Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jack Vance

Jack Vance passed away on sunday may 26th.

When I was a child my dad had a collection of dutch science fiction (and some fantasy) novels. Along with Isaac Asimov and A.E. van VogtJack Vance was among my favorite science fiction writers as a kid.

The Gaean Reach was the first time I saw a full universe with multiple books all taking place in a single universe. The Demon Princes, of which my dad of course only has the first four books if I recall correctly and Trullion: Alastor 2262, which introduced me to the game of Hussade, impressed me the most of those

His Dying Earth series were brought to me through Cugel the Clever.
I also used to play Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (from 2nd to 4th edition) and Magic: the Gathering (1997-2002 ), both games that drew upon his magic system for inspiration.

Other books of Jack Vance that stood out to me at the time:
The languages of Pao, a book that introduced me to the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis
The Blue World, taking place on an oceanic world with no land at all.
Telek, about humans with telekinetic powers.
Big Planet / The Slaves of The Klau, I only know I loved the second story
The Houses of Iszm / Son of The Tree
The Moon Moth.
The Five Gold Bands / The Dragon Masters two of my favorite stories in one double book.

But my absolute favorite would be The Many Worlds of Magnus Ridolph featuring Magnus Ridolph, a detective with a nose for bad financial investments outwitting the bad guys by using their greed against them.

His books showed a great sense of humour and use choice of big words has had a definite impact on my vocabulary.

Guardian article

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