Jack Vance (1916-2013) was was a sailor, a writer, an adventurer, a music critic, and one of the greatest masters of fantasy and science fiction. Vance published more than 60 books in his long career, sometimes under pseudonyms. Tales of the Dying Earth (also known as Mazirian the Magician) was among the most influential fantasy books ever written, inspiring generations of writers and the creators of Dungeons and Dragons. His many awards included three Hugos and a Nebula, Edgar, and World Fantasy Award for best Novel, as well as a World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Classic space opera is alive and kicking in this latest interstellar spree from Vance (Night Lamp), who turns 82 this year. In the far future, young Myron Tany seems destined to be a misty-eyed dreamer, pining away for interstellar intrigue, until his rich and eccentric great-aunt, Dame Hester, gains ownership of the space yacht Glodwyn and pushes Myron into the captain's chair. The stresses of family relationships prove too difficult, however, and Hester soon kicks Myron out on his own, forcing him to sign on as a majordomo for the cargo ship Glicca. As one of a hearty and fearless crew, Myron begins the education that makes him a sailor of the spaceways, learning how to placate difficult passengers, romance women of exotic worlds and make it back aboard ship with his purse intact. While his future is unclear at the novel's end, Myron has grown into a confident and capable fellow, if not exactly a swashbuckler. Readers who demand a complicated, hard-science milieu might find Vance's narrative occasionally too chauvinistic, or too simple, or just too plain silly, but this jaunty, politically incorrect tale provides first-rate escapist entertainment. (Apr.)
The spacefaring adventures of Myron Tany and his shipmates aboard the starship Glicca provide a vehicle for a series of picaresque escapades across the galaxy. Sf Grand Master Vance demonstrates his talent for creating exotic and sometimes bizarre cultures that offer ironic commentary on the excesses and foibles of human society. The author's arch prose and dry humor have won him an avid following. A good, though not necessary, purchase for most libraries.
"Ports of Call is a picaresque adventure which begins very much in the style of Wodehousian comedy of manners....Authorial maturity, like well-aged whisky, can offer a remarkable combination of merriment, philosophical musings, and a wicked bite." --Locus "Classic space opera is alive and kicking....This jaunty, politically incorrect tale provides first-rate escapist entertainment." --Publishers Weekly "Simply to announce that Jack Vance has a new novel out should be enough to send you scurrying to your nearest bookstore, cash in hand and Vance's name quivering on your lips. Vance's achievements over the past five decades have been of such consistently high quality that his books rank as must-buys, no foreknowledge of subject matter or ostensible genre necessary." --SF Eye