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Vance, Jack
book-date: 2007
cvr art:
cvr price:
(Tall) Hardcover, Ex-Library
Book= VG+
Dustjacket= VG+ to near-Fine

Size is 2" thick by 6-1/4" by 9-1/4"; Even though the book has been read several times, it is still square and will last for more readings - Subterranean Press makes a high-quality book. Ex-library traces include sticker on title page, rough areas on end-papers where the DJ protector was glued to book. Dustjacket has no tears, and some of the kind of marks that can travel through a DJ protector (which had noticeablle wear and was discarded.) No stamps, marks or writing on interior; top page block has a green line next to spine. (I think the library which sold this was quite foolish to dump an excellent introduction to Vance in such good condition.)

A massive 633-page retrospective by an author who is famous for his sense of style and word-play: The Jack Vance Treasury (2007.) If you had to choose only one Vance book to keep - this is it (most of the best and essential stories.) All of these have appeared in previous Vance collections, but you might not have them in hardcover unless you invested in the Underwood-Miller set from the Eighties. My only possible objection to this book (and the Subterranean Press set of Jack Vance in this millenium) - is that by puttting most of the best of Vance in this one volume, the other volumes of their complete Vance overview seem to be lesser quality in comparison.

(Preface by Jack Vance; Appreciation by George R. R. Martin)
(Introduction by Terry Dowling & Jonathan Strahan - editors)
THE DRAGON MASTERS - [Hugo winner]
Liane the Wayfarer
Sail 25 - (a.k.a "Gateway to Strangeness" or "Dust of Far Suns")
The Gift of Gab
The Miracle-Workers
Guyal of Sfere
The Kokod Warriors
The Overworld
The Men Return
The Sorcerer Pharesm
The New Prime - (original title= "Brain of the Galaxy")
The Secret
The Moon Moth
The Bagful of Dreams
The Mitr
THE LAST CASTLE - [Hugo and Nebula winner]

(some story teasers or summaries):
"The Dragon Masters" - War between the Basics and man had been waged intermittently over a period of many decades. Previous encounters had left each side with prisoners of the other species and each had performed remarkable genetic experiments. Thus, when they met again transformed men were slaves to the lizardlike Basics, fighting their battles and transporting their weapons, while on the other side, transformed Basics became dragons of all shapes and sizes, geared to fight the fiercests battle their human masters could plan. The nearness of the red star Coralyne predicted the imminence of the next conflict. Joaz Banbeck readied his war dragons to meet the attack. Upon his success would rest the entire future of the race of man on this world. In my opinion, this is one of Vance's two finest works. [This short novel first appeared in GALAXY August 1962, and won the Hugo award for "best short fiction" in 1963.]

"The Miracle Workers" - In a future of knights, keeps, and super-science - rival "demonologists" must learn to telepathize with their enemies in order to conquer them [remember Clarke's Law; this was a cover story in ASTOUNDING.]

"Noise" - enter the journal of Howard Charles Evans: where noise doesn't exist, where terror takes a holiday and seduction stalks on psychic feet.
"The Men Return" - In a non-causal world where the sun no longer rises and sets, where sanity has no sanctuary and mad mutant cannibals reign supreme - can "the Men return?"

"The Moon Moth" - New Planetary Commissioner Edwer Thissel has trouble adapting to the customs and protocols of Sirene: every interaction must be guaged by prestige and appropriate musical accompaniment, and everyone wears a mask. How can he carry out his assignment to uncover and capture criminal Haxo Angmark, when wearing a mask is the basis for this culture? [Not just my favorite Vance story - but one of my all-time favorites by anybody.]

"The Last Castle" - In a far-distant future, a refined and over-cultured human elite lived in 8 great castles, with their Birds and insect-girl Phanes and Meks to serve them. The Meks were intelligent Insectoids imported from Etamin Nine and domesticated to become technical serfs. Then came one day when humans woke up to find the Meks had revolted: they walked out en masse, disabled the Starships, and started destroying the Castles and killing the inhabitants. When the machinery began to fail, most of the elite were too impractical or preoccupied to care or do anything useful. When Hagedorn became the last remaining Castle, it fell on Xanten and Claghorn to devise a defense… [This short novel first appeared in GALAXY April 1966, and in 1967 won the Hugo award for "best novelette" and the Nebula award for "best novella."]

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