I have nothing but delightful things to say about Jack Vance, the greatest sci-fi writer ever, and the more I learn about him, the bigger a fan I become. He plays kazoo! He also wrote mysteries under the awesome name of Ellery Queen (a famous pseudonym created by two Brooklyn cousins who later farmed the work out to a series of different writers, a little bit like the later work of V.C. Andrews); he sailed around in a houseboat with Frank Herbert; and he kept writing even after he became legally blind in the 80s.
I've recommended just a few of his best on this blog, (Showboat World, Tales of the Dying Earth, and this week's The Blue World) but there are so many more that I love, including my personal favorite, a series of five novels called The Demon Princes (which I'm waiting to re-read before it makes my blog) .
He's a genius! I love him and live for his work! Nothing could make me sadder than the knowledge that Lurulu, written in 2004 is, as he's told the press, his last. Why? It's so unfair!
Vance is the only reason I have found an “in” to sci fi fiction. Sure, I've enjoyed an occasional book by, Asimov, Silverberg and Clarke, but Vance goes beyond traditional science fiction, which is usually about an unflappable hero who can do no wrong: the One. Vance's work is, by contrast, quite funny and more often than not, the hero is a totally?jerky–but frequently lovable–scoundrel.
Vance is the first person in a long time that I have felt the inkling to write a fan letter to–and maybe I just will.