Looking for free fiction , good stories , funny stories , recent fiction , or best of ? More options on side bar. Found a broken link? May be the story can still be found. Couple of caveats first, particularly for readers from the East: This is the first story of Vance where I found a para obnoxious for racist reasons - Orientals are dirt, filthy; the idiots need to have the superior western world view forced; etc. Mostly, but not always, to villains from history.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published July 2nd by Pocket first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews.
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More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Best of Jack Vance. May 17, mark monday rated it really liked it Shelves: z-jack-vance , scifisss. Vance is like a dry white wine: crisp and easy going down, some slight acidic notes, elegant but still herbaceous and earthy; let's say a California Sauvignon Blanc. Vance was inspired by pre-World War 2 Japanese society when writing this one; thus the fabulous formality of human interactions in this story.
Vance - who has previously come across as distinctly fat-phobic - posits a surprisingly fun and sympathetically rendered mini-world where obesity is the happy norm; due to the lack of gravity, more-than-full-figured types live nimble, gay, and lusty lives. Dec 27, TJ rated it really liked it. The Best of Jack Vance, first published in , is a collection of three novellas and three novelettes that were written between and Even though some of my favorites are not included, it would still be a good choice for those who want to begin reading Vance's shorter works.
It does include the outstanding novelette, "The Moon Moth. It has The Best of Jack Vance, first published in , is a collection of three novellas and three novelettes that were written between and Bent tells his cadet crew that he does not expect to be liked and that if they do like him then he has failed because, "I haven't pushed you hard enough. He has trained almost every well known pilot and is about to train a new crew. During the training flight when Bent is not drunk or hiding from the others, he is sneaking around the ship, spying on the cadets, keeping track of their behavior by making comments in his notebooks where he records demerits.
These demerits will determine who passes and who gets axed from the program. Bent also says that he is retiring, that this will be his last flight and hints that he wants to die in space. Is he suicidal? Has he become an incompetent drunk? Or is this the finest training the cadets will ever receive? Each member of his crew reacts differently to Bent's behavior and the challenges of the training. It is all done with humor with a memorable character who is as difficult as any boot camp sergeant.
My rating: 3. It is a 25 page novelette. Bruham Ullward is a wealthy man who lives in a futuristic society where real estate is incredibly expensive and conditions very crowded. He has the rare luxury of having a real tree and moss on his property. Sometimes he offers the rare gift of a real leaf to visitors. Electronic "illusion-panes" simulate three dimensional electronic scenes of beautiful views by generating mountains, valleys, skies and moons.
Ullward wants to expand his property by purchasing small parcels even at their outrageously high prices, but other owners won't sell. He is delighted when he encounters an opportunity to lease half a planet where he will have plenty of room.
Ullward builds his new retreat on this planet and moves. The owner lives on the other half of the planet, and there is a strict contract rule forbidding trespass on the other's property.
Ironically when visitors arrive at his new home, they compare his beautiful natural views to illusion-panes, claim the natural rocks do not look real, are fearful of the waves on a real beach, and even object to Ullward's new privacy stating, "I love the privacy and solitude--but I thought there'd be more people to be private from.
Was he better off back on his crowded home planet where nature, scenic views and many other things were synthetic or simulated? It is a fun and interesting story that Vance himself continued to like. I rated it a 4. It was also nominated for a Nebula Award for Best Novel. Technically it is a novella. The setting is in the far future where an elite clans of humans on Earth live in castles as a special class of ruling aristocrats.
Under them are the peasants and slaves. Most of the work, even the most technical, is performed by enslaved aliens called Meks. The humans think the docile Meks are happy being slaves, so are taken by surprise when there is an uprising and all of the Meks begin fighting to eliminate humans.
The Meks defeat all castles except the largest and best defended one called Castle Hagedorn. One of the clan leaders there, Xanten, organizes a final stand against the Meks. Using lively dialog and interesting alien creatures, Vance presents humanitarian and ethical issues in a well written and interesting story. It is one of his better writings, although not one his very finest.
It is a pity that more of Vance's novellas and novels did not receive awards. My rating: 4. The main character, a woman named Jean, obtains a job as a housekeeper at the home of a wealthy man, Earl Abercrombie, on a private satellite which he owns, Abercrombie Station. He is unmarried and has some terminal medical condition. The plan is for Jean to marry him and then, after he dies, to obtain two million dollars from the mysterious coconspirator who recruited her to do this.
She is a "gravity girl" from Earth, however, and the place she goes to has no gravity and a much different concept of beauty. On this strange satellite the larger the person is the more attractive they are considered, so most are as wide as they are tall and float around in the air while hired help wear magnetic shoes to keep them on the floor.
So there is a problem with attracting this billionaire because Jean is considered malnourished, unhealthy and scrawny by their standards and is thought to be extremely unattractive even though she is very pretty by Earth standards. Her billionaire employer also has a large collection of bizarre alien creatures that he keeps in his natural history museum and seems to find more attractive than any women.
No challenge is too much for Jean, however. Rating 3. It takes place on the planet Sirene where adherence to specific local customs and protocol is more important than money or even life itself.
Edwer Thissell was recently appointed as the new Consular Representative from Earth after the previous Representative to Sirene was killed because he violated a social norm. Thissell has been taking lessons to learn to play various musical instruments in order to communicate with the locals. All communication on Sirene must be made by playing the appropriate musical instruments and singing in a certain respectful way. Social behavior expected on Sirene is so detailed and complex that it is almost incomprehensible to anyone not born in the culture.
Slight violations or mistakes might be interpreted as a grave insult or offense and can lead to bodily harm or even death. All of the Sirene residents also wear special masks as must the four men from Earth. Only certain types of masks can be worn depending on the status and musical skills of the wearer. The mask Thissell wears is of the "moon moth.
Thissell is sent a special message by his superiors assigning him the duty of capturing an assassin from Earth who will soon arrive to Sirene. Unfortunately the message is delayed, and the assassin is able to elude capture. Thissell must begin the process of tracking him down in the town where he has to interact with the local people.
He knows that violating the strict rules of behavior can lead to severe consequences but he also knows that he will lose his job if he fails. The story is complex, well thought out and skillfully written. It is probably the best short work Vance ever wrote and is essential reading, a real classic. My rating: 5 Rumfuddle "Rumfuddle" is a novella that was initially published in in an anthology called Three Trips in Time and Space.
The Best of Jack Vance
They enjoy popularity among fans of Vance, but not universal support as examples of his first-rate material. It is a blend of mystery and SF, with an ecological theme and easily identifiable, but unorthodox, villain. Exploitation of natural resources is, to my understanding, the most common method by which a population pulls itself out of poverty. He is not part of some soulless corporation, however, but an independent operator—clearly, Vance ties the abuse of nature to something intrinsic within certain individuals, and not necessarily a product of business. He is part of a commercial business exploiting the resources of a primitive, aquatic planet, in a area called The Shallows. Whatever marine life his company Bio-Minerals draws out of The Shallows is processed into chemical compounds: rhodium trichloride, tantalum sulfide and so on. Fletcher and his peer Carl Raight, who supervised the preceding shift, are competing over some informal wager:.
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions.
Post a Comment. Over the last two days I read the version in the collection Best of Jack Vance. By opening portals to universes similar to our own cognates, he calls them he has ushered in a post-scarcity society: if petroleum, or lumber, or any other natural resource is required, simply travel to a universe which is just like ours, but in which humans never developed on Earth, and extract all the material you need. Social problems resulting from population pressure are solved: every family, every individual, if they so choose, can have a cognate Earth of their very own to live on.