Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

A Sad Day for SF

It is a sad day for fans of science fiction and fantasy.

Word has just gotten out that Jack Vance, one of the grandmasters of our genres, and IMNSHO one of the greatest writers of our times, passed away on Sunday. He was 96.

I had the honor of meeting Jack a few times, but I cannot claim to have known him well. But he had a huge influence on me and my work, and for the past fifty-some years has ranked among my very favorite writers. Every time a new Jack Vance book came out, I would drop whatever else I was doing and read it. Sometimes I did not mean to, but once you cracked the covers of a Vance book, you were lost.

It pleases me no end that Gardner Dozois and I were able to do our tribute anthology, SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH, when Jack was still alive, so he could hear how many of today's fantasists he had inspired. Vance's Dying Earth ranks with Howard's Hyborian Age and Tolkien's Middle Earth as one of the all-time great fantasy settings, and Cugel the Clever is the genre's greatest rogue, a character as memorable as Conan or Frodo (either of whom Cugel would likely swindle out of their smallclothes, had they ever met).

Vance was equally adept at writing SF and mystery, and will be remembered as one of the very few writers ever to win an Edgar Award along with Hugos and Nebulas. The output was prodigious, and there is scarcely a bad book among them. If you haven't read Jack Vance... well, I pity you, but I envy you as well. You have some amazing adventures ahead of you. The Dying Earth, Lyonesse, the Demon Princes, BAD RONALD, Liane the Wayfarer and Chun the Unavoidable, Emphyrio, Showboat World, Big Planet, the Dirdir and the Pnume and the Chasch and (yes) the Wankh, the Last Castle, the Dragon Masters, the Moon Moth... the list goes on and on and on and on.

Jack Vance left the world a richer place than he found it. No more can be asked of any writer.


May. 30th, 2013 05:00 am (UTC)
Just went and purchased all 4 Jack Vance Dying Earth Novels for my Kindle on Amazon.com. They were $6.64 each which is a heck of a deal for the hours of entertainment I will surely get out of them. Will give them a read in the months ahead.

May. 30th, 2013 08:42 am (UTC)
If you've not read any Vance, that is where I'd start. For roleplayers, that series provided the basis for the D&D magic system AND the model for the thief class (in the person of Cugel the Clever) - Gary Gygax said so himself.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

Latest Month

November 2015


Page Summary

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner