Friday, August 09, 2013

FFB Review--Jack Vance Day

Once again we have made it to another Friday. While that is good, for obvious reasons, it also means we have made it to yet another installment of Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. Patti has declared today to be Jack Vance day. This is an author I am not familiar with either in the science fiction realm or in his mystery work. In fact, I don’t think I have ever read any of his work before in either context. Thanks to Barry Ergang who found some of his stuff online for free, I have something to share with the class today.

Liane the Wayfarer has bronze ring.  A very special bronze ring he discovered while digging the grave for a spice merchant. A spice merchant who managed to make a lot of noise while he died as well as getting his blood on Liane the Wayfarer's distinctive red shoes. But, Liane is happy, ecstatic even, as the unpleasantness of that situation has resulted in bronze ring.

A ring with magical properties. A ring that he shall put to good use on the quest specified by the beautiful golden witch. Liane the Wayfarer wants her in the worst way and to earn her love and her passion he must obtain what she wants. While the quest is a difficult one, as they always are, the ring should help him deal with “Chun the Unavoidable.”

According to the afterword citations, the above very good story was originally published in a small magazine in 1950 and reappeared in the 1962 republishing of The Dying Earth.  With Barry’s help, I read the story for free online as it is included in the anthology The World Turned Upside Down at www.freesfonline.dc/authors/Jack_Vance.html. For those interested, the entire anthology is available online via a link at the same location. Tales of the Dying Earth contains all four books of the series.

The story is also interesting, as David Drake notes in the afterword, as the story is written with a flat affect. How the reader should react to each character in the story is dictated by the reader and is not at all influenced by the author.  It is a neat trick when done well and certainly is in this case.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2013


George said...

If you want more of the Dying Earth, you might try SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH edited by George R. R. Martin. It's a tribute collection of stories written by admirers of Jack Vance's famous series. You can find a review of SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH her

Kelly Robinson said...

That is certainly a well-loved copy of The Dying Earth.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you for the suggestion, George, but I am swamped.

Seems to be, Kelly.