Vance, Jack
book-date: 1975
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Vincent Di Fate

Pyramid (1st printing) March 1975 paperback. Cover by Vincent Di Fate, 188 pages,$1.25 cover price. Condition is Fine (-): tight and square with flat spine; age tanning is mild and uniform; bare trace of overall wear including slight age darkening of the white cover near spine (see scan.) No stamps, marks or writing - a very clean copy.

Showboat World by Jack Vance. This is a loose sequel to Big Planet, taking place on the same world, but with no characters in common. {An introduction to Big Planet, from the first page blurb}: The savants of Earth have long pondered and analyzed the circumstances of Big Planet. Zealots have urged the impositon of terrestrial disipline, but defenders of the status quo argue: "Big Planet represents that tantalizing vision of the land beyond the frontier where bravery, resource, and daring are more important than mastery of urban abstractions. The original settlers made great sacrifices to win freedom for themselves... If law is brought to Big Planet, if this glorious diversity is stifled, the dissidents are once again disenfranchised; once again they move on, to havens even more remote. Big Planet is a wild world, and many dark deeds are done, but enforced uniformity only transfers the dilemma elsewhere..." And so Big Planet remains a sanctuary for misfits, descendants of the original refugees from Earth. Isolated and inbred, they have diversified to florid extremes. The tremendous expanses of Big Planet indifferently absorb them all.

{A more specific plot set-up from the back cover}: The story involves the perilous journey of two rascally showmen who try to outwit each other, only to outwit a king instead... and a mysterious blonde beauty who tricks these aging rogues to regain her inheriance. It concludes with a bizarre performance of Macbeth that precipitates a series of astonishing events.

You might think this should be related to Vance's Space Opera, which also involves an operatic touring company - but there are no characters or locales in common. One company travels from world to world to perform Terran works - and the other from port to port on Big Planet, performing mostly native or local works.