Jack Vance; Lighting the Way

Jack Vance was a writer’s writer. His own work was wonderful, and he wrote the kind of fantasy that I fell into and emerged hours later, dazed and blinking; historically, he will probably be remembered as the spark, or the torch, that carried the fire of fantasy writing into the hearts and imaginations of people like Ursula LeGuin, Michael Moorcock and Gene Wolfe.

He passed away on May 29, 2013, at the age of 96; certainly that’s a good, long life.

I remember The Dying Earth, and Lyonesse, mostly for the power of his fantastical prose. Years later I was sucked into Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun, and as I read those books, something niggled… they seemed, not familiar, exactly, but reminiscent of something. Then I found out that Gene Wolfe said Book of the New Sun was inspired by Vance’s Dying Earth.

Vance was a truly gifted writer who could make words do whatever he needed them to do. Not all his prose is ornate and lush. In some stories, especially his other-world stories, the prose is more brisk, as suits the story.

I can’t write well enough about him to do him justice, but the UK Guardian did. Here is a link to their obituary of this modest luminary in the fantasy world.

Thank you, Jack Vance, for the worlds you gave me. Thank you for the writers you inspired. Thank you for making me want to be able to tell a story as beautifully as you.

This entry was posted in Book Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *