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Jack Vance

Science Fiction

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Jack Vance
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Titles to Look Out For:
1950 (and later eds.) Fantasms & Magics
1978. Wyst: Alastor 1716
1980.The Face
1980. Galactic Effectuator
1983. Cugel's Saga
1986. The Augmented Agent and Other Stories
1991. Ecce & Old Earth: The Cadwal Chronicles Book Two
1994. Throy

About the Author
Jack Vance was born in 1920 and educated at the University of California, initially as a mining engineer, later majoring in Physics and finally in journalism. Since then his career has been varied. His writing career started in WWII when he penned his first story whilst serving in the US Merchant Marine.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he contributed a variety of short stories to the science fiction and fantasy magazines of the time. Inevitably his first book was published and this was The Dying Earth in 1950. The Dying Earth was the first of a series; the second book being The Eyes of the Overworld; and then finally Cugel's Saga

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Vance, Jack. 'Fantasms & Magics', published in 1987 by Grafton Books (Collins), 192pp, ISBN 0583124984. Sorry, sold out, but click image or use banners to access prebuilt searches for this title on Amazon)
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  • Fantasms & Magic [top]
    First published in 1950
    Reprinted 1951, 1952, 1954, 1957, 1958, 1969 (hardcover)
    First published in 1978 by Grafton Books
    Reprinted in 1987 by Grafton Books (Collins) in paperback, 192pp, ISBN 0583124984. Original UK retail price: £2.50; New Zealand $9.95; Australia $7.95
    Cover illustration by Peter Elson

Storyline: On the desolate world of Pangborn, the violent descendants of marooned starship captains battle constantly for supremacy - in a mediaeval future where magic is as important a weapon as the axe and the broadsword. No warlord will fight without his jinxer, the martial magician whose powers must sway the battle where brain and muscle fail.

But now, as the mighty and ruthless Lord of Faide comes within reach of his goal of planetwide domination, Pangborn begins to fight back. And the jinxer stands impotent before beings that existed long before humanity came searching for conquests among the stars...

Vance, Jack. 'Wyst:Alastor 1716', published by Daw Books, 1978, paperback, 224pp. In stock, click image to buy for GBP10.00, not including post and packing, which is Amazon UKs standard charge, currently GBP2.80 for UK buyers, more for overseas customers
1978, Daw Books
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Storyline: The Trouble with Utopia is people. And this will remain true even in days to come, even in the Alastor Cluster of thirty thousand inhabited planets, whose sole protector of law was the mysterious person known as the Connatic. On the planet Wyst, Number 1716 of the Alastor Cluster, there was such a Utopia, or so it claimed. There is one great city lived millions of people, sharing alike, working in absolute equality for just a few hours a week. But there was something decidedly cockeyed there and the Connatic finally sent a trusted investigator to bring back the facts even at the risk of his life.

Extract: Some called it Utopia. "Arrabus is the beating heart of Wyst. Despite rumor to the contrary, Arrabus functions; Arrabus is real; Arrabus, in fact, is an amazing experience. Whoever doubts can come to Wyst and learn for himself. Immigrants are no longer welcome additions to the over-crowded social facilities; still, anyone with a sufficiently thick skin can participate either temporarily or permanently in a fantastic social experiment, where food and shelter, like air, are considered the natural right of all men."

"The newcomer will find himself suddenly relieved of anxieties. He works two brief periods of 'drudge' each week, with another two hours of 'maintenance' at the block where he resides. He will find himself immediately caught up in a society dedicated to self-fulfillment, pleasure and frivolity. He will dance, sing, gossip, engage in countless love affairs, endlessly ride the 'man-rivers' to no special destination, and waste hours in that obsessive occupation of the Arrabins, people-watching..."

"Every visitor to Wyst expects shocks and suprises, but never can he prepare himself for the sheer bogglement inflicted upon him by reality!"

-from the confidential files of the Connatic.

Vance, Jack. 'The Face', published in 1981 by the Science Fiction Book Club, hardback, with dustjacket, 224pp. Sorry, sold out but click image to access prebuilt search for this title on Amazon UK
1981, The Science Fiction Book Club, hbk
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  • The Face [top]
    First published in 1980 in Great Britain by Dobson Books Ltd, 80 Kensington Church Street.
    Reprinted in hardcover in 1981 by The Science Fiction Book Club (The Readers Union), Volume 2, Issue 4, 224pp, No ISBN

Story: The Face is the fourth of Jack Vance's highly acclaimed Demon Princes Novels.
Kirth Gerson has dedicated his life to revenge-to killing one by one the five Demon Princes who had murdered his parents in the historic Mount Pleasant Massacre. Thus far he has despatched three of them.
This time Gersen's adversary is the mysterious but notoriously ugly Lens Larque. He came from a planet with an appallingly vicious culture and he was arrogant above all others.
Gersen tracks Larque across two worlds, but Larque was not only well hidden, he had a mission of villainy that overrode all the other villainies in Gersen's file, and his personal obsession was based upoin an enormous and very real foundation in sadistic power.

Vance, Jack. 'Galactic Effectuator', published in 1983 by Coronet, pbk, 220pp, ISBN 0340321121. Sorry, sold out, but click image to access prebuilt search for this title on Amazon UK
1983, Coronet.
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Story: Meet Miro Hetzel, Galactic Effectuator. He's part gentleman, part detective, part fraud and his trail of exploits cuts through some of the most improbable civilisations in the universe. Join him in a trip to the planet Maz, whose natives are so fierce that they'll fight three battles before lunch and then dine on the enemy-a planet that only a man with Miro Hetzel's steely nerve would dare to visit at all.

'You stand at the edge of the Gaean Reach, and are about to enter Triarchic jurisdiction. Conventional behaviour is required and will usually provoke no unforeseen inconveniences. It is most wise, however, to obtain a copy of Special Regulations at the Triskelion or at your hotel, and be thereby guided.
Urgent warning:never venture into enclaves of the Liss or the Olefract, at the certain risk of profoundly unpleasant consequences.
Attempt no familiarity with the indigenous Gomaz! At Axistil they are normally not aggressive; however, they react unpredictably to attempts at social intercourse. You may observe them as closely as you like, but do not touch them or attempt conversation. The Gomaz are adept telepaths; the extent, however, to which they can comprehend human thought is still a matter of conjecture.
Most important! Do not offer, present, display, barter, or sell weapons to the Gomaz! The penalty is confinement for life in the Exhibitory. There are no exceptions; the regulation is strictly enforced by the Triarchs, two of whom are Liss and Olefract. Neither sympathizes with adventurous folly or drunken bravado. If you violate this rule, you visit to Maz will surely terminate in tragedy.'




Vance, Jack. 'The Cugel's Saga', published in 1985 by Panther Books (Granada), 367pp, ISBN 0586063196. This book is the third volume following 'The Dying Earth' and 'The Eyes of the Overworld'. Sorry, sold out, but click image to access prebuilt search for this title on Amazon
1985, Panther Books, pbk
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  • Cugel's Saga [top]
    First published in 1983 in the US by Timescape Books in hardback with dustjacket, 334pp, ISBN 0671494503
    Published in 1985 in Great Britain by Panther Books (Granada Publishing), 367pp, ISBN 0586063196. Original UK retail price: £1.95; New Zealand $6.95. Front cover illustration by Geoff Taylor

Storyline/synopsis: This book is about the fantastic quests and adventures of Cugel, the GREATEST rogue in the realms of fantasy.
For the second time, Cugel the Clever has been carried north over the Ocean of Sighs and dumped half a world away from home, on Shanglestone Strand.
Swearing revenge on the laughing magician, Cugel sets off through mud pits and bars, through villages, manor houses and across the seas.
At last, after many an extraordinary adventure, he comes once more to the land of Almery and the chance to extract the vengeance he craves...

Vance, Jack; and Godersky, Steven Owen. 'The Augmented Agent and Other Stories', published by Ace Books in 1988, pbk, 298pp, ISBN 0441036104. In stock, click to buy for GBP25.00, not including post and packing, which is Amazon UK's standard charge (currently �2.80 for UK buyers, more for overseas customers)
1986, Ace Science Fiction
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  • The Augmented Agent and Other Stories [top]
    Edited by Steven Owen Godersky
    First published in 1986 in the US by Underwood-Miller
    Published in 1986 in the United States by Ace in paperback, ISBN 0441036104
    Published in 1989 in Great Britain by the New English Library (NEL), in paperback, ISBN 0450502562

Contents:
Shape-Up
The Man from Zodiac
Golden Girl
The Planet Machine
Crusade to Maxus
Three-Legged Joe
Sjambak
The Augmented Agent

Storyline: The jackals had been busy with the body...

Three of them lay dead, mounds of rancid fur, and Keith was at a loss to account for their condition. He played his flashlight up and down the corpse, inspected the flesh at which the jackals had been tearing. He bent closer, frowning in puzzlement. A peculiar pad of specialized tissue lay along the outside of the thighs, almost an inch thick. It was organized in orderly strips and fed plentifully from large arteries, and here and there Keith detected the glint of metal. Suddenly he guessed the nature of the tissue and why the jackals lay dead...

Those pads of grey flesh must be electro-organic tissue, similar to that of the electric eel, somehow adapted to human flesh by Russian biologists. Keith felt a sense of oppression. How far they exceed us! he thought. My power source is chemical, inorganic; that of this man was controlled by the functioning of his body and remained at so high a potential that three jackals had been electrocuted tearing into it... .






Vance, Jack. 'Ecce & Old Earth: The Cadwal  Chronicles Book Two', published in 1993 by New English Library, 440pp, ISBN 0450577252. Sorry, out of stock
1993, NEL.
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Story: It was just an old piece of paper.

The original Title Deed and Charter that preserved for all time the unspoiled wilderness beauty of the planet Cadwal: no human settlement, no mining or commmercial development. No interference with the teeming variety of its native life forms.

But now the Charter had gone missing from the archives back on Old Earth-just as an unholy conspiracy of the greedy and the unscrupulous campaigned, in the name of Progress, to open up Cadwal to unlimited exploitation.

Glawen Clattuc from Araminta Station and tantalising Wayness Tamm find themselves charged with the alarming task of tracking down the missing Charter, thwarting a galaxy-wide plot and saving a planet...

 

Vance, Jack. 'Throy', published in 1994 in Great Britain by Hodder and Stoughton in paperback, 298pp, ISBN 0450594254
1994, New English Library, pbk
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  • Throy [top]
    First published in 1993 in Great Britain in hardback by New English Library
    First published in 1994 in Great Britain in paperback by New English Library (Hodder and Stoughton), 298pp, ISBN 0450594254

Storyline: Anywhere in the galaxy, a property developer is a property developer is a...

The charter to Cadwal had been perfectly simple: no commercial exploitation, habitat destruction, not even any permanent settlement.

Yet once again Glawen Clattuc and his beloved Wayness Tamm have to fight off the developers: this time an arms dealer and some old enemies are mobilising the wretched Yips. What is new is the sheer scale of the threat...

 



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