodes from “The Dying Earth”: well, firstly, we’re looking for Jack’s best short fiction. The goal isn’t to assemble a selection of lesser known work or good alternate selections. It’s the best of the best, nothing less. We hope the book will attract new readers, and that means being open to his most widely available work. Second, reprinted or not, most of his work is out of print. Right now, I don’t think there’s a single collection of his short fiction in print in the English language, and I’m pretty sure that the omnibus of the Dying Earth fiction, Tales of the Dying Earth, published by Tor and Gollancz in 2000 is now also out of print.

  6. I notice that for stories from The Dying Earth, most people seem to focus on ‘Liane the Wayfarer’ and ‘Guyal of Sfere’. Historically, ‘Liane the Wayfarer’ is the one that has normally been included in collections because it short, fast, to-the-point and provides quick introduction to The Dying Earth. ‘Guyal of Sfere’ is slower, deeper and, I think, does a fuller job of exploring what Jack Vance does best. If you have room, by all means, use them both. If you find you only have room for one, I’d recommend using ‘Guyal of Sfere’.

    If you want a compromise, take another look at ‘Mazirian the Magician’. It is also short, provides a nice view of the Dying Earth milieu, and has one of the finest openings of any story any where.

    In response to some of the complaints, let me speak out in defense of ‘The Narrow Land’. It presents a beautiful view of a world and has always been one of my favorites. I’d also like to call your attention to ‘The Devil on Salvation Bluff’. It is one of Vance’s earlier stories, but has always held a special charm for me. It might be worth another look.

    On the whole, though, I have to say, “Go with your own instincts”. We all have our own favorites, and you’ll hear complaints whichever stories you pick. Let me just say that even your original list sounds like a book worth having and would provide a good introduction to Jack Vance.

    Paul Cooper

  7. Incidentally, which version of ‘Guyal of Sfere’ are you planning to use? Both the original and the 1968 version are in the VIE (the latter in the final volume)and the two are markedly different. Both are excellent, and the story should definitely be included, but you may want to make a conscious decision over which to include, rather than ending with one by default.

    I was the VIE textual integrity worker for this story: email me if you want to explore further offline.

    ~Tim

  8. Tim: I don’t intend to consider versions at all. I’m working directly for Jack, Norma, and John. I assume that they will provide me with whichever version of the text they consider to be the definitive one, and I will treat that as the authoritative text.

    I should probably add that while I have enormous respect for much of the work done by the VIE, I’m not dealing directly with anyone associated the VIE right now. I assume, for what it’s worth, that having published the books and delivered all of the electronic texts to the Vances, the VIE no longer exists.

    I do appreciate your comments, though. If you have a copy of the story that you think I should look at, by all means email it on. It’d be aprpeciated.

  9. Paul: Thanks for your thoughts on the story selections. I will definitely add all of the stories to my reading list, and then begin the reading in a few weeks. I might even blog my reactions. Thanks too for the advice to go with my own instincts. That’s pretty much my intention. I know we can’t please everyone, but the Vance readers I’ve encountered are an intelligent, passionate crowd, and I’m eager to listen to them during this process.

    I should add that Terry and I have two complementary roles, as editors. Terry is the hard core Vancephile: loves everything, has read it 20 times, is lifelong friends with Jack, all of that stuff. I, on the other hand, am the skeptic. My role is to essentially sit there and say, “Yeah? Convince me!” I’m supposed to provide balance, provide perspective on well-loved stories etc, to make sure that the final book is one that today’s readers will respond to. I say that because, as delighted as I am with the Subterranean Press edition of this book, it’s my hope we’ll go much further than that. I hope we’ll get a trade edition, a Book Club edition, and sell overseas as well. I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure that this book is still in print in ten or fifteen years, rather than simply appearing and disappearing.

  10. Jonathan,

    I see you have plenty of suggestions on the various message boards considering which Vance stories to include, so I’d like to make another suggestion. You mention there will be introductions to the stories…but from who? Is it possible/feasible to get introductions and/or afterwards from the writers and editors in the field? Silverberg did this a few years back with the Avram Davidson Treasury and I, for one, loved it. Gene Wolfe, Ursula LeGuin, Lucius Shepard, Robert Silverberg, Gardner Dozois, Nick Gevers, yourself and Terry, John C Wright, Matt Hughes, Sean McMullen—-who else has been influenced by Vance….

  11. Scott: Had we but time. We did discuss doing exactly that, but at this stage it just isn’t practical to do it. Maybe at another time.

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