Transreal Fiction

Scotland’s sf & fantasy bookstore

Jack Vance: The sun has guttered and finally gone out

I woke up this morning to the sad news that my favourite author had died at the weekend, aged 96. I’ve been reading Jack Vance since the late 1960s – 45 years! –  and although he stopped writing some time ago, it’s still a great loss.

Locus have a brief piece here.

And I like what Battered, Tattered, Yellowed & Creased said as well.

I first came across his work when I bought The Eyes of the Overworld back in about 1967 or so, possibly a bit later, but still 45 years ago! I used to go to a local newsagent whenever I had enough pocketmoney to buy one of the import sf titles they had on a spinner and one time that’s what I risked my money on! It probably cost me 10d, maybe 1/-


By the mid 70s I was picking up his books as   they were (re)released by Mayflower and in the late 70s I bought my first hardback (the outsize Underwood Miller edition of Morreion)! Since then I’ve got hold of most of what he’s written, from almost all his 1st appearances in old pulp magazines, though paperbacks, hardbacks and more!

In 1992 he was Guest of Honor at Worldcon in Orlando and I made the trip there to see him. It was great fun and I ended up chatting to him and Norma and their son Jack, jr. and helping with one of the official signing events he had. Even then his sight was failing and I sat beside him opening all the books to the right page, lining them up so he could sign without needing to adjust his wrist and telling him what the titles were… I felt quite honoured.
To keep my luggage weight under control I only took one book of my own to get signed – The Blue World h/c from Putnam

IMG_2330  I’ve accumulated many    other signed editions, but  that’s the only personalised one.

He’s written too many books for me to name a favourite but The Killing Machine, Trullion, Pao, The Miracle Workers, The Blue World are all up there, with many more! One or two clunkers, I admit, especially in his early short fiction but nothing I haven’t felt worth re-reading at some point! Over the years his books have been a constant, the centre-point of my reading, around which everything else has revolved.

But, at last, like the Dying Earth’s sun, his light is finally eclipsed.

Fare thee well, Jack.


Jack Vance 1916 – 2013

My Flickr set has my comments on some of his books, etc.




May 30, 2013 - Posted by | Announcements, Author News |

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